For a long time, I always went to the bodega on West 9th Street, a few feet off of Avenue of the Americas. It’s Korean-owned, and a prim, unsmiling woman ruled the roost. I saw her give a few customers the business, especially the louder, rowdy types. The day I said I’d like to purchase a lighter, she looked at me disdainfully; surely I was up to no good. She’d often burst into song—Christian hymns, always—while I was browsing the aisles in search of Fig Newtons, which I get a particular hankering for twice a year, or standing on tiptoes to reach the paper towel NO ONE COULD POSSIBLY REACH but how could you interrupt the religious moment? Every once in a while, I’d get her to crack a smile—just barely. One day, she disappeared. Seems she retired. Her colleague who ran the bodega a few blocks away and would stop by to visit sometimes for a chat took her place at the counter. I stopped going to that bodega—there’s a larger one closer to my apartment that consistently has things I realize I’m missing in the middle of recipe-testing, so it’s become my go-to (it has a better selection of bodega flowers too). But I decided to return to my first West Village bodega for these scones.
I thought I’d use ground Nillas in the dough—until I discovered that they don’t have vanilla in them, or butter. Then I remembered the overlooked Lorna Doone—but there wasn’t a box to be found, and subsequent online research has revealed that despite its being called shortbread, NO BUTTER in there either. What the bodega did have was Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread, even better. So we’ve got those cookies, and then, of course, the defining “cookies ‘n cream” sandwiches, Oreos! In the cream department, there’s the usual heavy whipping stuff you splash into the dough for—ahem—cream scones, and cream cheese. There’s also butter. You gotta have butter. What there isn’t much of is sugar. I don’t like my scones real sweet, and you’ve already got enough from the cookies. —chardrucks
8 large scones
heavy cream, plus more for brushing
2 1/2 cups
all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
8-pack of Walkers Pure Butter Shortbread fingers, finely blitzed into crumbs (1 cup, packed)
unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
(1/2 regular pack) Philly cream cheese
broken Oreo cookies (about 1 cup)
In This Recipe
Heat the oven to 375° F with a rack placed in the middle
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, shortbread crumbs, sugar baking powder, and salt.
Dump the chilled butter and, in chunks, the cream cheese, into the bowl with the dry ingredients and, with your fingers, toss the cubes to coat. Using your fingertips, break the butter and cream cheese up and rub it into the ingredients to incorporate until you get what resembles a coarse meal.
Pour in the vanilla-flavored cream and, using a fork, work it into the dry ingredients, just until the dough comes together. (If it looks dry, add a bit more heavy cream as needed.) Add the oreo pieces and with your hands, gently knead the dough in the bowl to integrate the mix-ins and smooth it out. Make sure any remaining dry ingredients stuck to the bottom of the bowl have been worked in and the liquid is thoroughly incorporated. The dough should be wet and sticky. Don’t overwork it.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a 1½-inch-thick block. Using a bench scraper, slice it into four 3½-inch squares and then cut each square on the diagonal, forming two triangles per square. Brush with cream.
Bake the scones until their tops are golden and cooked through (about 25 minutes). Let them sit on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve them with tea, coffee, cocoa or, heartily recommended, an ice-cold glass of milk.