I can’t recall the first time I ever had a scone. It was probably the summer after high school in London. I was on a European choir tour and while friends were interested in buying clothes you couldn’t find at the mall in Iowa, I was fascinated by the food. My mom commented on how I didn’t bring home many souvenirs from that 3 week trip and except for the cartilage piercing I acquired, I spent most of my Euros on food.
But I really fell in love with scones in culinary school. I was the only one in my program who preferred baking to cooking and thrived in our baking classes. I probably should have enrolled in the pastry program, but I’ll have to settle for making the occasional Sunday morning scone.
Unlike yeasted breads, scones can be whipped up in a half an hour and can be customized with ease. Dried cranberries, chocolate chips, cinnamon, lemon zest, whatever you’re craving you can throw into your basic scone recipe and it’ll be delicious.
So to celebrate the first day of spring, I made lavender lemon scones. They actually taste like spring. Lightly floral, a hint of citrus suggesting sunshine, these are the perfect spring accompaniment to a cup of tea or your morning latte.
The key to flaky scones is to not think to hard. Don’t overwork the dough in the bowl; let it be shaggy. Don’t overwork the dough on the bench; there should be cracks and pieces falling off. If your wedges are smooth when you cut them, they’ll be tough coming out of the oven.
Lavender Lemon Scones
yield: 16 scones
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried lavender*
zest of 2 lemons
8 tablespoons (1 stick) of cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup cold heavy cream, plus 1/4 cup for brushing after scones bake
2 egg yolks
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I never measure vanilla, just eyeball it)
1/8 cup turbinado sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicon mat and put aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, dried lavender, and lemon zest. Using your hands, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until a butter is approximately pea sized and the texture looks like sand
- In a measuring cup, mix the heavy cream, egg yolks, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. With your hand, mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. The dough will be shaggy and that’s ok!
- Form the dough into 2 balls. Flatten the balls into 2 circles about 1” thick. Using a pastry wheel or a knife, cut each circle into 8 triangular pieces. You will have 16 triangles total.
- Bake for 8 minutes and then spin your baking sheets to ensure even baking. Bake for another 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheet to cool.
- While scones are cooling, brush with the 1/4 cup heavy cream and sprinkle turbinado sugar over the tops.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
*You can find dried lavender at most grocery stores or co-ops. My local co-op has lavender in the bulk section near the tea, not the spices. You can also order online from a spice purveyor like Penzey’s.