If you’re familiar at all with America’s Test Kitchen, you understand why I was intrigued to try out this recipe. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch an episode of the show, and you’ll see that the folks at America’s Test Kitchen are super hard-core scientists who take recipe development very seriously. They find the best way to make… anything! They test just about every possible variable in a recipe to come up with the best way to make it.
So when I found this recipe from Cave Cibum and saw that it was adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book, I just had to give it a shot. As big of a fan as I am, I’ve never made any of their recipes, until now.
Naturally, it’s the most complicated scone recipe I’ve seen thus far, the folks at America’s Test Kitchen are not ones to cut corners, they’re all about making the best recipes, not the simplest recipes.
Unfortunately, I did decided to cut corners, because I thought I could get away with it. And I did, until I skipped the step of freezing the dough first, before starting to work with it. Not a good idea, because my dough ended up being super wet and sticky, and very hard to work with. So, if you’re attempting this recipe, learn from my mistake, and follow the recipe, exactly, and do let me know how it turns out.
Blackberry Scones with Peach Icing (makes 8 scones)
Adapted from Cave Cibum, originally from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
For the scone:
- 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, frozen, plus extra for melting (about 2 Tbsp)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp freshly grated orange zest (about half a large orange)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup milk*
- 1/3 cup sour cream*
* I made this recipe twice, and both times I ended up with a dough that’s too wet, so I modified the amount of milk and sour cream slightly. The original Test Kitchen recipe calls for 1/2 cup of both milk and sour cream. I’m suggesting to put a tad less, if you think your dough ends up being too dry, then you can add a bit more milk and sour cream as needed. This ain’t rocket science, know what I mean?
For the peach icing:
- 1 tbsp fresh peach juice
- 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
To make the scones:
On the large holes of a box grater, grate the butter into a small bowl. Once grated, place butter back into the freezer.
For full disclosure, I didn’t grate my butter. I know how to work quickly with my hands, and I’ve been using my fingers and sometimes a fork to cut butter into the flour for all the other scone recipes I’ve done, and they all work fine. I think grating the butter is just an extra precaution, to ensure the butter stay extra cold, I didn’t think it necessary, but next time I make this recipe, I’ll try grating the butter to see if it’ll make a huge difference in the end product.
Place berries in a bowl and set in the freezer - they do not need to freeze, just get sufficiently chilled.
Preheat oven to 425 ° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, salt, and baking soda. Add in the grated butter and lightly toss until the butter is evenly coated. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and sour cream, then add to the flour mixture. Fold in with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Turn out dough onto a well floured board. Lightly knead the dough until it just pulls together, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky. Pat the dough into a 12-inch square, then fold the top third and bottom third of the dough over the middle (like folding a letter). Then fold up the sides of the dough over the middle to form a square. Place dough on a floured plate, then place in the freezer for about 5 minutes so the butter doesn’t soften too much.
Place the dough back on the floured board, and roll out to a 12-inch square.
Arrange berries on top of the dough and lightly press them in.
This is where my scones began to fall apart, right after I added the blackberries. The berries made the my dough really wet and unworkable. I tried to fix the situation by sticking the web dough on the freezer for 10 minutes, which helped a little. So at that point, I wasn’t able to follow the rest of the original recipe. I basically tried to flattened out the dough into a disk, and finally managed to cut it into 8 wedges.
But if you want to follow the real Test Kitchen recipe, this is what you should have done:
Roll the dough up into a tight log, pinching the ends and seam shut. Flatten the log into a 12x4-inch rectangle. Cut the dough lengthwise into 4 even rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles (8 total).
Place scones on baking sheet, brush with egg wash made by stirring an egg yolk with half tablespoon of water, and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops of the scones are golden brown.
To make the peach icing:
Whisk the sugar and peach juice until the mixture is opaque and smooth. Once scones are done and completely cooled, use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cooled scones. Allow to set for 10 minutes.
Scones can be stored on an air-tight container for up to 2 days, unglazed ones can be frozen up to 5 days. I defrosted a frozen one a few days after, and added a tiny dollop of some home-made Crème Fraîche. Delicious!
Read the story behind the recipe: Scone Crit!