The strawberries I’ve been buying lately have been amazing.
I only buy organic berries, so when they are plentiful, I’m all in. I love them plain and could eat a whole bowlful, but today, I took some of that bounty and made Fresh Strawberry Cream Scones. Putting fresh strawberries into scones? Honestly, it was a revelation. Seems silly, but it was. I’ve used them in pancakes, but mostly, we eat them fresh on their own, in fruit salads and on top of pancakes or shortcakes. I don’t usually think of them when I’m baking.
I’ve made lots of different kinds of scones, which I eventually plan to share, but adding fresh strawberries wasn’t on my radar. My friend texted me a picture of strawberry scones she made last summer and I thought, with all of the scones I’ve made, why have I not made a strawberry scone??? It was the same kind of revelation I had when I made Strawberry Cake. I didn’t think of it until my son asked me to make it as part of his birthday cake, but wow! Strawberry Cake and Fresh Strawberry Cream Scones…we had clearly been missing out.
This recipe is based on my Favorite Cinnamon Scone recipe, but I made a few adjustments. If you read that post, you’ll know that scones were one of my obsessions to perfect. At the time, I wanted a scone that was dense and rich, a “short” scone, with a high ratio of butter to flour. That’s perfect for a cinnamon scone. I’ve used that recipe for many different variations including the Iced Vanilla Sconuts, which really are just vanilla bean scones masquerading as doughnuts.
Inspired by my friend, I tried that recipe with fresh strawberries in it. It was DELICIOUS! It tasted like a strawberry shortcake but in scone form. I made them that way two or three times. My family loved them, they were dense, buttery, rich and full of strawberry flavor. For me, though? While I thought they were terrific, I wanted a slightly different texture.
The moisture of the strawberries plus the richness of butter and cream was a bit too much for me. Don’t get me wrong, they were great, they’d get rave reviews if you made them, but I wanted a bit more loft in the batter for the berries to settle into.
I thought about switching the cream out for another type of milk, but I really wanted to keep the cream for the berries. So, I decided to swap out 1/4 cup of butter for 1/4 cup of cream. I thought this switch would still keep it rich, but make it a bit lighter/loftier. (Okay, this scone is anything but light, but it’s all relative :)
Guess what? It took two years of trials to get the first scone recipe perfected, but this one? First try worked perfectly! I got the extra loft I wanted for the berries, but I maintained the richness of the scone. I’ve tried other “lofty/fluffy” type scone recipes for when I want to add berries. They’re good, but they often border on a fluffy biscuit for me. One of the reasons I love scones is because they are richer than biscuits. I love a fluffy biscuit, but I like my scones to be rich. Perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea. These deliver that beautifully.
So, what have we learned? We’ve learned that we should never forget about putting strawberries into baked goods. We’ve learned that butter and cream are a scone’s best friend and changing their proportions can change the texture. We’ve learned that great scone recipes take time to perfect, but once they are perfected, they can become mother recipes to many other scone ideas.
So, use this recipe for adding berries to your scones. Or, use the base short scone recipe I used for My Favorite Cinnamon Scones and Iced Vanilla Sconuts and add berries to it. They will both give you a delicious scone, one dense and rich, the other a bit fluffier, but still rich. You really won’t go wrong either way, but this is now my perfected scone recipe for fresh berries. No pressure, though….
I know you’ll make the right choice.
Fresh Strawberry Cream Scones
For the scone:
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 heaping cup of chopped strawberries patted dry with paper towels
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup or more of heavy cream
- extra cream for brushing
For the icing:
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-3 Tablespoons heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- Cut in butter with a pastry cutter, two knives or you can rub the butter in with your fingertips, until the mixture is crumbly and you have varied size butter chunks no larger than peas.
- Add chopped strawberries and lightly toss until berries are coated in flour mixture.
- Crack an egg in a glass measuring cup then add cream until you reach 3/4 cup. Mix with a fork until well blended.
- Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pour in the egg/cream mixture. Toss gently with a fork until you've distributed the liquid well and mixture begins to hold together a bit. Your mixture is going to seem to be too dry, but try to resist adding more liquid.
- Use your hands to gently mix/lightly knead the mixture in the bowl until it comes together. You don't want to crush your berries and you don't want to melt the butter, so if you have hot hands, try using a large spoon or a spatula to fold the mixture onto itself in between using your hands.
- Once the dough comes together with no crumbs, on a lightly floured surface, pat it into a large square or circle about 1 inch thick.
- If you find your dough has gotten too soft from handling, you can put the bowl back in the refrigerator to firm up the butter or roll, cut and place on the cookie sheet, then slide it into the refrigerator or freezer for 10 -20 minutes.
- Using a floured sharp knife, cut into 8 triangles, wedges or your desired scone shape and place on an ungreased baking sheet leaving 1-2" of space between for spreading.
- Brush tops of unbaked scones with additional cream.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden. Allow to cool and set up for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a rack to finish cooling.
- Make icing. In a medium bowl whisk together sugar, vanilla and add cream a spoonful at a time until it's thick but spreadable. Place into a zip top bag with a corner snipped off and drizzle over cooled scones. Or, just use a spoon or fork and drizzle directly from the bowl over the scones. Icing will set as it dries.
*Store at room temperature covered. I wrapped mine in foil. They are best day one and two. They reheat nicely in a toaster oven, even after being iced.
*You don't have to go crazy patting your strawberries dry. I just chopped them up and pressed them gently between paper towels to soak up excess moisture. Then I let them sit on the paper towels until I was ready for them.
*If you don't want to ice your scones, you can sprinkle with raw or coarse sugar after you brush them with cream before baking.
*If you like a sweeter scone or if you're not using icing, you could increase the sugar in the scone recipe from 1/3 to 1/2 cup.
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