One of our family’s favorite outings was English Tea at the Four Seasons in Boston We sat in deep, plush chairs in front of the fire, sipping fragrant cups of tea, munching tiny sandwiches from elegant silver trays. There were multiple pots of jam, clotted cream, and scones, delicate, melt-in-your-mouth, cream scones.
Scones are a Scottish quick bread, that were originally made with oats and griddle-baked. Today’s versions, often sold at farmers markets and small bakeries, are usually flour-based and baked in the oven.
A step above a biscuit, Cream Scones are surprisingly easy to make. They are delicious plain, or can be flavored with orange or lemon zest, even chocolate chips. At under 200 calories, they are easier on the waist-line than you would think (just eat ONE).
The key to making them is to use soft butter, and work it in until crumbly. Also, be sure to use cream, not milk. Heavy jersey cream is my favorite. Life is too short to not enjoy good food, and besides, that’s why they call them CREAM scones.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoon butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup cream
cinnamon sugar for top (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon zest or ½ teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork, work in the soft butter until crumbly. Add the lemon zest or extract if desired.
Break the egg into a small bowl. Add the cream. Whisk together. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. If necessary, add a bit more cream to make the dough just firm enough to handle, but still soft. Reserve the egg bowl for later use.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Knead for ½ minute. Pat and roll into a circle that is 9 or 10 inches in diameter and about ¾ inch thick. Cut into 6 pie-shaped pieces with a sharp knife.
Place the scones on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining liquid from the egg bowl. Sprinkle the tops with sugar or cinnamon-sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden.
Makes six scones.
Nutritional analysis per scone: 164 calories, 3 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fat, (0 grams trans fat), 85 mg. Sodium, 1 gram fiber.
(analysis with heavy cream, fat will be lower with light cream or milk)