We had friends over for brunch on Sunday, and Maxence went out in the morning to the charcuterie shop, cheese shop, and bakery. He came back with a basketload of ready-to-eat goodies — bone-in ham and duck terrine and eggs in aspic and cheese and freshly baked bread — that we served with a simple green salad topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.
And for the sweet part of the brunch (there must be a sweet part to a brunch, otherwise it’s just lunch), I baked scones, using my favorite recipe, which is simple and quick, and calls for ingredients I always have on hand.
These scones are delicious plain, but you can add whichever flavoring you like:
- spices, such as vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, roasted lemon zest powder, cardamom…
- dried fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries, or raisins (if using larger fruits such as apricots or figs, dice finely)
- nuts, finely chopped, such as almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts…
- citrus zest, freshly and finely grated
- orange flower water, not too much for a subtle, non-soapy flavor
- chopped or grated chocolate
I baked the scones earlier that morning, and put them back in the oven for a few minutes to reheat before serving, with butter and creamy honey.
- 220 grams (1 2/3 cup) flour
- 25 grams (2 tablespoons) sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 55 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) plain yogurt (not fat-free)
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk (not fat-free)
- 2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground spice of your choice, such as fresh cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon finely grated citrus zest
- 2 to 3 tablespoons finely diced dried fruits
- 2 to 3 tablespoons finely chopped nuts
- 2 teaspoons orange flower water
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped or grated chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. If you're using vanilla extract, spices, or citrus zest, add them in now.
- Dice the butter and blend it into the dry ingredients using a fork or pastry cutter, until no visible lump of butter remains.
- Stir in the yogurt, 2 tablespoons milk, and any dried fruits, nuts, orange flower water, or chopped chocolate you want to use.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead gently just a few times to form a ball. Handle the dough as lightly as you can and avoid overmixing, or the scones will be tough.
- Pat the dough into a round, about 12 cm in width and 3 cm in thickness (about 5 inches in width and 1 inch in thickness). Brush the top with the remaining teaspoon milk and sprinkle with sugar.
- Slice into 8 wedges with a knife or dough cutter.
- Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet, giving them a little space to expand.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the scones are set and nicely golden.
- Serve warm, with an assortment of spreads, such as butter, clotted cream, jam, honey, nut butter, apple butter, maple syrup...
This post was originally published on February 10, 2004.