I know I'm not the only one who does this - but one of my worst habits is failing to read recipes all the way through before I start cooking. Especially if it's something basic or familiar. Like these scones, for example. I figured, "Hey, they're scones! I'll whip them up before bed, then freeze them overnight, pop them in the oven first thing, and we'll have fresh scones for breakfast tomorrow. Easy peasy!" What I failed to realize, however, is that these scones are no ordinary scones. I should have known better based purely on the fact that they come from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery cookbook. There are multiple steps and chills, and while none of it is difficult, it is time-consuming. Lucky for me, I was able to work these in in-between middle of the night feedings, and it wasn't so bad. And when we woke up Sunday morning, they were ready to be baked and enjoyed!
Worth it? Absolutely! The scones themselves were soft and tender, and rose sky-high during baking. The little pockets of honey-cinnamon butter were little bursts of flavor. And as they came out of the oven, the scones were brushed with honey butter for some extra sweetness.
There are a few interesting aspects to the recipe as well. The scones use part all-purpose flour, and part cake flour. This helps them achieve a lightness that would be present in a cake or cupcake, but the sturdiness that you expect from a scone. Typically when I make scones, the butter is cut into the flour, but not fully incorporated, so as to create a light and tender product. In this recipe, the butter is fully incorporated into the dry ingredients. Though because of the multiple chills and the cubes of honey-cinnamon butter, the scones are still light and tender. As for the multiple chills, first the honey-cinnamon butter is frozen, then cut into small cubes. After being incorporated into the scone dough, the dough is shaped into a large rectangle and chilled again. And finally, the scones are cut and frozen solid before baking. All of this results in a uniquely delicious scone. The spice of the cinnamon plays nicely off the sweetness of the cinnamon.
These were a nice treat for a Sunday morning. And since I only baked half and froze the other half, they can be a lovely treat any day of the week!
Honey Cinnamon Scones
barely adapted from Bouchon Bakery
makes 12 large scones
The ingredients are given in weight and volume below, but I highly suggest using the weight measurements, as they will produce a superior end result.
Honey-Cinnamon Butter Cubes
- 30 g (3 Tbs) all-purpose flour
- 30 g (2 1/2 Tbs) sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 30 g (about 2 Tbs) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 20 g (1 Tbs) clover honey
- 152 g (1 cup + 1 1/2 Tbs) all-purpose flour
- 304 g (2 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs) cake flour
- 12.5 g (2 1/2 tsp) baking powder
- 2.5 g (1/2 tsp) baking soda
- 91 g (1/4 cup + 3 1/2 Tbs) granulated sugar
- 227 g (8 oz) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 135 g (1/2 cup + 2 Tbs) heavy cream
- 135 g (1/2 cup + 2 Tbs) creme fraiche, sour cream, yogurt, or buttermilk
Honey Butter Glaze
- 4 Tbs melted butter
- 1 Tbs honey
For the Cinnamon-Honey Cubes: Place the flour in a medium bowl. Sift in the sugar and cinnamon and whisk to comine. Add the butter cubes, and toss to coat. Using your (clean) fingers, break up the butter until no large pieces remain. Mix in the honey using a spatula, mixing until a smooth paste forms.
Press the paste into a 4-inch square on a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and freeze until solid, at least 2 hours. this can also be prepared and frozen for up to 1 week.
When ready to make the scones, cut the butter paste into 1/4-inch cubes and chill until ready to use.
For the Scones: Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on the lowest setting for about 15-20 seconds to combine.
Add the butter and, on the lowest setting, pulse to begin incorporating it into the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to the low and mix for about 3 minutes, or until no large pieces remain.
With the mixer running, slowly pour in the cream. Add the creme fraiche (or substitute) and mix for about 30 seconds, or just until all the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough comes together around the paddle. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle, and pulse a few times to combine.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the honey-cinnamon butter cubes. They may begin to break up a bit, but that's okay. It will give the finished product a marbled look.
Dump the dough onto a lightly-floured surface, and mound the dough to form a cohesive dough. Place the dough between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, and using your hands, form it into a 7x10 inch block, smoothing the top and straightening the edges. Transfer to a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for about 30 minutes, or until the dough is firm.
Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut the block of dough lengthwise into thirds and crosswise into quarters, creating 12 square scones.
Arrange the scones on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a small space between them. Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until frozen solid, at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight (the scones can be frozen for up to 1 month).
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees for a standard oven, or 325 degrees for a convection oven. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, and arrange the scones 1-inch apart. Bake 28 to 30 minutes (standard) or 20 to 23 minutes (convection), or until the scones are cooked through and lightly golden-brown on top.
As the scones bake, whisk together the honey and melted butter. Brush the tops and sides of the scones with the honey butter as soon as you take them out of the oven. Serve.
The scones are best eaten the day they are made, but can be stored in a covered container for 1-2 days.