When it comes to scones, it’s hard to beat a perfectly made plain one, served with fresh preserves and butter (or clotted cream or whipped cream, if you prefer). But while a plain scone might epitomize the category, I have to say that they’re not really my go-to scone for a couple of reasons. First, it’s hard to find a good one, let alone to find a shop – at least here in the US – that carries them on a regular basis. Most bakeries and coffee shops stock scones that are studded with fruit, glazed with frostings or otherwise spiced up. Second, I really like the scones that come with add-ins – provided that they’re quality scones, of course.
Blueberry is my top choice, just as blueberry muffins are generally in the muffin category. When I make scones at home, I will almost always use dried berries. Fresh berries have a lot of flavor, but they also have a lot of moisture and I feel that this excess juice really interferes with the light and tender texture of the scone. Dried berries pack just as much flavor and sweetness, but in a smaller and more baker-friendly package.
The ultimate goal with a scone is to make sure it is not heavy and dense. The method for making the scones to this specification is a simple one: rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips. It’s not really necessary for the scone to be flaky in the same way that, for example, a pie crust is. This means that you don’t really need to hem and haw over whether your butter is cut in enough or too much; as long as you cube the chilled butter and mix it in halfway decently (and I’m sure you’ll do better than that!), you’re going to get a good result.
I mix the batter and drop it in dollops onto a baking sheet. They might not be as pretty as scones that are rolled out and cut, but they’re much easier and there are more peaks and valleys on top for the dusting of sugar to adhere to, anyway.
Blueberry Drop Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup milk, plus more if needed
coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add cut up butter and toss to coat. Using your finger tips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse sand. A few large bits are ok, but try not to have any pieces larger than an average pea.
Stir in dried blueberries. Add about 2/3 of the milk and stir. Add remaining milk gradually until the mixture comes together into a slightly sticky ball. Divide dough in eight even pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with a bit of coarse sugar, if desired.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until scones are a light golden color. A toothpick should come out clean, but color is a reliable indicator for these.