Mini Vanilla Scones
Inspired by the popular mini scones from Starbucks but dare I say these might be better? Well, yes, yes, they are.
Buried deep in this blog, way back to 2011, is a vanilla scone recipe. As a budding baker with not a lot of history with scones at the time, I was lured by a recipe that promised to taste just like the little vanilla scones from Starbucks that I was so fond of. Looking at my old pictures, while the recipe didn’t quite deliver in the beauty department–and that was most likely due to my inexperience–the taste came close to what I was after but I didn’t have the love-at-first-bite experience I was hoping for.
These days, with more baking experience and with hopefully a more discerning palate, the bar is set a little higher even for a simple scone…and I had a recipe to fix.
After removing an ingredient, replacing another and adjusting amounts to be aligned with the base scone recipe I’ve used in recent years, I now have a vanilla scone recipe I’m truly happy with…and dare I say they’re better than those at Starbucks? They’re rich in vanilla flavor (I like Nielsen Massey’s Madagascar bourbon vanilla bean paste), substantial but not dense or dry, sweeter because of the glaze but the recipe is fully adjustable to suit your taste. Reduce the sugar or skip the vanilla glaze and brush the tops with milk and sprinkle turbinado sugar before baking instead. These scones are mini by regular scone standards but larger and loftier than the popular coffee shop variety that inspired them.
I once thought vanilla boring but that has changed over the years. There’s nothing at all plain about these vanilla scones.
Note: I’ve shared a short video for this recipe on Instagram. Visit my page to see how to manage and shape the dough. https://www.instagram.com/lemonsandanchovies/
Mini Vanilla Scones
Inspired by the popular mini scones from Starbucks but dare I say these might be better? Why, yes, yes, they are.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (See Note)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- 2/3 cup half and half (or your milk of choice)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
Glaze (Optional, See Note)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons half and half (or your milk of choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Preheat your oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and kosher salt. Add the cubed butter and cut into the flour using a pastry blender. Alternatively, you can toss the butter into the flour and pinch the butter cubes into slivers with your fingers.
Stir the vanilla bean paste into the half and half and carefully add the mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients (you can hold back the last tablespoon of milk to see how much liquid your flour will absorb). Stir with a spatula but be careful not to handle too much. Depending on your flour, you may need to add more liquid. Some dry patches of dough is okay and you don't want a wet dough. If you need to add more liquid, add one tablespoon at a time.
When the dough is mostly coming together, turn it out on a floured surface. Press and pat it into a square and fold in thirds using a bench scraper to lift one side of the dough and press it onto the top. Press down again and fold in thirds again. Lightly pat down into a roughly nine by six inch rectangle. Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the dough in half lengthwise and each half in thirds. You should have six squares. Divide each square in half to get 12 wedges about two inches long and 1/2 – 3/4 inch in height.
You can brush the tops with milk before baking for more golden scones (or if you're not planning to use the glaze. See note below). Otherwise, transfer each wedge onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake the scones for 13-14 minutes or until they're puffed and lightly colored at the edges.
Allow the scones to cool for a few minutes before adding the glaze if using.
Glaze: stir two tablespoons of milk into the powdered sugar along with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. If the glaze is too thick, add the last tablespoon of milk.
Sugar: You can reduce to 1/3 cup if you prefer.
Substitute for Glaze: If you choose not to add the glaze, you can brush the top of the scones with milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar before baking. This will give them added texture and a more golden color.