This recipe from Martin Philip's Breaking Bread, changed the way I make scones. He advocates substituting white whole wheat flour for 100% of the all-purpose called for in the recipe, and supplementing with an additional 10% to 20% more heavy cream to supplement the hydration (Whole grain flour contains bran, which absorbs more liquid than flour milled from only the endosperm portion (the white, starchy part) of the wheat, he says.) He also taught me that the dry ingredients can and should be mixed in advance, and stored in the freezer. Chilling the dry mix serves two purposes for doughs like this one: as with storing flour in the freezer initially, it keeps whole flours fresher, and it also optimizes the temperature of the dry mix for the eventual working in of the butter, which needs to be kept cold (and unmelted). Resulting in scones so flaky and tender, you'll want to smother them in jam just to watch it seep into their crags. —Ella Quittner
(2 cups) all-purpose flour (Editor's note: see above, about swapping in whole grain flours)
(2 teaspoons) baking powder
(1/2 teaspoon) baking soda
(1/2 teaspoon) salt, fine
(1/2 teaspoon) black pepper, freshly ground
(1 teaspoon) cinnamon, freshly ground
(1/2 teaspoon) coriander, freshly ground
(1/2 teaspoon) cardamom, freshly ground
(1/4 teaspoon) cloves, freshly ground
(1/2 cup) crystallized ginger
(1/4 cup, or 4 tablespoons) butter, unsalted
(3/4 cup) heavy cream (Editor's note: plan on adding another 15-25 grams or so, if you're swapping in a whole grain flour)
(1/4 cup) brown sugar, light or dark
Coarse sugar, for garnish (optional)
In This Recipe
Prepare: Position an oven rack in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a 13x18-inch sheet pan, or line it with parchment paper. Weigh and chill the dry ingredients. Chop the crystallized ginger into pea-sized pieces. Cut the butter into 1/8-inch-thick slices and chill until use.
Mix: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the ground dry spices. (This can be done up to one week in advance—just keep the dry ingredients covered in the freezer until you're ready to use.) Add the cold butter and toss to coat with the dry ingredients. Then press the butter slices between your thumb and forefinger into small flat pieces or “leaves.” Add the chopped crystallized ginger and toss to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and brown sugar. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until the mixture is just combined. The dough should be firm and barely cohesive (some dry bits are okay).
Shape: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and fold a few times to incorporate any dry bits if necessary. Pat the dough into a circle about 1-inch thick and 7-inches across. At this point, you may chill the dough until set for easier cutting. Cut the dough into 8 pieces with a chef’s knife, cutting directly down; don’t saw, as this will interfere with the rising. Arrange the scones evenly on the sheet pan.
Bake: Brush the scones with egg wash, and sprinkle all over with turbinado sugar. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes on the top rack, rotating after 14 minutes, until they are lightly golden and firm to the touch.