Crunchy-Top Vanilla Scones
8 irresistible scones
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- 1 large and 2 small bowls
- Pastry blender
- Table knife and fork
- Chef’s knife
- Pastry brush
- Table spoon
- Oven mitts
- Cooling rack
- Offset spatula (optional)
Cut up the butter and prepare the pan
Cut the cold butter into small cubes and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Measure the milk, add the vanilla to it, and refrigerate it next to the butter.
Line the baking sheet with the parchment paper.
Cut the butter into the flour
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the large bowl and whisk until blended. Scatter the cold butter pieces over the dry ingredients and toss them with your hands until they are coated with the flour mixture. Using the pastry blender, cut the butter into smaller and smaller pieces. If chunks of cold butter get stuck in the wires of the pastry blender, use the table knife to push them off, then continue cutting. You are done when the biggest butter pieces are no larger than green peas. Some will be much smaller, and that’s fine.
Mix the dough
Pour the chilled vanilla milk into the butter-flour mixture, then stir with the fork 12 to 15 times, until it holds together in big, shaggy clumps. Sprinkle your work surface with a little flour. Turn the clumpy mass out onto the flour and knead it gently 4 to 8 times, until it comes together into a dough. Don’t knead too long – like you do for bread or pizza dough – or the scones will be tough.
Shape and cut the dough
Pat the dough into an 8 by 4-inch rectangle. Be sure it is the same thickness everywhere. Using the chef’s knife, cut the rectangle in half the long way (lengthwise), and then into quarters the short way (crosswise). You should have 8 scones, each about 2 inches square. Brush off any extra flour from the top and bottom of the scones and place them several inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Just after you slip the scones into the refrigerator, position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 425°F.
Top and bake the scones
To top the scones, pour the milk into 1 of the small bowls. Put the turbinado sugar and cinnamon in the other small bowl and stir together with the spoon. Brush the top of each scone with a thin coating of the milk. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the biscuits.
Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until golden brown on top and firm to the touch. Using the oven mitts, transfer the pan to the cooling rack. Let the scones cool for 5 minutes before serving. Transfer to serving plates with an offset spatula.
-From Baking Kids Love by Sur La Table with Cindy Mushet/Andrews McMeel Publishing