one of my favorite memories is my first trip to london with my mom and grandma. my maternal grandparents lived there and my grandma took me there as a gift for my 16th birthday, to share with me a place she loved so much. it was on this trip that i discovered my innate love for rain, a ploughman’s lunch, and the perfect scone. i fell head over heels, to say the least (with the city and the baked good). as the rain would randomly begin to fall, we would quickly duck into the closest cafe and have ourselves warm cups of english tea with milk and platefuls of scones with jam and clotted cream. over the years and several trips, london remains one of my favorite places on earth and a good scone always reminds me of the times i have had there.
scones can have so many wonderful additions like blueberries or strawberries, or made with different spices or glazes. but i am a purist first, and love a basic vanilla scone – one that has just the right amount of sweetness. these are not overly sweet, so you can serve them on their own or with jam. i make them different ways each time, but i love topping them with different kinds of specialty sugars. in the picture above, i used plain turbinado sugar and also espresso sugar. (in that batch i also used strawberry sugar and clove sugar.) if you can find them they are the perfect flavoring, but i think they are just perfect with plain, unflavored turbinado.
vanilla cream scones
adapted via king arthur flour
(makes 13 large scones or about 40 small scones – depending on what size cutter you use)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/3 – 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (plus more for brushing)
1. place a rack in the upper third of the oven. preheat to 425. line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper (if you are making larger scones, you will only need one baking sheet. for small 2 to 3-inch sized scones, you will need at least 2 sheets.)
2. in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. in a small bowl, combine and whisk the cream and vanilla, then slowly add to the dry ingredients, while mixing to form a cohesive dough – but not a sticky dough.
3. lightly flour a clean work surface. place the ball of dough onto it and roll it out to 3/4″ thickness. using a biscuit cutter (depends on what size you desire) cut scones from the dough and place on prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. brush each scone with heavy cream or whole milk and sprinkle generously with sugar.
4. bake for about 14 minutes for larger scones, and 10-11 minutes for the small scones, until just beginning to golden on the edges. remove from the oven and serve warm.