In Search Of Lemon Scones, With Walnuts And Cranberries
Baking lemon scones should be a cake walk, or better yet, a biscuit walk. After all, aren’t scones just glorified biscuits in formal attire? Most scone recipes require that you to sift some flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, then cut in cold butter, add some liquid, knead the dough ever so lightly, shape it, bake it, and just like a biscuit…you try again.
I’ve been driven to tears, as has my long suffering but no longer patient wife over lemon scones. She’s had it with my whining and tossing lemon rinds and colorful epithets. I’m truly sorry. This recipe should have been posted weeks ago but I just could not get the “pucker-factor” right. I tried adding lemon zest to the dough…blah, blah, boring…barely a hint of citrus. Then it was on to adding zest plus ten tablespoons of lemon juice to replace the milk. My eyeballs remain crossed from acute lemon-scone-acid poisoning. After spending almost twenty bucks on those little yellow sour suckers, I thought of chucking the whole idea.
As luck and fortune would have it, last week I came upon an old Bon Appetit recipe that re-vitalized my cerebral scone cells. I conducted wild experiments on the recipe, changing quantities and ingredients like a mad scientist and finally created a lemon scone I could share without fear of death threats. These are biscuity scones, light, lemony, and ready to crumble when prodded with a raspberry laden spoon. Since there are no eggs in the recipe, they don’t resemble the cakey, coffee shop scones widely available (dastardly calling these monstrous creations scones).
Best of all, you can actually knead this dough for a minute or two and still produce flaky scones. I did go overboard though and add walnuts and cranberries for looks and texture. (And to cover as many food groups as possible to increase nutritional value of course…)
You can use regular lemons for these scones. I happened to have some Meyer lemons in the house and added the juice. Meyer lemons are essentially a cross between a lemon and an orange. They add a richness and sweet citrus touch, but the scones will taste less of lemon.
Lemon Scones, With Walnuts And Cranberries.
Makes 12 Scones
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into slices
3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 - 1 cup cold half and half
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat to 375°F. Position rack in middle of oven.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Whisk the 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a small bowl for the glaze and set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, lemon zest, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the chilled butter using your fingertips, pastry cutters, or a food processor. The flour should resemble coarse meal with some pea size pieces of butter. Mix in cranberries and walnuts.
Add 1/2 cup half and half and 2 tablespoons lemon juice to the dry ingredients. Toss with a fork until dough comes together in moist clumps. Add more half and half until dough just comes together and is no longer dry. Gather dough into a ball and knead very lightly for a minute or two. Divide the dough in half. Press out each half with your palms onto a floured surface to form a 6-inch-diameter round, about 1 inch high. Cut each round into 6 wedges with a knife of bench scraper. Transfer wedges to baking sheet and brush with lemon-sugar glaze.
Bake scones until lightly golden and tester comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes. Right after removing from oven, spoon any leftover laze over hot scones. Serve warm or at room temperature with raspberry jam and crème fraiche.