I had coffee at a friend’s house recently and she made the best scones I have ever eaten. They were vanilla and lavender and the recipe came from the Alice’s Tea Cup cookbook. I immediately ordered the book from my phone and have made these scones (and other varieties) many times since then. And have also added a trip to Alice’s Tea Cup to my list of must things to eat in New York City.
They are cakey and light, and in my opinion, perfect. I have made them with both white flour and whole wheat pastry and I like the way that they both turn out. We are moving soon, so I am trying to use up some of the flours and things in my pantry, so I used wheat for this go around. This recipe is a great base recipe. I added lemon zest to mine because, well, we all know how I feel about lemon. You could make a million variations from this recipe.
These scones would be a nice addition to your Mother’s Day brunch. I like to make the dough the night before and cover them with plastic wrap on a baking sheet and keep them in the fridge. In the morning, I preheat the oven and brush them with cream and sand with sugar and then bake them off. I think that scones are best eaten when warm from the oven.
My friend served her scones with a syrup. I had never had a scone that way before, but please know that now it is the only way that I want to eat them. I also made the Un-Clotted Cream recipe to go with them as well. Real clotted cream is incredible, but way too much effort for me. This cream does the trick. Serve with fresh berries.
Lemon Vanilla Syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
Peel from one lemon
Lemon and Vanilla Bean Scones:
3 cups flour (I used whole wheat pastry)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 vanilla beans
Zest from one lemon
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
To make the syrup, add the sugar, water, vanilla seeds and pod, and lemon peel to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Turn off the heat and let cool completely.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Work the butter into the flour mixture (I use my hands) until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the vanilla seeds and lemon peel and combine it into the flour.
Make a well, and pour in the buttermilk and vanilla.
Combine until until everything is wet, but do not knead the dough. This is the most important step. If you overwork your dough, the scones will be tough, not tender and light.
Turn the mixture out onto a floured board.
Gather the dough together and pat it into a rectangle shape that is about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut the scones into 12 wedges. (I made 8 large scones.)
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Bake in a preheated 425 degrees for about 12 minutes.
To make the un-clotted cream, add the heavy cream to the bowl of a mixer with the whip attachment. Start on medium speed and add the sugar slowly.
Add the lemon juice in a slow stream. Turn the mixer up to high speed (be careful to not splash) and whip until it forms stiff peaks. Keep in a container for up to a week in the fridge.
Drizzle the syrup over the warm scones. Serve with the un-clotted cream and fresh berries.