Basic Scones Recipe

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Scones are, in essence, rich, flaky biscuits and there are many different versions. This one is easy and can, once learned, be varied as you wish. For best results, follow a few basic rules: have the butter cold, the oven hot, and don't overmix the dough once the liquid is added. And if the first attempt isn't picture perfect, it will still taste good. Practice makes perfect!
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  • 6 tablespoons butter (3/4 stick)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped fine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, chopped fine (optional)
Container: baking sheet
10 mins
15 mins
25 mins
  • Preheat oven to 425° F. Cut 3/4 of a stick of butter into small pieces (1/2" x 1/2" or so) and put into freezer (preferably) or refrigerator.
  • Put dry ingredients into food processor and pulse a few times to mix (or mix well by hand in a bowl). Add cold butter pieces and process until coarsely blended--there will be bits of varying sizes (by hand, cut butter into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two table knives). Add any optional fruit or zest at this point and pulse in.
  • Mix egg and cream together and pour over dry ingredients. Pulse once or twice for a few seconds, until just moistened--don't overmix (whether by hand or machine) or scones will be tough.
  • Gather into a ball (may be a bit sticky) and put on a lightly floured work surface. Knead a few times, then pat out to about 3/4 inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Use a sharp cutter for best rising results. If using a cutter that leaves scraps, bake them, too--but don't rework.
  • Transfer to ungreased baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between pieces. If you wish to glaze them, brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar or a cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 12 - 15 minutes, until light golden brown.
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