Blackberry Lemon Thyme Scones for the London Olympics

27 Jul

To celebrate the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, I wanted to make an appropriately English snack. The appropriate snack was pretty obvious — tea with scones. Nevermind that they start at 7:30 p.m. It’s afternoon tea somewhere. This is the first time I’ve made scones, and I think they turned out pretty great. I’ll warn you now: It’s a sticky process. The recipe I chose is Blackberry Lemon Thyme Scones, and you can find the recipe here. I obviously used the variation rather than the original Blueberry version, but I imagine the latter is also delicious.

These are the materials. I know that it seems like a lot of ingredients, but they come together quickly. Plus it’s totally worth it. You’ll need: Flour, sugar (white for dough, raw for sprinkling), baking soda, baking powder, salt, heavy cream, buttermilk, sour cream, butter, blackberries, fresh thyme and lemon zest.

First you grate the frozen butter so that it weirdly resembles cheese. I suggest doing this as quickly as possible without grating off your fingers because it starts to melt in your hands toward the end of the stick. Then you mix together all the dry ingredients (including thyme and lemon zest) and all the dairy ingredients (except the butter obviously). After this, you mix the grated butter into the dry ingredients until all the tiny bits of butter are coated in flour. Once this is complete, add the dairy mixture into the flour mixture, and fold it together with a spatula until just combined. Do. Not. Overmix. I’ve never made scones, but the secret to a flaky and delicious pie crust is not to overmix. I assume the same principle applies here, and I hold that rule sacred. Flakiness is next to Godliness.

See this pile of dough? This is just combined. Once the dough’s combined, plop it onto a very generously floured work surface. And have a pile of flour sitting nearby because your hands will become covered in dough, and you will not want to reach your dough-covered hand into all that clean flour. This is where the recipe started to get tricky. After the dough is on the counter, form it into a ball. I had to add flour to keep it from sticking to everything it touched, but that’s okay. Once it’s a ball, flatten into a 12″ x 12″ square. I just patted it with my hands like it was pizza crust. While you’re doing this (this is important!), make sure to lift up the edges periodically and add flour underneath where it’s sticking. I didn’t do this, and it made the next part a lot harder than it had to be.

Now that it’s a big square, it’s time to fold. This is where you’ll be thankful that you generously floured the counter. Fold the dough in thirds like folding a letter to fit into an envelope. Then fold it in thirds again. You’ll end up with a 4″ x 4″ square. It’s okay if this part doesn’t go exactly perfectly. My dough stuck all over the place and ripped a few times, but it doesn’t matter.

Here is the 4″ x 4″ square. I used the blackberry container to show the scale of it. Once you’ve gotten this far, you just flatten it out again into a 12″ x 12″ square. This is why it didn’t have to be pretty. You’re just squishing it again anyway.

Now you take those beautiful blackberries and spread them evenly over the dough. Press them lightly into the dough to help them stay in place. Once this is done, sprinkle some sugar over the top to allow the berries to get nice and juicy while they cook. The next step is to roll the dough into a tight log, much like you would if you were making cinnamon rolls. Again, this part didn’t turn out particularly pretty for me. Just make sure the berries stay evenly spaced, and you’re fine.

After you have a nice roll, flatten it until it’s approximately 4″ x 12″. This just means that you should only flatten it width-wise rather than length-wise. Then cut the dough into even fourths using either a floured pastry scraper (pictured) or a big knife if you don’t have one of those. Then cut each rectangle in half diagonal to form the scone triangle.

After this, transfer the triangles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread melted butter on the top of the scones and sprinkle with sugar. I used sugar in the raw for this step. Then pop those babies in the oven, and in about 20 minutes, you’ll have beautiful and juicy scones. And for when you’re cleaning up, here’s a pro tip: Use the pastry scraper to scrape all the flour and leftover bits of dough off your workspace and into the garbage can. This means you won’t muck up a washcloth or sponge trying to get all that excess flour off the counter. This is a tip I learned a while ago after my mom caught me using a washcloth to clean flour off the counter. Whoops.

Pip pip, cheerio! I hope you enjoy these scones for the Olympics and beyond.

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