Scones and biscuits are really very easy to make. You measure the dry ingredients into a bowl (or put our mix into the bowl!), cut in the butter, stir in the buttermilk, pat out the dough, and finally cut the scones or biscuits. However, to make exceptional scones or biscuits there are a few trade secrets.
- Handle the dough minimally–do not knead or over work it–or you will have very tough, stone-like scones.
- Use frozen butter–you want the butter to melt in the oven, not on your countertop or in your hands.
How to Make Scones
Grate the amount of butter called for by your recipe onto a piece of foil or parchment paper. Wrap it loosely and place it in the freezer until you are ready to make scones.
Next, measure all the dry ingredients into your bowl. Add the grated frozen butter to the bowl, and then cut the butter in with a pastry cutter.
When the butter is cut in, you will see nubbins the size of a fingernail.
Add the zest of a fresh orange to the bowl. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gently blend the zest evenly throughout the butter-flour mixture.
Pour 1-2T fresh orange juice into a measuring cup. Next, add sufficient buttermilk to the same measuring cup to make 1 C TOTAL volume (or whatever volume your recipe needs).
Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon or ONE hand, add about 3/4 of your total liquid to the bowl. Stir to blend.
Continue to work the liquid in gently with your spatula or hand, while adding the remaining buttermilk a little at a time. The dough should finally pull together into a ball.
**It is very normal to need a couple of tablespoons more of buttermilk–particularly if you did use frozen butter.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, and rotate it 2-3 times. This will help dust the outside of the ball of dough with flour. Divide the dough into equal portions (2 pieces if working with our retail size bags; 4 pieces if working with a commercial size bag).
Pat each piece of dough into a circle (use your hands and pat gently–do NOT use a rolling pin) approximately 1″ thick. This will give you a circle of dough with a 5-6″ diameter. Take 1/3-1/2C cranberries and pat gently onto the top of your circle of dough.
Fold the edges of the dough over (as if you were folding a burrito), and reform the circle of dough. Again, the circle will be 1″ thick, and 5-6″ in diameter. The cranberries should now be dispersed throughout the dough.
Cut the dough into wedges (4 if you want large scones, 6 or 8 for smaller scones, or use a biscuit cutter to cut circles. In either case, be sure to cut straight down through the dough with no twisting action. A sharp cutter or knife works best.
If you want to bake immediately, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the cut scones onto the parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 12-14 minutes.
To freeze your scone dough, place the cut scones directly onto a cookie sheet (parchment paper not needed), and place the cookie sheet in the freezer. Let the dough freeze at least 2 hours (and up to overnight).
Remove the frozen scones from the cookie sheet and put them in a freezer-safe bag. Label the bag with the flavor name, date made, as well as the baking temperature and time. Finally, place the bag of frozen dough back in the freezer.
To bake the frozen dough, first preheat your oven. Once the oven is hot, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. THEN get your frozen scone dough from freezer. Put the frozen dough on the cookie sheet, sprinkle with sugar if desired, and immediately place the cookie sheet in the oven.
The total baking time will be on average 3-4 minutes longer than when baking fresh dough. Your total baking time will also vary depending upon the size scone you cut. Larger scones will take longer to bake.
Serve your hot scones immediately and enjoy.