Baking 101: Scones, four ways

Winter break was cray cray. (CRA.ZY.)

I tested out a Brazilian chocolate cake, these brownies, 3 kinds of carrot cake, 4 types of scones, and 6 types of cheesecake for the baking class I was about to teach in a week. Despite my best efforts to peddle my (free!) wares to my sibling’s get-together with friends, movie marathons, potlucks, etc, I still ended up with Texas-sized plastic containers of baked goods lying EVERYWHERE on the kitchen counters, as if my half-batches of everything somehow had babies behind my back.

It was an interesting phase.

In my quest to find the perfect (or decent enough) three recipes to teach in my baking class, I tested the following 4 scone recipes, tweaked or loosely based upon the sources listed in each category heading.

Allrecipes.com

(Traditional)

CookingLight

(Reduced Butter)

Food.com

(Vegan)

5secondrule

(Heavy Cream)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 cup 2% greek yogurt
1 large egg
1 cup AP flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg white(can use the egg yolk for egg wash on scone tops before baking)
1 cup AP flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/3 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat (sifted with 1/4 cup cornstarch
to make cake flour) 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup heavy cream
1 large egg

Though the ingredient lists vary, I used the same basic directions when making the scones, from allrecipes:

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees [375 in my overheated convection oven].
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in raisins.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk sour cream and egg until smooth.
  4. Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
  5. Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about 1 inch apart. If using egg wash, whisk egg yolk with 1 tablespoon milk and brush over scone tops. Sprinkle with turbinado or granulated sugar. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

Results

allrecipes.com

Simple Scones from allrecipes.com: The clear winner with the fat-loving palettes of my brother and sister, these scones browned the most out of the bunch, adding a crispy exterior to the dense, buttery interior. “Tastes like a scone you would buy at Trader Joes,” according to my dad. For me, however, they were a little too buttery and they didn’t turn out quite as cakey-dense as I was expecting–can you see the loose crumb? It was more spongy-dense–not my fav.

Reduced-Butter Scones from CookingLight: These were far crumblier than the rest immediately upon removal from the oven. However, as they cooled, they seemed to solidify into a tougher, chewier consistency. These were actually my mom’s favorite, but everyone else’s least favorite–the flavor was good, but the consistency gets downright rubbery after a few days!

Vegan Scones from Food.com: Oh, my darling vegan scones. These used a bit of oil in place of some heavy cream and acidic buttermilk instead of eggs. They were notably lighter than the dense CookingLight scones with a flakier, lighter texture compared to the crackly allrecipes.com scones. Cream instead of butter seems to give a smoother appearance and texture to the scones, but thanks to all the fat in heavy cream, much of the characteristic density remains. Many confused these scones with the last ones:

5Secondrule Heavy Cream Scones: These are listed as “Iced Lemon Scones” on Cheryl Sternman Rule’s blog, but I simply left out the glaze and lemon and swapped in white whole wheat flour. They’re still fabulous. Admittedly, they may not live up a scone fanatic’s palette, but I’m a modest scone fan and I liked these the best. They have a flaky texture, a nice tight crumb and great flavor.

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8 responses to “Baking 101: Scones, four ways

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