Make Ahead

Seasonal Buttermilk Scones

November 16, 2014
1 Ratings
  • Makes 4
Author Notes

This is my favorite scone recipe, and I adjust the flavorings based on what's available. I've done ginger-rhubarb in Spring, lemon-blueberry in Summer, and in this particular late-Fall version, cranberry-vanilla. With a short ingredient list to remember and no need to crack open an egg, you'll be assembling them in your sleep. Or, do what I do: freeze the dough ahead, take it out while the oven preheats, bake, adding a little extra time. Then go back to bed for 25 minutes, letting the smell of buttery goodness rouse you to the oven. Or, just get ready for your day...or round up the kids...the choice is yours. The original basic measures stem from a Nancy Silverton recipe. I've reduced the yield greatly and changed up the flavors. Feel free to double if needed. I like to let them cool thoroughly and bake them until their tops get nicely but not overly, browned. —Two Trays Kitchen

What You'll Need
  • 120 grams flour (unbleached all purpose- OR- I often do 100 grams all purpose, 20 grams spelt flour)
  • 30 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 55 grams chilled, good butter, unsalted
  • 60 (1/4 c) grams well shaken buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • 50 grams fresh cranberries, large ones chopped
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh orange juice
  1. Rough chop the cranberries and mix pinch of the sugar called for, into them. Let them hang out in a bowl. Measure your butter, slice it into cubes, and set into the freezer. Measure sugar and orange zest, and with your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar. In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together flour(s), orange sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Stir vanilla into buttermilk. Set in the fridge.
  2. Drop the butter into the flour mix and whisk it up a bit. Use your fingers in a snapping motion to quickly work the butter into the flour until a texture of coarse cornmeal with some pea size chunks, remains. Add the cranberries and give it a stir. Make a well in the center, add the buttermilk all at once, and immediately begin tossing with a spatula to moisten. Clumps should be forming. Continue to toss with the spatula to get the dry bits into the mix. Add another teaspoon of buttermilk to pick up more dry bits if necessary. It does not have to form a ball yet but the mixture should be uniformly moistened and clumped. Dump it onto a work surface (I like to use parchment paper).
  3. Bring the dough into a rough mound then pat with your palm, into a rough square about a 3/4 inch thick. Using a bench scraper, or the side of the parchment, fold the dough in half over itself, and pat down again. Turn dough 90 degrees then fold over itself again, pat down so the dough is now in a square, about 4 x 5 dimensions, or 1 inch thick, even the edges and make two even, quick cuts with a sharp knife or bench scraper, creating four squares. Place on parchment lined sheet pan and set in freezer. Freeze an hour or so, then store in freezer bag.
  4. When ready to bake, heat oven to 400, rack in top third. Let scones sit on parchment lined sheet pan while oven preheats. Brush with a little buttermilk, sprinkle with extra sugar if desired.
  5. Bake about 25-30 minutes, being prepared to add 5-7 minutes if frozen. Look for nicely browned tops and bottoms, no crumbs when you insert a toothpick, and the ability to gently move a scone on the baking sheet without feeling like it's to soft to do so. Cool on a rack on the pan a few minutes, then remove the pan and cool solo on the rack, lightly covered with the parchment (this helps the insides settle). If desired, mix together OJ and powdered sugar, and drizzle on cooled scones (wait about 15 minutes). And/or, just slather them with a little honey-butter once cool enough.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jenny Russell
    Jenny Russell
  • Two Trays Kitchen
    Two Trays Kitchen
  • Joeyia
  • John

6 Reviews

Joeyia September 15, 2020
I get frustrated with my scale... and can not figure out the measurements
☹️ Sorry but which there were cups and tablespoon and teaspoons
Jenny R. December 28, 2019
These are great and easy. I didn't add the cranberries, and I definitely doubled the recipe (thanks, Diane!). I hadn't seen that it was only for 4 scones before I read the reviews. These are perfect.
John January 27, 2019
Wow, I can’t believe there’s only 1 review for this recipe. These are by far the best, and among the easiest scones I have ever made, a sentiment echoed by my lovely wife. They’re permanently in my repertoire as of this morning, and I'll be sharing this recipe across the fruited plain! Bravo and bon appetit!
Two T. January 27, 2019
So glad you liked them!
Diane November 23, 2014
I was looking for a recipe to use up buttermilk and a fresh cranberries but, didn't have eggs on hand. This one fit the bill. I doubled the recipe because I wanted to have more then four and this was perect. I omitted orange only because I didn't have any in the house, however I think the orange would add nice flavour. I also skipped the freezer step because I wanted to have them right away. They were really good! Very tender and flaky. Next time I might add a touch more sugar because I like scones to be a little sweeter. My husand said he liked just the way the were. I will make them again.
Two T. November 28, 2014
Awesome, glad you enjoyed!