I should have titled this post “Trusting Your Instincts” as that is really the moral of this story. I’ve been taking a professional pastry class for three months now and that is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned, hands down. You can measure and set timers and test out the temperature of your oven all you want; but knowing what the dough should feel like in your hands for the richest, flakiest, most buttery scones…that takes instinct. And I didn’t always trust mine.
Day 1 of class and I’m surrounded by professional bakers and pastry chefs of all different backgrounds. They were legit…even wearing those black clogs that you see chefs wear (how are those comfortable!?). I was intimidated to say the least, and it didn’t help that my scones dough was a lumpy, crumbly mess when I rolled it out. I didn’t have time to salvage them and to be honest, I already felt defeated. As it turns out, I received high marks for flakiness (that’s a first!) and I was one of the few who didn’t overwork their dough. This isn’t top chef so I suppose that doesn’t matter…I went home happy though!
I promise if you make these scones and you’re anything like me, you will probably think this dough is a crumbly mess and you need to mix it more. Resist the urge! Remind yourself that the keys to great scones are cold butter and to not overwork the dough.
This recipe combines two of the things that make brunch so deliciously fabulous: mimosas and pastry. You can cut out your scones and freeze well in advance so when Sunday morning rolls around, you can just pop them straight in the oven. This makes them even better!
Mise en place for Scones: baking powder, salt, sugar, flour, COLD butter, COLD cream, and an orange.
Mix dry ingredients with orange zest.
Cut butter into small cubes and using your hands or a pastry cutter, work it into the flour mixture until blended. The mixture will resemble coarse peas but doesn’t have to be completely uniform.
Press the dough together with your hands (but don’t knead it) and form it into a small disk about 1 inch thick. Remember, crumbly is okay!
Cut out your scones using a bench scraper or biscuit cutter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. If making in advance, cover with plastic wrap and stick in the freezer until ready to use.
Make your glaze just before using: freshly squeezed orange juice, champagne, powdered sugar and butter. Since this recipe uses very little champagne, I would buy a smaller bottle so it doesn’t go to waste…unless you plan on drinking it!
Bake frozen scones in the oven at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. They will be golden and slightly firm to the touch.
If you’re baking for kids, you can easily omit the champagne glaze in place of a standard glaze and they are equally delicious.
Makes 10-12 Scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 oz cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 1 cup chilled heavy cream
For the Glaze
- 1 tbsp butter, melted
- 2 tsp Champagne
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and orange zest. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, work chilled butter into the flour mixture until blended. The mixture should resemble coarse peas. Pour the heavy cream into the dough and mix until just incorporated. Do not overwork the dough-the lumps and clumps are a good thing!
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and press dough together, kneading only slightly if necessary. Push the dough into a disk about 1 inch thick and cut into wedges. Place wedges on parchment lined baking sheet. At this point, the wedges can be frozen in advance and placed directly into the oven when ready (which makes a more delicious scone!) or placed immediately in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. Place scones on a cooling rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before applying the glaze.
Make the glaze: whisk together confectioner’s sugar, orange juice, champagne and butter until well blended. Drizzle over the cooled scones and serve immediately.