Forget everything you think you know about scones. Right now. All of it. Just throw it out the window.
If you’re one of those people who thinks scones are too hard, too bland, and too dry, I’m going to change your mind quickly about all of that. Up until a few months ago, I would totally agree with all of those descriptions. It wasn’t until I saw a recipe for Meyer lemon-raspberry scones from one of my favorite food bloggers that I realized scones could be full of flavor, oh-so-moist, and best of all sweet!
I actually did a little research and found that scones, in the British sense, are pretty bland. Those Brits load them up with butter or jam and that solves all of the problems. Here in America? That just doesn’t fly. Nope, we need to have all those goodies inside the scone, because who the heck wants those extra steps when butter and sugar and cinnamon are involved? If you want to spread some goodness, you might as well just eat plain bread… And what’s the fun in that?
Speaking of fun, I’ll tell you what’s not one bit of fun: my scone adventure. It began in May. That’s right, May. It’s currently August. I’ve tried several scone recipes, all of them with fruit. I ended up with blue (yep, blue) scones, soggy scones, and plenty of scones that tasted like pure baking soda. Let me tell you, friends… It’s been a rough road. But I finally came up with something that works, and works magically.
I decided to abandon the fruit. I’ll get back to it someday, but for now, I’m completely burned out on fruit scones. I decided to turn to an ingredient I am completely familiar with and know works well: mini cinnamon chips (mini because more in each bite because DUH)! They are one of my absolute favorite add-ins. I like to add them to chocolate chip cookies, trail mix, applesauce, and quick breads. My first go-around with the cinnamon chips wasn’t perfect, but the second time… Oh my heavens. These scones are to die for. Cinnamon crunch perfection, if I do say so myself.
So… Are you ready to be refreshed with the moistest scone recipe you’ve ever had?
Let’s go over a couple things to make sure we’re on the same scone page. First of all, you’ll want to use frozen butter, for the same reasons you want to use frozen butter when you make pie crust: when the frozen butter melts in the oven, it creates pockets of steam that keep the scones light and airy on the inside. I freeze my butter for at least 30 minutes. You’ll want to grate the butter into your dry ingredients quickly with a cheese grater.
Once your butter is in, you’re going to cut it in with a pastry blender. If you don’t have a pastry blender, get one. In the meantime, use a fork or two knives. Cut it in until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Then, it’s time for your liquids: one egg and a half a cup of buttermilk. The buttermilk makes these scones so moist and it’s imperative to this recipe. If you don’t have buttermilk, make your own! Measure 1/2 Tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar into a measuring cup and add milk of your choice until the level reaches 1/2 cup. Stir it up, let it sit for 5 minutes, and you’re ready to go.
Once the liquids are in, mix as little as possible. You don’t want to overwork the gluten in your dough, otherwise your scones will end up dense and tough. That’s a sco-no (oh boy).
When your dry ingredients have just moistened, carefully stir in your cinnamon chips. I actually like to use my hands for this step so I can be sure I’m being delicate with everything. When your chips are fully mixed, you’ll dump everything out onto a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and form it all into a uniform disc about 8″ in diameter.
I use this Wilton cake lifter to use as a guide since it is 8″ long and what I use to cut my dough into the individual triangles. If you don’t have something like this, use the sharpest knife you own, being careful not to tear your mat or the parchment sitting under your dough.
Once your disc is cut, sprinkle generously with a mix of cinnamon and sugar. This is where your crunch comes in– the high heat of the oven melts the sugar crystals and puts this beautiful, crispy layer of sweet and spicy right on top of your scone. Once you sink your teeth through this crunchy layer, the inside will melt.in.your.mouth! It’s buttery, light, and tender, and every bite is full of luscious little cinnamon chips.
These scones are reminiscent of muffins, but a little more dense. They go perfectly with a cup of coffee, and are best served fresh from the oven. If you’re having guests over for breakfast or brunch, these go from ingredients in your pantry to the table in under 40 minutes. That’s enough time to shake the sleepies out, spend 20 minutes sniffing the amazing aroma billowing from the kitchen, and prepare your palate for the scone that will change all opinions you thought you had about scones forever… Just remember to pop your butter in the freezer the night before!
Most importantly, don’t invite too many brunch guests over, because you’re going to find them very hard to share!
- 2 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour (be sure to measure properly)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar + 1 Tablespoon, divided
- ¼ cup light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark here)
- 2 and ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup mini cinnamon chips
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper (not wax paper). Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ¼ cup of the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon. Quickly grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, a fork, or two knives, blend the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the egg. Pour this mixture evenly over the flour/butter mixture and blend together with a spatula until everything is just moist. Gently fold in the mini cinnamon chips, using your hands if necessary.
- With your hands, form into a ball and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Press ball into 8" disc and cut into 8 equal triangles with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with a mix of remaining granulated sugar and ground cinnamon.
- Bake for 22-24 minutes or until edges start to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes. Scones are best served immediately, but will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days. Scones may be frozen up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature and warm to preference before enjoying.
See all cinnamon recipes.
Or… If you’re in the mood for MORE scones, check out my Orange Poppy Seed Scones next!
See more breakfast recipes.