I have completed my senior year thesis, and the count down to graduation is on!!! 17 more days to go...and I only have to get through one research paper, four short response papers, and three final presentations to take me there. I could in fact be working on getting those done right now... but nah! I already feel like celebrating my liberation. Finally, I will get the chance to read books that I don't have to write papers on, to sleep for a full eight hours without worry of an exam to be taken the next morning, to cook and enjoy eating dinner at a reasonable hour instead of studying all night at the library! Now I may even have the time and energy to cook breakfast, which I hope to doing fairly often, now that I have learned how to prepare the most buttery, flaky, and delicious scones...the celebratory breakfast following my thesis defense last Monday.
You may remember scones featuring on this blog about a year ago, in my Sausage Chili post. I promised one day I would try to master the scone-baking technique, and I am proud to announce that I now can be awarded by scone school diploma. I am surprised it too me so long because scones are actually pretty easy to make, and I got it right on the first try! Thanks to the recipe perfected by America's Test Kitchen, which was borrowed from a fellow blogger who posted it at Pam's Pantry, I believe I can receive an A+ in scone technique. There are a lot of recipe variations and flavor options. The key to this recipe is frozen butter. As for add-in ideas, I think there definitely needs to be a redo of the peanut butter bananna scones my friend Nicole and I made last year, and (here I go with the raisins again) I also really want to try a maple oatmeal raisin scone recipe I came across recently. Here, though, I started out with basic blueberry!
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, frozen
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus some for work surface
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Score and unwrap half of each stick of frozen butter. Grate unwrapped halves over large holes of a grater to yield 8 tablespoons. Cover and place grated butter back in freezer. The remaining butter can be returned to the fridge. Place blueberries in freezer to chill.
In a medium bowl, combine milk and sour cream. Place in refrigerator until needed. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add frozen butter, using fingers until dough just combined. Fold in milk and sour cream mixture and fully combine. With floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, dough holds together in a rough ball.
On a floured work surface, roll dough into an approximate 12-inch square. Fold dough into thirds, as if a business letter. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form an approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to a plate lightly dusted with flour. Place in freezer to chill for about 5 minutes.
Return dough to floured work surface, and roll into an approximate 12-inch square. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, and press down until slightly embedded in dough. Loosen dough from work surface with a thin metal spatula. Starting at one end of the square roll dough to opposite end to form a tight log. Lay seam-side down and press into an approximate 12x4-inch rectangle.
Use a sharp, floured knife to cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles, for a total yield of 8 scones. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake for 18-25 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.
Tips from a student cook...
The recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter, but you only end up using a total of 10 tablespoons. Make sure your butter is frozen all the way through. I think I put mine in the freezer about 6 hours before I started the process, and that was plenty of time. Grating the butter enhances the flakiness of the scone layers, and that is why it is essential! The baking time is quite a range, but my scones were plenty golden at 18 minutes.
P.S. I'm sorry there is no picture, but I took my camera to a conference in Montana where I presented my research a few weeks ago, and somehow, it didn't come back with me... Hopefully, I will have a camera again by graduation day!