I’ve been thinking a lot about scones lately. After making my lime cornmeal cream scones and rather loving them, I’ve wanted to make more scones. And I’ve also been thinking about the soul of scones. See, a lot of scones that you buy in the stores are wanna-be cakes – they’re super sweet and sickly and make my teeth ache. And yet they also manage to be rather dry and don’t really taste of anything besides the sugar.
I wanted to make a different scone. A special scone. Something that was sweet and savory and much more appropriate for breakfast than a piece of cake in disguise. I found a recipe for brown butter scones in Good to the Grain (okay, like, seriously, I LOVE this book), and decided to do some tinkering with it. I couldn’t find the teff flour the recipe originally calls for, so I subbed in whole wheat flour. I cut back on the sugar, and added in caraway seeds and dried cranberries for the sweet and savory flavor profile I wanted.
The recipe is easy – the hardest part is letting your butter get brown enough (I was convinced I was burning it, but I wasn’t). And I was really pleased with how they came out, especially how they walk the line between sweet and savory. I love the anise flavor of the caraway seeds with the tart cranberries. I loved the nutty whole wheat flour with the brown butter. I loved that they were crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. These scones are much closer to the soul of a true scone, and that’s something I really want to eat for breakfast
Caraway Cranberry Brown Butter Scones
Adapted from Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours, By Kim Boyce
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup rolled oats
2 tbs dark brown sugar
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs caraway seeds
1/2 cup heavy cream + a little more for brushing the tops of scones
2/3 cups sweetened dried cranberries
First, make your brown butter. Place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter, swirling occasionally to make sure it melts evenly. After it turns golden it will foam up and brown specks will start to form on the top of the butter – it’s the milk solids beginning to brown. You’ll want to continue browning the butter, still swirling from time to time, until the bottom of the pan is covered in brown specks. Pour the butter into a heatproof container loosely lined with a piece of parchment and place in the freezer until completely frozen solid.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
While the butter is freezing, in a medium bowl whisk together your wheat flour, all purpose flour, oats, brown sugar, sugar, baking powder, salt, and caraway seeds. Place in the food processor.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and egg until just combined.
Remove the butter from the freezer, peel off the parchment, and cut into quarter inch chunks. Add the butter cubes to the flour mixture in the food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal – about 20 seconds. Pour the flour and butter mixture back into the medium bowl and whisk in the cranberries until evenly distributed.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the cream mixture. Gently stir until the dough just comes together.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a disk 7 inches wide and 1 inch high. With a sharp kitchen knife cut the disk into 8 wedges.
Place wedges on the baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.