Scones are one of the most versatile baked goods around. They can be sweet or savory and filled with pretty much any combination of flavorings you can think of. This is my version of a cinnamon quick bread, adapted from my recipe for Royal Wedding Scones here in the archives. The layering technique is inspired by Joy the Baker's Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread.
There are many different ways you could play with this recipe. Next time, I'd try some espresso powder in the streusel. The zest of an orange would be a nice addition to the dough. You could omit the currants and use chocolate chips. Some chopped apples nestled in with the streusel would be very good. You see, it's endless.
The layering technique is a little time consuming, but totally fun. It's almost like building a lasagna outside of the pan. And any which way you end up layering, it'll still taste good. So don't sweat it.
If you prefer, this recipe can be prepared like more traditional scones. Just divide the dough in two pieces, pat one piece into a 6-inch circle, brush with cream, and sprinkle with streusel. Pat the second piece of dough into a 6-inch circle, brush with cream, place on top of the first round, cream-side down. (You are essentially making a streusel sandwich.) Cut into 8 triangles. Brush scones with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425° F for about 20 minutes. —mrslarkin
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Mrslarkin is famous for her scones. And soon, she’ll be famous for her scone bread, too.
WHAT: A miraculous hybrid of monkey bread, pull-apart bread, and scones.
HOW: Make a scone dough and cut it into 12 rectangular pieces. Brush each with cream and then make a sandwich tower by layering the scone pieces with cinnamon streusel. Flip your tower on its side and transfer to a loaf pan. Bake until you just can’t wait any longer (about an hour).
WHY WE LOVE IT: When this came out of the oven in our test kitchen, the Food52 staff descended on it like vultures. Within 5 minutes, it was gone. Some of us liked the crunchy, crusty ends, while others preferred the soft, warm middle. We went at it with our hands, but you could also slice it for a holiday brunch. —The Editors
granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top of loaf
chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
cinnamon, cocoa powder, or espresso powder
heavy cream, plus more for brushing on dough
1 1/2 teaspoons
pure vanilla extract
In This Recipe
For the streusel: Mix together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in the cream to make a streusel. This is not a chunky streusel. It's more of a sugary blend. Set aside.
For the bread: Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a parchment-lined 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade and pulse to combine.
Add the butter and pulse about 8 or so times. You want to retain some small pieces of butter. Don’t blitz the heck out of it. Transfer the flour mixture to a large mixing bowl. If you've got some really large butter lumps, just squish them with the back of a fork.
In a small bowl, mix the currants with the cinnamon. Add to the flour/butter mixture, and toss lightly.
In a large measuring cup, place the heavy cream, egg, and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into flour mixture. With a dinner fork, fold the wet ingredients into the dry as you gradually turn the bowl. It’s a folding motion you’re shooting for, not a stirring motion. When dough begins to gather, use a plastic bowl scraper to gently knead the dough into a ball shape. If there is still a lot of loose flour in the bottom of the bowl, drizzle in a bit more cream, a teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
Transfer the dough ball to a generously floured board. Pat dough into a 6- by 14-inch rectangle.
Now the fun part. Please refer to the above photos for reference. Cut the rectangle into 12 equal pieces. Brush with cream. Sprinkle streusel on 6 pieces. Flip a non-streuseled piece onto a streuseled piece and continue to build the layers. It’s easiest to transfer the layers to the pan in sections. Lay them in the pan, like a sideways lasagna. Continue layering until fully assembled. Brush top with cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake on the center rack for about 50 minutes. For the last 10 minutes, I cover my loaf with aluminum foil, as I don't want the top to scorch. Loaf is done when a cake tester comes out clean. Make sure to poke it into a cake layer and not a streusel layer.
Let cool 15 minutes. I like this bread best served warm. Either rip the bread apart with your hands or cut slices long-ways to see the pretty striations of streusel.
Alternatively, if the sideways lasagna technique is too fussy for you, build your scone bread in the pan one large layer at a time, like a traditional lasagna. So instead of 12 pieces, cut your rectangle of dough into 6 pieces, and proceed with the layering.