Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Buttermilk Scones {A Tuesdays with Dorie Post}

I have a serious obsession with, no, addiction to scones.  They are ones of my all time favorite breakfast foods.  And that's saying something because I absolutely love breakfast.  Especially when I get to linger over a great spread with friends or (on really special days) the quiet of my child-free home after dropping my kids off at school. There's just something about the light of the morning, a good book, a cup of steaming tea and warm, flaky scones that makes my day start in just the perfect way.

My favorite scones have always been ones made with a copious amount of butter and cream.  I've made versions with Meyer lemon, chocolate chunks, and even pumpkin.  They always turn out just the way I like them- light and fluffy with plenty of rich flavor.  So when these scones turned up in the Tuesdays with Dorie schedule I was a bit skeptical.  How well would buttermilk do the job of replacing cream?  Would the scones be too much like biscuits and not enough like the scones that I love?

I am now officially a convert.

These buttermilk scones were every bit as good as the cream based scones that I usually make.  And I just loved the idea of creating the jam-filled pinwheel shaped scones.  They were absolutely delicious, if a bit messy to fill and cut.  I filled mine with home made fig jam, but I'm positive the scones would be just as wonderful with any berry flavored jam or even lemon curd (Oh!  Now there's a great idea I just came up with.).

Can't wait to see what other wonderful variations my fellow bloggers came up with?  Check them all out on the Tuesdays with Dorie page!

Buttermilk Scones
Makes 1 dozen triangle shaped scones or 24 spiral ones.  Recipe from Baking with Julia, edited by Dorie Greenspan.
For the printable recipe, click here.

I rarely ever follow a recipe exactly, but found little need to make any changes with this one.  I did cut back on the butter needed to brush the tops (I only used about half of what the original called for).  This recipe makes quite a few scones- directions for freezing uneaten scones are at the end.  If I were to make these again, and I'm sure I will, I would probably halve to recipe.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted cold butter (6 ounces), cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk 
1 tbs grated orange zest or lemon zest

2 tbs. unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
1/4 cup sugar, for dusting the tops

(If making the spiral scones)

4 tablespoons jam or jelly, and/or 4 tablespoons diced or small dried fruit, such as currants, raisins, apricots, or figs

Position the oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a medium bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together with a fork. Add the cold butter pieces and, using your fingertips (the first choice), a pastry blender, or two knives, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  It's OK if some largish pieces of butter remain-they'll add to the scones' flakiness.

Pour in 1 cup buttermilk, toss in the zest, and mix with the fork only until the ingredients are just moistened--you'll have a soft dough with a rough look. (If the dough looks dry, add another tablespoon of buttermilk.) Gather the dough into a ball, pressing it gently so that it holds together, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead it very briefly--a dozen turns should do it. Cut the dough in half.

TO MAKE TRIANGULAR-SHAPED SCONES, roll one piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick circle that is about 7 inches across. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and cut the circle into 6 triangles. Place the scones on a parchment lined baking sheet and set aside while you roll out the rest of the dough.

TO MAKE ROLLED SCONES, roll one piece of dough into a strip that is 12 inches long and 1/2 inch thick (the piece will not be very wide). Spread the strip with half of the melted butter and dust with half of the sugar. If you want to spread the roll with jam and/or sprinkle it with dried fruits, now's the time to do so; leave a narrow border on a long edge bare. Roll the strip up from a long side like a jelly roll; pinch the seam closed and turn the roll seam side down. Cut the roll in half and cut each piece into six 1-inch-wide roll-ups. Place the rolled scones cut side down on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving a little space between each one. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bake the scones for 10 to 12 minutes, until both the tops and bottoms are golden. Transfer the scones to a rack to cool slightly. These are best served warm but are just fine at room temperature.

If you're not going to eat the scones the day they are made, wrap them
airtight and freeze; they'll stay fresh for a month. To serve, defrost the scones at room temperature in their wrappers, then unwrap and reheat on a baking sheet for 5 minutes in a 350°F oven.


  1. I am a new convert and loved these scones. Yours look great. Wonder if somehow I can find a recipe that cuts down on the butter.....that way I can enjoy them without the guilt pangs :-).

    1. I did end up using way less of the butter for the topping than the recipe called for and I bet you could swap that out entirely with milk with little difference. Maybe try cutting a tablespoon of butter in the dough and keep doing that until you start to see a change in the consistency and flavor in the scones. But I figure that the recipe makes so many scones that just to eat one isn't so bad!

  2. Beautifully done! I love that you made both the spirals and traditional scones. They all look wonderful!

    1. Thank you! I really loved the spiral especially.

  3. Lovely scones!!!
    I enjoyed them too for breakfast!!! Idyllic to begin the day in a good mood!!!

  4. Beautiful photos of these tasty treats! Glad you are officially a convert!

    1. Thanks for the compliment on my photos! I've really been working on them- it's difficult in the winter light in my house so it's been a real trial lately. I was happy with the way these turned out and I'm so glad that comes across in the blog post.

  5. They look fantastic! And I agree....what beats the quiet of the morning after all the kids are off to school?? :) (Not the sound of the washing machine, that's for sure! LOL)

    1. Ah, a quiet morning? Hmmm, what is that? I have forgotten what that was ever since my son was born, but your description is downright dreamy. I loved these scones as well. I am thrilled that you filled yours with fig jam, as I was making mine I was wishing I had some for the inside! Care to share your jam recipe??

    2. I remember those days well- they'll pass soon enough! I wish I could share the fig jam recipe, but it's a leftover from doing some recipe testing for a cookbook that I'm involved in. It's still in the super-secret stage. :) But this recipe is very similar (minus the port)- http://rx4foodies.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/black-mission-fig-preserves-with-rosemary-and-port/.

  6. Beautiful scones. I loved these too. I have a feeling I'll be making these often.

  7. I love breakfast too! Your scones looks beautiful...wish I had tried the spiral ones too.

  8. Yours look wonderful. I like the idea of the fig jam filling, too. I've got a fig tree in its first season and am hoping to make some fig jam myself this year.

  9. your scones rose beautifully! I want one of those the jam pinwheels. :)

  10. Love fig jam!!! Wish I had thought of that. Beautiful looking scones and photos.

  11. mmm nice post!!!
    bacio Giulia