I have a scone for you that is sure to cure your breakfast, mid-morning snack, afternoon tea, and dessert cravings. It’s lemon scented, slightly punchy, and just sweet enough to deserve a little honey or jam.
I didn’t invent the combination, but I adopted it quickly after I tried a lemon-ginger scone at a coffee shop one morning. It was flecked with lemon zest and studded with chunks of sweet and spicy candied ginger.
The scone was fantastic, but it had a hard, sugary crust on top which made my 10 a.m. snack feel like a 10 a.m. dessert. I thought it might be nice to try my own less-sugary version at home, leaving a little extra room for some blueberry or apricot jam.
After testing different proportions of flour, leavening and fat (see my sources below), I decided on the following formula: self-rising flour* and one egg to properly leaven and tenderize the scone; whole milk to hydrate and enrich the scone; and cold butter to create rich, flakey pockets in the scone. With a little bit of sugar, the candied ginger and lemon zest come together in a fresh and fluffy scone with a crunchy, toothsome exterior.
The scones taste best on the day they’re baked, but you can absolutely store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter or in the freezer. Just toast them whole right before serving, and they’ll be warm and fresh.
If you’re making the scones for a party or gathering, serve the scones with any combination of butter, jam, peanut butter and honey—or if you really want to get fancy, freshly whipped cream and lemon curd.
These scones are thick, fluffy and flakey with a bright kick from the candied ginger. They’re not too sweet, making them flexible for either breakfast or dessert.
makes 6 scones
2 cups self-rising flour*
1 stick cold unsalted butter
1/3 cup cold whole milk, plus more for brushing
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup candied ginger, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
- Preheat oven to 375° with a rack positioned at the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut the butter into 1/2″ cubes. Refrigerate immediately to keep it cold.
- Measure the milk and crack the egg into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Beat the egg and the milk together and place the cup in the refrigerator.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour*, sugar and lemon zest together.
- Remove the butter cubes from the refrigerator and place them in the bowl with the flour mixture. Toss to coat.
- Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture by gently pinching and sliding your thumbs across your index, middle and ring fingers (think of it as snapping your fingers). Do this as quickly as you can until you have a crumbly mixture of pea and oat-sized butter pieces.
- Toss the candied ginger in with the flour mixture and combine with a fork. Form a well in the center of the mixture.
- Remove the milk mixture from the refrigerator. Pour the mixture into the well and begin beating it with a fork to loosely incorporate the ingredients into a shaggy mixture.
- With the mixture still in the bowl, use the tips of your fingers and the heel of your hand to quickly knead the mixture into a soft, slightly tacky dough.
- Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured countertop and quickly pat the dough into a 6″-round by 1″-thick disc.
- Cut the dough into 6 wedges and place them on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the scones with a few drops of milk.
- Bake the scones for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.
- Cool the scones for at least 15 minutes before serving.**
*Self-rising flour is a blend of flour, leavening agents and salt.
**To keep leftovers fresh, cool the scones completely and store them in an airtight container. Freeze, if desired.
Scone Research Sources
- Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Baking Bible
- Cooks Illustrated’s Article on British and American Scones
- Miss Foodwise’s Perfect Scone recipe
- Martha Stewart’s Lemon-Ginger Scones recipe
- Joy the Baker’s Lavender Blackberry Scones recipe