When my son was little we had an after school and after work mother-son ritual. While he put his things away, got cleaned up and changed, I’d make a batch of his favorite blueberry scones with hot tea for me and hot cocoa for him.
Then, for half an hour, we’d have our special time together and he’d tell me all about his day (good or bad), what he learned, what homework if any he had to do, and then we’d tell silly jokes.
It gave us time to spend together, to communicate and connect, and it was a great way for us both to relax, unwind and recharge.
Although my son loved blueberry scones, you may substitute and/or add other berries, dried fruits, currants, raisins, nuts, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, rosemary, jasmine, citrus fruit zest, chocolate, or other flavorings.
Just be careful not to use large amounts of fresh fruits that will release too much liquid or juices during baking that will result in soggy, wet scones — or even liquefied or melted piles of goop instead of scones. Instead, for fruit flavors, try using a few Tablespoons of fruit juice and cut back the same quantity less of the cream and/or add dried fruit or zest. Also, cut back an equal amount less of the cream if using liquid flavoring extracts.
Cream provides the richest flavor and best texture to the scones but milk, evaporated milk, buttermilk, or half-n-half may be substituted. Another good substitute for some flavors (especially herbal) is 1/2 cup milk or cream plus 1/4 cup sour cream well blended together.
Cream cheese does not work well in the dough used in large quantities for textural reasons but it may be used in any quantity for a filling after they are baked. If using in the dough, do not use more than 2 to 3 Tablespoons of cream cheese, cut back 2 to 3 Tablespoons less of the butter, and work to cut and pinch the cream cheese into the flour mixture with the butter. Make sure the cream cheese is also kept cold; do not soften it. Such a small quantity does not lend very much if any cream cheese flavor however to the dough.
For the best texture and results keep ingredients such as eggs, cream, and butter cold until ready to use. Knead, mix, and press dough out as well as preparing the ingredients by hand since using an electric mixer will cause friction and heat up the ingredients and the dough. Do not over handle, over mix, or over knead the ingredients or the dough.
Afternoon Blueberry Scones
4 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
4-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups blueberries, frozen (do not thaw)
whole milk or half-n-half, for brushing tops before baking
2 sticks of unsalted butter, cold: 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 Tablespoons cold butter to cut into mixture — then keep what remains of second stick of butter refrigerated and cold for brushing the tops of the scones after baking.
Note: Use only frozen blueberries without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter. Fresh blueberries should be frozen before using. Otherwise, the bread will be covered with areas of unappetizing purple and/or even grey colored splotches.
Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease with additional butter.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Cut and pinch in 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 Tablespoons of the cold butter until it is a coarse crumb texture.
In a small bowl, whisk eggs until pale yellow using a dinner fork or hand whisk.
Stir sugar and heavy cream together.
Whisk in heavy cream and sugar mixture into the beaten eggs just until mixed and evenly incorporated.
Add the egg and cream mixture to the dry ingredients and knead by hand to mix but only just until moistened and sticks together.
Do not over work or they will become tough!
If too dry and not holding together add 1 teaspoon at a time of additional cream, milk, or half-n-half then knead to mix after each addition only just until it sticks together.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Only dust the work surface with enough flour to prevent sticking.
If too much flour mixes with dough it will become tough or you will end up with large amounts of yucky tasting flour caked up and stuck on the bottoms of the baked scones!
Press the dough out gently by hand into a rectangle. Do not use a rolling pin!
Using hands, gently press in the frozen blueberries on one half of the rectangle.
Scoop up and push the empty half of the dough up and over top of the half with the blueberries. May use a flat pastry cutter or hands.
Press dough out gently by hand into a 3/4 to 1 inch thick rectangle again.
You may press the outer edges with a ruler, flat pastry cutter, or use a flat cookie baking sheet stood on its side to even up the edges if required.
Using a thin sharp knife or flat pastry cutter, slice dough into evenly sized, squat triangular shaped wedges approximately 3 to 3-1/2 inches in length and 2 to 2-1/2 inch tall.
To get even triangles, first slice rectangle across longest length into an even number of 2 or 2-1/2 inch wide strips. Cut an “X” across two strips at a time (3 or 3-1/2 inches wide across the top and bottom of the “X”) and repeat from one end of the strips to the other. Move down to the next two strips and repeat. If you do end up having an odd number of strips, cut the final strip in a “V” shape or just the top half of the “X”.
Alternately, dough may simply be cut into squares with the knife or cut out circles or other shapes using biscuit or cookie cutters.
Using a thin flat metal spatula or flat pastry cutter, scoop up one at a time to place on baking sheets.
Place spaced apart on greased or parchment paper lined baking sheets. Brush tops very lightly with an even thin coat milk or half-n-half using a pastry brush or finger tips.
Bake on center rack at 375 F degrees for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
Rub over the tops of the hot from the oven scones with remaining stick of cold butter until melted and the scones are well coated.
If desired, sprinkle the freshly buttered tops lightly with powdered sugar or brush lightly with warm honey; or, may slice scones in half and fill with a thin layer blueberry jam; or, may puree thawed blueberries and mix with whipped cream to use as a filling.
Blueberries will leave stains on clothing so do not over fill.
Serve warm scones with hot tea and/or hot cocoa and heaps of love.
Store left overs at room temperature once cooled down in an airtight container or zippered bag.
Left overs may be eaten at room temperature or warmed for a few seconds in the microwave before serving the next afternoon, eaten any time as a snack, or may be served with breakfast or may even be served as an after meal dessert.