Best (low sugar) Blueberry Scones
YIELD & BAKE TIME: 4 huge (25 -30 minutes) 8 medium (20-25 minutes) 16 mini scones (15-20 minutes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 whole lemon, zested
1 stick (8 Tbsp) cold butter, cut into pea-sized cubes, for real, pea size
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk (substitute cream or even 1/2 milk 1/2 yogurt)
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
For the top:
Heavy cream OR eggwash (one egg beaten) OR melted butter OR half n half for painting on top before baking.
Turbinado (raw) sugar for sprinkling the top before baking. If you don’t have any pretty sugar, regular sugar will do.
Sheet pan lined with a silpat (resusable silicon baking mat) or parchment paper.
Mixer with paddle attachment. If you don’t have this, skip the mixer and pulse with your food processor, instead. If you don’t have a food processor, use your hands, more fun anyway.
Spatula or baker’s bench scraper (like a wide spatula with no handle, great tool) for scraping out the dense heavy dough.
Bench scraper (essential kitchen tool) or kitchen knife.
Pastry brush (if you don’t have one, drizzling the cream with a spoon will do).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Mise en place (sounds like meeze on ploss, French for get all your ingredients out and measured before cooking or baking).
Prepare a space to cut finished dough by wiping down a section of countertop. I rarely do this in advance and I regret it every time. Scones do best when they are baked cold so the longer you let the dough sit at room temperature, the flatter your scone will be.
Mix dry ingredients using the paddle attachment on a mixer (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest) on low for several pulses to combine. Stop mixer.
Add butter and start the mixer on low for several turns of the paddle to coat the cubes.
Lift paddle attachment and pinch butter between fingers to combine with flour. Do this (quickly, you don’t want to melt the butter with warm hands) until most or all cubes of butter are pinched. This is called Rubbed Dough Method used in pie dough and creates flakiness. No big deal if you miss a few.
Whisk together buttermilk and egg in a separate bowl.
Pour buttermilk/egg mixture into to the dry ingredients while mixer is moving on low. Continue to mix on low until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined (maybe as few as two to three more turns of the paddle). Stop the mixer.
Add the blueberries (If you are using a food processor, turn out the dough here) and start the mixer on low, again, for several turns or just to combine. Do not over mix or the dough will become gloopy and the blueberries will burst and turn the dough purple, cute in theory but odd-looking once baked, I assure you.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured countertop. Gather together any blueberries that have rolled away and smushed back into dough. Form dough into a rough square about the width of your open hand, maybe 6 inches.
Cut the scones using a kitchen knife or, preferably a bench scraper. Cut the dough in half widthwise, then cut down the middle lengthwise to quarter it into 4 small squares. Cut each of the small squares on the diagonal to create 8 kind of triangles (listen, the shape doesn’t matter so much as that you work quickly and keep them even in size so no one gets the small one, a big deal when serving toddlers or adults). Don’t get intimidated by scone shape. Just make your cuts and get those puppies ready for the oven!
Brush the tops and sides of each scone with whatever fatty liquid you are using to coat. This alone will provide that lovely brown color. Go the extra mile and finish them by sprinkling with a generous pinch of raw sugar. There is very little sugar in the dough so you don’t have to feel to guilty about being heavy handed here. If you’re anti-sugar, I bet you don’t make scones often so I’d still use sugar to top here, anyway.
Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes. This amount of time is for 8 medium-sized scones. The end result should be a little brown around the edges and a wee bit brown on top no matter the size you are baking. You have to check on them every few minutes towards the end of baking using the oven light rather than opening the oven door so heat doesn't escape from your oven while baking (this will effect the rise, or height of the finished scone).
Cool on sheet tray for 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely or, better yet…
As with all of our recipes, we recommend using organic ingredients. Sure, we think they taste better but, more importantly, buying organic is healthier for your body and it is healthier for planet Earth. According the EWG, Glyphosate, a Monsanto weed-killer, has been found in boxes of pasta and cereal in your local grocery store. Buying organic sends a message to stores and manufacturers that you value honest clean food and it keeps your system clean, as well.
We also recognize the mounting war on sugar and are on the side of the Against but we sympathize with the Pros. It is hard to avoid sugar in baked goods. It not only makes food taste good, it also acts as a preservative and assists in creating tender textures. That being said, we’ve found that the standard cake, muffin, cookie and quick bread recipes simply call for way too much sugar. We test our recipes until we reach what we call threshold. How little sugar can these scones have and still taste good and keep a nice texture? It is a concession, yes but it seems like a good place to start.