Make Ahead

Cook's Illustrated Blueberry Scones

May 23, 2015
5 Ratings
Photo by Cook's Illustrated | July/August 2007
Author Notes

Several Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen recipes are the definition of "Genius" in my opinion. These scones are no exception. There is a bit of work involved relative to other scone/biscuit preparations, but they serve a purpose. Light, flaky and endlessly versatile (I've subbed in sweet ingredients such as tart cherries and chocolate and savory like ham and gruyere), its my undisputed summer brunch recipe. —PieceOfLayerCake

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Makes 8 hefty scones
Ingredients
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
  • 7 1/2 ounces blueberries (approx. 1 ½ c.)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, cold
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, cold
  • 10 ounces unbleached, all-purpose flour (approx. 2 c.; plus more for work surface)
  • 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar (approx. ½ c.) + 1 T. for finishing
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 ℉. Stash the blueberries in the freezer to firm slightly while preparing the scones. Grate 8 T. of the frozen butter on the large holes of a box grater, working quickly as to not soften it. Keep in the freezer until ready to use. Melt the remaining 2 T. of butter and set aside. Whisk together the milk and sour cream in a separate bowl and refrigerate until needed. Whisk the flour, ½ c./3 ½ oz. of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest in a medium bowl. Add the frozen butter and quickly toss with fingers until thoroughly coated. The butter and flour should be incorporated, but the butter should still be whole and frozen. It's a fussy procedure, but it is essential to the final "flake factor", if you will.
  2. Add the chilled milk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with clean hands until just combined. Transfer the dough to a liberally floured work surface. Lightly dust the dough with flour and with floured hands, knead 6 - 8 times until it just holds together in a ragged ball, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. With a floured rolling pin (or a handy wine bottle), roll the dough into an approximate 12" square. Fold the dough, like a business layer, into thirds using a bench scraper to assist in releasing the dough from the work surface. Then, form an approximate 4" square by folding the ends into the middle, into thirds again. Transfer dough to a lightly floured plate (or a paper plate, like I use) and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the dough back to your work surface, continuing to flour as needed, and roll into an approximate 12" square again. The dimensions aren't really important, but you will need enough surface area for the next step: Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the surface of dough, then press down lightly to just merely embed them into the dough. Using a bench scraper, lift one end of the dough, beginning to roll into a tight log. Lay, seam-side down, and press the log into a 12" by 4" rectangle. Using a sharp, floured knife (or even the bench scraper you've been using), cut the rectangle lengthwise into 4 equal portions. Cut each square in half diagonally to end up with 8 triangles, transferring each to a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  4. *Note: After shaping and cutting, the scones can be frozen and transferred to a ziplock freezer bag for long term storage. Bake from frozen, adding 3 - 5 minutes onto the total baking time.
  5. Brush each triangle top with the reserved melted butter and sprinkle evenly with the remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18 - 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alex Langran
    Alex Langran
  • Penny Cuevas
    Penny Cuevas
  • PieceOfLayerCake
    PieceOfLayerCake
  • xiaobao12
    xiaobao12

11 Reviews

Alex L. April 29, 2020
I feel kind of dumb but the folding instructions are difficult for me to follow. What is a "business layer"? Is the folding crucial to the recipe's success?
 
Ruth R. May 25, 2020
Hi, Alex. It’s not a dumb question at all because the term is a bit different. It’s the same as “business letter” folding - folded into thirds. And, yes, the folding is extremely important because it creates extra dough layers and flakiness! Best wishes to you in making these! I’m trying them soon. They sound AWESOME. 😊
 
Penny C. October 24, 2019
I have made these again and again since 2015 every year for my husband’s birthday (thanks giving time) and also for Christmas, they are always a hit!! I also make them in cranberry orange and white chocolate apricot (for my mother in law since She’s allergic to berries) and they come out great!! Super easy recipe and super easy to make. I make them about 3 times per year so you totally get the hang of it. I also make them several batches at a time since the 8 yield is not enough for my big fam. Try them out, you will not regret it!!
 
xiaobao12 December 31, 2018
The original recipe uses 16 TB of butter; not 10. Also, it uses 1/2 cup of sour cream; not 1/3 cup.
 
xiaobao12 January 1, 2019
I stand corrected. It calls for 16 but uses 10 TB of butter.

The sour cream in the original is 1/2 cup though.
 
fishinwidow July 14, 2017
These were delicious! Only subs were salted butter and heavy cream instead of milk. Turned out very tender and just sweet enough. They turned out bigger than I expected, so next time I might divide them one more time, or maybe just freeze them a few minutes before baking to prevent too much spreading. Will make again and again!
 
Elizabeth March 6, 2017
The ingredient list calls for baking soda, but it's never mentioned in the step by step instructions. Hoping that leaving it out doesn't ruin them!
 
Author Comment
PieceOfLayerCake March 7, 2017
An oversight. Thank you for alerting that to me.
 
Camille September 7, 2016
Oh boy. I am anxious to try out this recipe! I like the idea of savory scones and wonder if you eliminate the sugar or just modify the quantity.
 
Author Comment
PieceOfLayerCake September 7, 2016
I wouldn't eliminate the sugar, its good for balancing flavor and aids in browning. To make these savory, I'd put 2 T. in and then leave the garnishing sugar out completely.
 
Camille September 7, 2016
Thank you for your response, it is most helpful to have that guidance.