The easiest and most melt-in-your-mouth delicious scones ever! These easy sugar top scones can be made ahead and frozen (unbaked) for fuss-free entertaining too!
Sadly, my siblings are spread all over this country so we don't get to see each other nearly as often as we'd like. So when I extended an invitation a while back to all 5 of my sisters to spend a long weekend at our home here in North Carolina, I was thrilled when everyone responded affirmatively. The get together took place this past weekend and was a delightful time of talking, laughing, reminiscing, shopping, hiking, sightseeing and (of course) lots of good eating. I made these easy sugar top scones before they came and served them one morning for breakfast. The sisters all LOVED them and I thought you would too!
If you've been following the Café for a while, you know all about our Ridiculously Easy recipes. You can just skip this section if you'd like, as you've probably heard it all before. But we have lots of new readers every day so this explanation is for their benefit.
We love Ridiculously Easy recipes here at The Café but only certain recipes fall into this category. In fact, there are some strict guidelines a recipe must include to earn this prestigious moniker:
- A recipe that takes minimal effort and minimal hands-on time to put together. (Resting, rising or chilling time is not taken into consideration.)
- It’s also one that produces fabulous, super delicious results, ie, results that “appear” to have taken lots of time, talent, prowess and/or hard work.
- Ridiculously easy recipes have to work well on those busy days when time is short and expectations are high.
- And last, ridiculously easy recipes are perfect for entertaining, mostly because of the first two characteristics. They take the stress out of dinner parties and gatherings of families and/or friends and allow you more time to enjoy your guests. In other words, they make you look like a superstar with minimal effort on your part.
- Bottom line? They are super simple, something anyone can do. (Shhhh! We’ll keep that part our secret.)
A brilliant and super easy technique
The main thing that makes these scones ridiculously easy is the technique used to make them. Really good scones generally call for combining dry ingredients, cutting in cold butter with a pastry cutter or rubbing it, tediously, between your fingers until only tiny particles of butter remain. The liquid (usually cream or buttermilk) is then added to adhere everything together.
It's those tiny butter pieces that create the wonderful, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth texture of a good scone. I've adapted a technique from Cooks Illustrated to make this process much easier and quicker. It involves stirring together melted butter with very cold cream. When the warm butter hits the cold cream, little globules of butter will form and be suspended in the cream. Add this liquid to the dry ingredients and, VOILA! The same result as if you took the time to cut or rub the butter into the flour.
I've been using this technique for years now, starting with my Ridiculously Easy Buttermilk Biscuits, and always with great success. Café readers have loved this technique too, many of them commenting that they've had success with biscuits or scones for the first time in their life!
Sometimes simple is best
I love how these Easy Sugar Top Scones pair perfectly with a smear of butter and a spoonful of just about any jam or jelly. (We love these scones with this Overnight Raspberry Freezer Jam or this Sweet Cherry Freezer Jam, both of which can be made with frozen berries.)
That's how I served them to my sisters this past weekend along with fresh fruit and soft boiled eggs. I had to laugh when one sister started to cut one of these scones in half and another one said; "You'll be sorry you didn't take the whole thing, once you take the first bite!"
Café Tips for making these Ridiculously Easy Sugar Top Scones
- Work quickly as you prepare this recipe as scone dough does not rise as well if the dough gets too warm. If you're not baking the scones right away, refrigerate or freeze the cut scones until ready to bake.
- If your cream mixture doesn’t form the “clumps” or "globules", your cream probably wasn’t cold enough. You can stick the whole mixture in the freezer for another 5-8 minutes, then stir with a fork and you should see the clumps.
- You don’t want to overmix scone dough. You do want to make sure all of the flour at the bottom of the bowl is incorporated into the dough before turning the dough out onto the counter
- Just knead the dough a few times to fully incorporate all of the little pieces..
- You can make these scones several hours ahead of time. Just scoop them up onto your sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and pop the whole tray into the refrigerator. When ready to bake, transfer to the oven and bake as directed. They will take a minute or two longer to bake.
- You can also make these Easy Sugar Top Scones and freeze them, unbaked. Pull as many as you want out of the freezer and bake as directed, adding about 3-5 minutes extra to the total baking time. You want to look for a pretty golden brown color.
- This recipe calls for Turbinado or Demerara sugar. They are coarse-grained sugars used mostly for giving a crunchy texture to baked goods. You can find both of these sugars at most grocery stores in the regular sugar area. Sometimes it's also called "raw" sugar.
- The height of your scones will depend on how large you form your circle of dough. A smaller circle will yield smaller but taller scones. A larger circle will yield larger scones with less height. I like to make a circle approximately 7 inches in diameter. This yields a nice size scone for serving with jam and butter.
- This recipe calls for lining a sheet pan with parchment paper. This is optional but is nice for easy cleanup. I love these pre-cut parchment paper sheets. They come in a flat box for easy storage, are perfect for cookies, scones, biscuits, cake, etc. and a box will last forever.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear other’s results and ideas for variations.
- 1 cup heavy cream plus more for brushing on top of scones
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Turbinado or Demerara Sugar for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Measure 1 cup heavy cream and place in the freezer while proceeding with the recipe. (You want the cream to be in the freezer 10-15 minutes.)
Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a paper towel and heat on high for 40-60 seconds or until just melted. Set aside to cool a bit while prepping other ingredients.
Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
After heavy cream has been chilled in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, pour the butter into the cold cream, scraping the container to get all of the butter out. Stir with a fork until butter forms small clumps or globules.
Add butter/cream mixture to dry ingredients (again, scrape all of it out) and stir with rubber spatula until all flour is incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of the bowl. Don’t over mix.
Generously flour a work surface. Dump the dough onto the work surface and turn to coat all surfaces with flour. Knead on counter 5-6 times (about 30 seconds). Flip over on work surface to coat with flour then pat into a 6-8 inch circle.
Cut dough in 8 equal pie-shaped pieces. Transfer wedges onto the prepared sheet pan and brush tops with heavy cream. Sprinkle generously with Turbinado or Demerara sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature with butter and jam. Warn guests that taking a half scone is a serious mistake!
See Café Tips above in post for more detailed instructions and tips.
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