During my freshman year of college, I was required to live in a dorm. It was the most miserable experience of my life, not because I had a terrible roommate, but because I couldn’t cook or bake without having to use the communal kitchen (which meant I had to share with whomever walked by and said “mmmm”). I told myself that I would survive that year with nary a cookie to be had, but less than a month passed before I heard about the wonders of the bakery less than 30 yards from my front door.
Desperate for a muffin, a croissant, anything, I grabbed my husband (then my boyfriend) and ran across the street, hoping that I could hide in his shadow and no one would see me committing the shameful act of purchasing a bakery cookie. When I walked in, however, I was greeted with a surprising sight: bakers covered in flour, stretching tangy, buttery naan in plain view of the customers. “This place isn’t so bad,” I thought to myself as I decided what to order. My husband opted for a cookie or twelve, while my eyes went straight to one of the things I just knew they couldn’t make as well as I: scones.
We paid and took our first bites. After I swallowed, I promptly inserted my foot into my mouth. They were the best scones I’d ever had! I asked if they had a secret and the counter girl winked. I went home fuming, deeply bothered by the fact that I couldn’t figure out the trick to their melt-in-your-mouth yet perfectly crumbly scones. I told myself I was able to delay satisfaction and that I would never again return to my local bakery, but my already weak resolve waned after a week or two. I spent the next couple of years inhaling the various tasty foodstuffs from the bakery I loathed to call my favorite.
Then, one day I woke up hungry for breakfast and broke (as college students are wont to be). I knew that if I wanted to keep my bank account in the black, I had to test my skills and try to make my favorite scones myself. I mixed up the dough, shaped it, and threw it into the oven with my fingers crossed. And that, Home Eccers, is the day my scone recipe was born—and the day I was finally able to give up my bakery addiction for good.
Even if you’ve never had a scone, give this recipe a shot. Who knows? You may just realize that your favorite local bakery has been in your kitchen all along!
Basic Scone Recipe
Plain Scone Dough
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar (omit if using savory mix-ins)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- mix-ins (ideas below; optional)
- egg wash (recipe below)
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons milk
- 1/3 cup cranberries and 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- ½ cup cooked spinach, squeezed dry, and 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup dried- or rinsed and drained blueberries
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese, 1-2 teaspoons herbs (your choice), and freshly ground black pepper
Step One: Combine 2 cups all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar (if making sweet scones), 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Preheat your oven to 425 F.
Makes 8 large scones.
Michele Newell is a housewife turned blogger turned Home Ec 101 contributor. You can read her near daily ramblings at Dreams Unreal.