Sunday, March 3, 2013

ChezCindy: Crazy Good Blueberry Scones!

I first made these blueberry scones a couple of years ago, and not again since.  My notes reflected that they were "Excellent!".  Making them again this morning, they have been upgraded to "Crazy Good!".  If there can be a scale of measurement for how delicious food is, in my version, Crazy Good exceeds Excellent. 

To make things even more enticing, this is the easiest scone recipe you will ever make.  There is no rolling out of the dough.  Why did I wait 2 years to make these again???  Once the dough is made, you simply scoop out 1/2 cups and drop onto a baking sheet.  Less mess to clean up than rolling out dough.  I like that. 

Winter is the perfect time to make scones.  Scone ingredients need to start out cold and stay cold.  Key steps are to use cold butter straight from the refrigerator, or even slightly frozen from the freezer.  I used frozen blueberries, which made the dough extra cold.  Keeping the butter cold, once incorporated into the dough, gives the scones the desired flakiness.  This applies to the dough waiting to be baked, while those in the oven finish baking.  I use 4 baking trays; 2 in the oven and 2 waiting to go into the oven.  Winter helps with this process because I can keep my waiting trays outside (if it is not snowing) or in the garage to stay cold.  Sounds a bit crazy, but do what you can to keep the waiting dough away from the heat of the oven. 

When scooping out the dough, place each mound of dough onto the baking sheet with enough space to spread without touching each other.  Allowing space between the unbaked scones will yield a crisp edge and a soft interior. 

Serve the scones warm from the oven, drizzled with honey or butter.  If you have left-over scones, warm them slightly in the oven to resume some of the crispness.  A cold scone will be more soft and cakey.  Not bad, just different than warm from the oven. 

Blueberry Oat Scones
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
11 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 3/4 cups half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 rimmed baking trays with parchment paper. 
Working in a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir to combine.  Cut the cold butter into 1/2 inch pieces; add to the bowl.  Blend until the mixture resembles a rocky road with pieces of butter the size of peas.  Add the oats and blueberries, stirring just to combine.  (If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw them before adding to the dough.)  While the mixer is running, add the half and half and vanilla, mixing just until the dough comes together.  The dough will be very thick and wet. 

Using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, scoop out the dough and drop onto the prepared baking sheets in slightly rounded mounds, allowing ample space between each scone.  Sprinkle each scone top with a bit of raw oats and sugar. 

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Rotate the baking sheets for even baking, and bake for another 11 minutes.  Remove from the oven; slide the parchment paper off the baking trays to cool the scones.  Repeat with remaining dough. 

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