Sunday, September 2, 2012

Blueberry Drop Scones

In my pastry-making days at the coffee shop, I made a lot of scones. The dough involved a decent bit of work, with all the frozen butter grating and dough rolling and whatnot. People really seemed to prefer our other pastries though, so a lot of times we'd end up having to throw some of the scones out, aka let the other employees fight over who got to take them home. I honestly think that was one of their favorite parts of the job--what did Leslie bake that I can take home today?

All that changed one day when for whatever reason--I can't remember if I was just being lazy or what--I decided that instead of rolling out the dough and then filling it with goodies before folding it up and cutting it into wedges, I would just mix the goodies directly into the dough and drop it by large spoonfuls onto the pan. I know that I had made drop biscuits a few times around then, so I'm assuming that's where the idea came from. I tried it out, and customers couldn't get enough of these scones. None of the flavors changed. We used the exact same recipe to make them; we basically just changed their shape, and people went crazy for them. It was so weird. They are slightly fluffier, I suppose, because the dough isn't rolled, but that's about the only difference. I only made scones this way after that point. I even made a double batch of these the morning of our wedding as breakfast for everyone who was helping us decorate.

One of the best things about scones is that it's really easy to change the flavors. Don't like blueberry? Put in a different fruit. It's that simple. You can use fresh fruit or frozen. You can use chocolate chips. You can use nuts. It's all good. We had a basic rotation of flavors at the coffee shop--not on a set schedule because I'd never know what ingredients we'd have on any given day--but there were flavors that I tried to make fairly often because they were particularly popular. Those flavors would be blueberry, lemon blueberry, peach, orange cranberry, cherry almond, strawberry pecan, and my personal favorite, cinnamon chocolate chip. I would make a big batch of these twice a week and freeze whatever I wasn't going to bake immediately. You can take them straight from the freezer to the oven--just bake them a couple minutes longer.

This time, I used frozen, wild blueberries. I prefer the smaller size of the wild blueberries compared to the regular kind. At the coffee shop, we always used 2% milk mixed with a splash of half and half, which just made the end result a teeny bit richer, I think. I use skim milk at home, and it comes out just fine. Use whatever you feel comfortable with. The final two ingredients below are completely optional. We always drizzled the tops with butter-flavored shortening halfway through cooking and then topped them with some raw sugar. It just helped to make the outside a bit more browned and crispy, but it really isn't necessary. If you decide not to do it, just skip right past that step and keep on baking.


1 stick of butter, frozen
2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 c milk
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c wild blueberries
Additional milk
2 tbsp shortening or butter, optional
1 - 2 tbsp raw sugar, optional


Grate the stick of butter onto a plate or some parchment paper. If the butter softens a lot by the time you're done, place the grated butter back in the freezer for 5 minutes before you continue. Otherwise, just place it in the refrigerator until you need it.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, and mix well. Add the butter to the flour mixture, breaking up any clumps with your fingers as you go. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to fully incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients. You should not be able to see any remaining chunks of butter when it's mixed well enough.

In a mixing cup or bowl, combine the 1/2 c milk, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until the sour cream is mostly incorporated. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients, and gently fold together until just combined. Fold in the blueberries. If your dough is still really dry, add additional milk a tablespoon or two at a time, gently folding it after each addition. Dough should be sticky but not soupy when it's ready.

Scoop a large spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet, and repeat with remaining dough. Place cookie sheet in freezer 10-15 minutes. (This will help the scones to retain their shape in the oven instead of spreading out into a cookie shape.) Bake scones at 375 F for 12 minutes. Melt shortening/butter. Remove pan from oven, and drizzle scones with melted shortening. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F, and bake additional 16-18 minutes.

Servings: 6-8

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