Classic Cream Scones

The scone is a small British quick bread (or cake if recipe includes sugar) of Scottish origin. Scones are especially popular in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the United States, but are eaten in many other countries. It is a basic component of an English tea or - in my case - a Ladies' Luncheon. I may not have served tea, but these baked goodies definitely added a tea party feel to our lunch. (Thank you, Wikipedia, for that riveting definition of a scone. Without you, I would have been tripping over my words trying to describe a scone. "Well, it's kind of sweet, but kind of not. It's fluffy, but not like a biscuit...")

These scones were light and fluffy with just the right amount of flavor. We gobbled them up with fresh lemon curd and strawberry preserves. I am excited to start making variations of this classic recipe.

Classic Cream Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup unsalted-butter, cold
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and placet he rack in the middle of the oven. Like a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Touching the butter with your hands as little as possible, cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like course crumbs once you are finished. In a small measuring cup, combine the whipping cream, beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture, and stir until just combined.

Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 7 in round circle, then, using a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into rounds. (As you push the cookie cutter into the dough, rotate the cutter slightly. This will help avoid flat scones.) Place the rounds on the prepared cookie sheet, spacing a few inches apart. Brush the tops with a little cream, to help brown the tops of the scones during baking.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with fresh lemon curd or your favorite fruit preserves.

Source: adapted from Joy of Baking