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Jun 19, 2009 07:54 PM

need scone recipe - not too sweet

I have been on a quest for a great scone recipe ever since Starbucks got rid of the old unhealthy ones when the law changed here in NY. I was never able to find out where they sourced them from. I am talking about the blueberry scones with the crunchy browned outside and not too sweet inside. The scones I find are either completely dry, like a biscuit or too cakey like a muffin or a bad cake. Ideally they should have a nice crust with an interior that isn't too sweet, but not bland like a biscuit. A while back, Cooks Illustrated did a recipe with blueberries that were folded into the dough. It was good, but the crust wasn't there. I tried to search for the old Starbucks recipe, but never found it. It appears that their products differ region to region. I am not a lover of Starbucks food, but this one scone haunts me. I want to make it for Fathers Day, if I can find it.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. I use the recipe at Ocean Spray for some orange-Cranberry Scones. I add a little more baking power and a little more cream


    1. there's a comment at the bottom of this link that claims the scones turned out just like the ones at Starbucks. might be worth it to give the recipe a whirl...

      2 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        They are definitely the right shape. Hopefully they are talking about the scones that were pre "health law" and not post. Have you made them?

        1. re: doughreme

          no, sorry, i'm gluten-free so i can't...but i would have been happy to test the recipe for you if i could eat them - i love blueberry scones!

      2. I use the scone recipe published in Julia Child's Baking Book, which is actually Marion Cunningham's recipe (you can find it in Marion's breakfast cookbook, too). It's a classic buttermilk scone recipe. I find it not too sweet, and very light. Not dry or cakey, but just the right texture. The key is the cutting of the flour & butter by hand with a pastry cutter, and not over-kneading the dough. The crust is developed by brushing the scones with an egg-cream-wash before baking. The recipe does not call for fresh blueberries, but if this is the flavor you want, I might suggest gently kneading in frozen blueberries (wild blueberries are readily available) and making them that way. You could try fresh blueberries, but you would have to be gentle, as not to break them. I also make them half the size. I've added orange zest and dried cranberries to this recipe.

        I find most store-bought, even Starbuck's brand of scones to be so dry and like hockey-pucks. You'd have to slather them with jam or butter to make them edible. These are good, just on their own.

        3 Replies
        1. re: luvarugula

          >>>The key is the cutting of the flour & butter by hand with a pastry cutter, and not over-kneading the dough.<<
          that's also the key to flaky, tender biscuits.

          1. re: alkapal

            Scones are just biscuits with a British accent!

            Start with your favorite biscuit recipe, sweeten it to taste, enrich it with an egg or two, fold in some currants, and cut into wedges.

            As with biscuits there are various ways of incorporating the fat - cutting by hand or knife, grated frozen butter, heavy cream, melted butter.

            Some insist on the wedge shape, though why that should matter, I don't know. My lazy-man's approach is to pat the dough into a oven proof round pan (10" dutch oven), and score it before baking. After backing, re cut it and break out the pieces.

            I also like to make a rolled oats scone recipe from Joy of Cooking. Not super flaky or light, but tasty and a bit rustic.

            1. re: paulj

              If you want to get just a little lazier ;) Cut the scones after baking: I did these recently and instead of pesto used a caramelized onion spread in the middle. Way less fussy than cutting and re-rolling and they're deeelicious. (not the best pic sorry)

        2. This is a recipe I got from an old friend years ago, and it's excellent, it reliably makes tender, not-too-sweet scones. The secret to keeping them light is using frozen butter.

          Preheat oven to 450°.

          2 cups flour, sifted
          2 tsp baking powder
          1/4 cup sugar
          1/2 tsp salt
          3/4 cup butter, frozen
          1/2 cup (or a bit more) light cream

          Grate butter into dry ingredients.
          Add just enough cream to form a dough, mixing as little as possible, just until dough comes together.
          Place rough lumps on cookie sheet and sprinkle tops with a little sugar.
          Bake 15 minutes.

          I've only made them plain but I imagine you could add blueberries, cinnamon, or other ingredients as long as you do it quickly and don't add too much liquid.

          1. Thanks everyone. I am going to try a few of these. I am intrigued by the recipes made without fruit. I have always used something; blueberries, cranberries, etc. The Cook's Illustrated recipe recommended grating the butter and then freezing it. It was pretty good, but still, the crust wasn't flaky or slightly crunchy. Do you think it has to do with what is brushed on top? I ate one recently that tasted as if there were some type of animal fat in it. Has anyone heard of using that for a scone that isn't savory (perhaps brushing it on top)?

            1 Reply
            1. re: doughreme

              Years ago I watched a guy make Popeye's biscuits - he slathered the tops with melted butter (or margarine equivalent). But I don't recall whether it was before or after baking.

              Anyways, fat is the way to go if you want crispness.

              I noted in another thread that a Joy of Cooking recipe for waffles calls for 4-16T of melted butter. The 16T amount produced the richest, crispest waffle. Same would apply to biscuits and scones.