Scones might just be my favorite midday treat. This latest batch is loaded with lemon flavor whether you enjoy them plain or glazed. Which version would you prefer?
I’ll let you in on a secret. When I bake scones it means that my original baking plans have been foiled. Scones are my Plan B whenever this happens.
For the past few days I’ve fed my sourdough starter early in the morning in order to attempt a recipe for a same-day sourdough loaf but one thing or another has come up unexpectedly, requiring me to be in and out of the house, so the starter would end up waiting all day, well past its use-by window for my project by the time I could get around to it.
I’ve also wanted to bake and re-shoot some of my older lemon-based desserts in the archives but time hasn’t been my friend lately. Thankfully, these unusual circumstances that have kept me and my husband busy for the last few months seem to be winding down. Barring anymore hiccups we are hopeful that the next month will open up more time for fun things.
Though I may not have as much time on my hands I still get the itch to bake…bread or cake or even macarons. Something. Anything.
I turned on the oven Sunday night determined to finally bake something even if it wasn’t the sourdough loaf I’ve been meaning to try or an old lemon dessert from the blog. At least there would be no strict timeline to follow or a photo session to set up–just me, a handful of ingredients, my oven. My version of me time when I’m not having to think of what needs to be done on my to-do list.
These scones were the dose of baking I needed this weekend. They were never meant to be shared on the blog but I couldn’t believe that after 10 years of L+A I haven’t shared a recipe for a lemon scone before. They’re just the right amount of lemony from Meyer lemon zest and lemon juice, both in the scone and in the glaze. I usually opt out of the glaze for me and my husband but it does give the scones that extra punch and makes them look much more special than the last-minute baking project that this batch was.
The following morning I walked into the kitchen and spotted them sitting on the counter…next to a freshly-fed jar of sourdough starter. It took only a few seconds for me to decide to ditch the pile of paperwork on my desk, at least for a half hour, so I could set up that mini photo session that seemed liked so much trouble the night before. Because for a Plan B baking project these scones earn a solid A.
- Zest of two lemons (I used Meyer)
- 1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar (See Note)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 2/3-3/4 cup half and half (or whole milk)(See Note)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Turbinado or raw sugar (optional)
Lemon Glaze (Optional)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, add the granulated sugar and lemon zest and mix with your hands to release the essence of the zest and incorporate it into the sugar. Add the flour, salt and baking soda and whisk until combined. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
In a medium bowl combine the 2/3 cup half and half, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon lemon juice and pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon or a spatula until just combined. Add one tablespoon at a time of half and half if you have dry bits remaining in the bowl. Transfer onto a lightly-floured surface and form into a disk. Cut into eight wedges and transfer to the baking sheet. If you decide to use the turbinado sugar, brush the tops of the wedges with a little half and half and sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top. I like to use it for added texture.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, or until the scones are lightly golden. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooking rack. Allow to cool for a few minutes before adding the lemon glaze if you decide to use it.
Combine the powdered sugar and two tablespoons lemon juice in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Drizzle on top of the slightly-cooled scones or brush with a silicon brush.
Sugar: Even at 1/2 cup these scones aren’t very sweet but if you add the glaze you can reduce the amount to 1/3 cup.
Half and Half: Start with 2/3 cup and add one tablespoon at a time until most of the dry bits of flour have been incorporated into the dough.