America's Test Kitchen: Blueberry Scones

[Scroll down to view recipe and video]

I absolutely had to look to see if America's Test Kitchen had a recipe for blueberry scones due to my visit to England this past summer. I started thinking of British scones when I was recently in London partaking in afternoon tea at a local hotel because nothing is more British than afternoon tea in the UK other than pronouncing schedule as shedule, referring to an elevator as a lift, and driving on the other side of the street. A big part of afternoon tea is not only the tea itself but the various pastries that are served with your tea. These snacks include finger sandwiches, sweet buns, small cakes, and even scones.

America's Test Kitchen Blueberry Scone
America's Test Kitchen: Blueberry Scones
Lucky for us, we don’t need a formal afternoon tea to enjoy a sugary, buttery, crumbly, flakey scone. Scones can be eaten with your breakfast. Also, if you’re not much of a tea drinker, eat your scone with a cup of Joe. In addition to tea, scones go great with your coffee either in the morning during breakfast, an afternoon sweet treat as a snack, or even dessert. After all, here in the United States we are a coffee drinking nation.

Unfortunately, a lot of the scones I have tried here have the consistency of bricks. They are just so dense that they can probably double up as either a door jam or a paper weight. In America’s Test Kitchen (Season 8, Episode 7 Coffeehouse Treats), they go over how to make a really light, fluffy blueberry scone. You can at least use the same dough to make cream scones or you can replace the blueberries with another type of berry (raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, huckleberry etc.) if you so desire, but blueberries are the way to go. Frozen blueberries can be used in place of fresh blueberries, but if you’re going to go through the trouble of making homemade blueberry scones, be sure to spare no expense and use the fresh variety.

Work quickly when handling the dough for blueberry scones.

Making these blueberry scones kind of reminds me of the time I made blueberry muffins because of the simplicity of the recipe and the ease in making them (and the blueberries of course). Also, just like in the blueberry muffins, I left out the sugar topping because I felt like both the muffin and scone didn't need it. Adding the sugar topping to me was overkill and unnecessary, but definitely don't leave out the sour cream which provides a certain level of richness to the scones. Also, the key to making these scones nice and flaky is in folding the dough on itself (see the images above) like you would do for puff pastry. See my post on apple turnovers to learn more about flaky puff pastry. Drawing my experience from making blueberry muffins and apple turnovers, I felt like I've already made these scones before. Ultimately, nothing beats these homemade scones, so go ahead and try these out. The video demonstration is below. Feel free to use this scone dough as a base for other flavored scones like a lemon scone or perhaps a savory scone like a cheese scone. It'd also be great if we can make a gluten free version of these scones.

FlavorFool's Notes

  • I didn't bother adding the sugar topping.
  • Work quickly and keep the dough cold. A cold dough is easier to work with than a dough that is at room temperature.
  • Blueberry Scones Recipe

    America's Test Kitchen - season 8 episode 7, Coffeehouse Treats
    Makes 8 scones

    Ingredients

    1 ½ cups fresh blueberries (about 7 1/2 oz)
    10 tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen whole
    ½ cup sour cream
    ½ cup whole milk
    ½ cup sugar (3 1/2 oz), plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling
    2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 oz), plus additional for work surface
    ¼ tsp baking soda
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp grated lemon zest
    ½ tsp table salt

    Instructions

    1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Grate 8 tbsp of butter on large holes of box grater. Place grated butter in freezer until needed. Melt 2 tbsp of remaining ungrated butter and set aside. Place blueberries in freezer until needed.

    2. Whisk together sour cream and milk in medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. Whisk flour, baking powder, 1/2 cup sugar salt, baking soda, and lemon zest in medium bowl. Add frozen butter to flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.

    3. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to liberally floured work surface. Dust surface of dough with flour; with floured hands, knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together in ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.

    4. Roll dough into approximate 12-inch square. Fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metalspatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.

    5. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over surface of dough, then press down so they are slightly embedded in dough. Using bench scraper or thin metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Roll dough, pressing to form tight log. Lay seam-side down and press log into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet.

    6. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar [I didn’t add the sugar topping]. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 to 25 min. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 10 min before serving.

    To Make Ahead: After placing the scones on the baking sheet, either refrigerate them overnight or freeze. When ready to bake, for refrigerated scones, heat oven to 425 degrees and follow directions in step 6. For frozen scones, heat oven to 375 degrees, follow directions in step 6, and extend cooking time to 25 to 30 minutes

    Video: Bridget Lancaster from America's Test Kitchen shows Chris Kimball how to make blueberry scones

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