Baking Breakfast

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Drop Scones with Lemons, Poppyseeds, Jam, and Walnuts


FLOUR, BUTTER, SWEETENER, buttermilk, cream, baking soda, baking powder and salt are basic ingredients in most scones. Nearly all scone recipes are a variation on this theme. Their trademark flaky, solid yet delicate texture is achieved by lightly mixing the ingredients together. These jam-filled “drops” are perfect eaten warm on their own, without embellishment. But, they are also delicious served with butter and preserves. The dough can be used immediately or kept wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. For my wheat-free adaptation, see the Gluten-Free Drop Scones recipe.

Yield: 16 scones. Preparation time: 25 minutes. Cooking time: 18-21 minutes. Batter keeps in refrigerator.

For the Dough
½ pound (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
2-
½ cups cold unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup cold whole wheat pastry flour

¾ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda
Zest (chopped) from 2 large lemons
¾ cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons poppyseeds

¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup maple syrup 
½ cup cold cream
¾-1 cup jam of your choice

For the Topping
2 tablespoons cream
2 egg yolks

Variations & Tips
•  Try honey or agave in place of maple syrup.
•  Add ½-1 teaspoon ginger spice to the dry ingredients.
•  Leave out the jam.
•  Cold ingredients make a light, flaky scone.
•  Do not completely cover the jam with dough. It is appealing to see some jam ooze out when baked.
•  If batter has been kept in the refrigerator prior to baking, remove it 1 hour prior to shaping and baking the scones. Place 1-inch apart on pan.

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. 

  2. Cut the cold butter into ½-inch cubes and freeze. Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest, walnuts, and poppyseeds in a large bowl. Scatter the cold butter over these dry ingredients and mix in with either a pastry cutter or 2 knives held together, until it resembles a coarse mixture with pea-size lumps of butter.

  3. Whisk together the buttermilk, maple syrup, and ½ cup cream in a small bowl. With either a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, pour this into the flour mixture, and stir just till the dough holds together and no crumbs remain. The batter will be very crumbly with some dry ingredients stubbornly resting on the bottom of the bowl. This is fine.

  4. Scoop mounds of batter into a ⅓-cup. Pack lightly with the back of a spoon until level. Drop mounds onto prepared baking sheet, using a knife to ease out batter. Place your thumb and forefinger in a semi-circle around the circumference of the scone. Push any crumbs into the mound. Then firmly press a teaspoon atop each scone, making a tablespoon-size indentation. Fill each with about 1 tablespoon jam. Using your fingers, push some dough from the sides of the mounds to just cover the preserves.

  5. Prepare the topping. Mix 2 tablespoons cream with the 2 egg yolks. Brush this over the tops of the scones with a pastry brush. Bake 18-21 minutes, until golden brown. 

  6. Serve warm or room temperature. Scones are best eaten within 2 days of baking, and refreshed by baking at 350° F for 5 minutes. They may also be wrapped individually in plastic and frozen for up to 1 month.


Gluten-Free Drop Scones with Lemons, Poppyseeds, Jam, and Walnuts


IN THIS DELICIOUS GLUTEN-FREE version of my Drop Scones, I use gluten-free, all-purpose flour and almond meal in place of wheat, and add guar gum or xanthan gum to bind the gluten-free ingredients. The dough can be used immediately or kept wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 

Yield: 16 scones. Preparation time: 25 minutes. Cooking time: 18-21 minutes. Batter keeps in refrigerator.

For the Topping
2 tablespoons cream
2 egg yolks

Variations & Tips
•  Try honey or agave in place of maple syrup.
•  Add ½-1 teaspoon ginger spice to the dry ingredients.
•  Leave out the jam.
•  Cold ingredients make a light, flaky scone.
•  Do not completely cover the jam with dough. It is appealing to see some jam ooze out when baked.
•  If batter has been kept in the refrigerator prior to baking, remove it 1 hour prior to shaping and baking the scones. Place 1-inch apart on pan.
•  For cake, muffin, and quick bread recipes, add ½-¾ teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour.

For the Dough
½ pound (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
2-½ cups cold gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
1 cup cold almond nut meal
2-½ teaspoons xanthan gum or guar gum
¾ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Zest (chopped) from 2 large lemons
¾ cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons poppyseeds
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup maple syrup 
½ cup cold cream
¾-1 cup jam of your choice

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C). Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Cut the cold butter into ½-inch cubes and freeze. Whisk together the gluten-free flour, almond nut meal, xanthan gum, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, lemon zest, walnuts, and poppyseeds in a large bowl. Scatter the cold butter over these dry ingredients and mix in with a pastry cutter (or 2 knives held together) until it resembles a coarse mixture with pea-size lumps of butter.

  3. Whisk together the buttermilk, maple syrup, and ½ cup cream in a small bowl. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, pour into the dry mixture. Stir just till dough holds together and no crumbs remain.

  4. Scoop mounds of batter into a ⅓-cup. Pack lightly with the back of a spoon until level. Drop mounds onto prepared baking sheet, using a knife to ease out batter. Place your thumb and forefinger in a semi-circle around the circumference of the scone. Push any crumbs into the mound. Then firmly press a teaspoon atop each scone, making a tablespoon-size indentation. Fill each with about 1 tablespoon jam. Using your fingers, push some dough from the sides of the mounds to just cover the preserves.

  5. Prepare topping. Mix 2 tablespoons cream with the 2 egg yolks. Brush over the tops of the scones with a pastry brush. Bake 18-21 minutes, until golden brown.

  6. Serve warm or room temperature. Scones are best eaten within 2 days of baking, and refreshed by baking at 350° F for 5 minutes. They may also be wrapped individually in plastic and frozen for up to 1 month.