This past weekend brought with it another game of mahjong. Our friends Dave & Jeff, phoned us Saturday afternoon as were doing our grocery shopping to invite us over for a Saturday night game. Since I’m still learning the rules and strategy, I figured it would be useful to disarm our competitors with something sweet.
Although I said I would make gougeres for our next game, I was actually craving baked goods at the time we received the invite. Thankfully we were at the store, so I had a chance to figure out what to make and to buy any needed ingredients. I decided to make these easy and delicious lemon poppy seed scones.
The story behind this recipe involves a crazy relationship I had in grad school. It’s too embarrassing to tell how it all ended (but it’s a story Joe still references to this day). I’ll blame the relationship on my poor judgment but I did walk away from the relationship with this recipe, so in the end it was worth it!
The scones are super easy and can be made with a variety of flavors. You can make them small or large, just pick your favorite shape. I typically make them in triangles but decided to go for round ones this time.
Lemon Poppyseed Scones
for the scones
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled butter
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
1 beaten egg
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter pieces are smaller than the size of peas. Stir in the lemon zest and poppy seeds.
In a small bowl, stir together the cream, egg, and vanilla. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. It is important that you do not over mix the mixture. Once the liquid is absorbed and the dough is coming together (only a little dry flour in bottom of bowl), then stop.
Dough will be a little crumbly — remove from bowl and knead until it holds together. Pat the dough in to a 7″ circle that is 1 1/2″ thick. Cut into 8 triangles (I used a round cutter). Place scones onto a greased cookie sheet (I lined mine with parchment). Brush tops and sides with egg wash.
Bake at 375F for 15 minutes.
Other flavor ideas (in place of lemon zest and poppy seeds):
- add 1/2 cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, etc.) with 1/3 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts, etc.)
- add 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
- add 2 Tablespoons orange zest and 1/3 cup currants
- replace vanilla with almond extract and add 1/3 cup dried cherries, 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds
The egg wash gives them a wonderful shiny crust that takes on a nice golden hue. The butter and cream give the scones a moist, creamy-soft texture. The scones are delicious cold or warmed and are perfect for a brunch party. I prefer them plain but feel free to give them a dollop of butter, clotted cream or jam.
Since I cut them into rounds, I had to keep re-patting the dough in order to cut more rounds from it. This over-working of the dough caused them to be a bit heavy in texture. The key to this recipe is to touch the dough as little as possible (yes, I broke my own rule). They looked wonderful though — I love this close-up of the crack on top of the scones:
What are you favorite scone flavorings? Share your favorites in the comments section below. Personally, I fell in love with the maple-oat scones from Starbucks which they no longer sell. I was SO sad when they stopped selling them. I need to try and recreate them at some point. One more thing to add to my list of things to do :-)