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Blueberry Lemon Scones

November 11, 2009


I am so tired of mediocrity.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I’m on a quest for scone perfection.  This time around I thought I’d just cut to the chase and use the Cooks Illustrated recipe, making just one small change: I used a cup of half and half for a cup of heavy cream.

Let me tell you, folks, I’m never fiddling around with a Cook’s Illustrated recipe again.  There’s a reason they have an excruciatingly thorough recipe-vetting process and it is not to be messed with.  I thought that a cup of liquid equals a cup of liquid, regardless of what the liquid might be, but apparently not.


The scone dough was the consistency of a thick cake dough.  Imagine trying to knead cake dough.  It’s messy.  It’s frustrating.  It makes you angry.  It’s messy (just to reiterate that point).  It’s impossible.

Could this problem have been avoided if I’d used heavy cream instead of half and half?  Perhaps.  I’ve read reviews of this recipe on other blogs, and they all thought it was great, so it must be something I did.

It looked like Cookie Monster barfed up scone dough onto a cookie sheet.



Luckily the final product looked more scone-like than the unbaked dough.  But the taste was definitely sub-par.  In a big way.

Nate keeps telling me he wants me to make scones like the ones I made when we were in Peace Corps.  [Yes, I made scones in Peace Corps.  I also made cinnamon rolls, fettucine alfredo, sushi and tacos with homemade flour tortillas.  Food was my one little piece of home.]  I used a scone recipe I found in a book I was reading.  The problem is that I took a picture of the recipe and then I found out the hard way what “reformat memory card” meant on my new digital camera.  The scone recipe is now where ever digitally erased things escape to…


The Peace Corps scones were crunchy, sweet, and moist, while these were none of the above.  Next time I would double the amount of blue berries, use half a cup of sugar and just use the heavy cream.  Scones aren’t health food, and there’s no reason to try to make them as such.

Stay tuned as I try to conquer the topsy-turvy world of scones!  Hopefully it won’t take long for me to find a good scone recipe, but the disasters are always fun to write about along the way 🙂


Blueberry Lemon Scones

(From Baking Illustrated)

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar (I would increase this)
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (not thawed!) (increase this too)

1 cup heavy cream (no substitutes!)

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Whisk together or process with six 1-second pulses.

If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in the butter and lemon zest until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps. If using a food processor, remove the cover and distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients. Cover and process with twelve 1-second pulses. Add the currants and quickly mix in or pulse one more time. Transfer the dough to a large bowl. Stir in frozen blueberries

Stir in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.

Transfer the dough and all dry flour bits to a countertop and knead the dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Press the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work-surface. With a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges on an ungreased baking sheet. (The baking sheet can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before baking.)

Bake until the scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: Makes 8

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2009 7:21 pm

    these look delicious!
    check out my food blog and tell me what you think:


  2. Dad permalink
    November 19, 2009 6:36 pm

    I love the Cookie Monster line! Somehow I can imagine this without much problem…I’m just glad you include some of the not-quite successes!


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