Scones are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They’re one of my favorite baked goods. If you think that you don’t like scones, likely, you have never had one fresh from the oven.
I love sweets in all their forms. But I have a grievance with the recipe business.
I spent many years cooking for just myself or me and one other. The problem is that baking recipes usually make enough food for a large family or a small party. Single people don’t need two dozen cookies hanging around, tempting us to finish the plate.
I spent a long time in restaurant kitchens eating the freshest baked goods I could get my hands on. I have scoffed at two-day-old cookies because I have eaten too many fresh out of the oven.
Why do I have to make a dozen of something to be baking at home?
I’m going to solve part of my problem with a scone recipe.
The Limiting Factor
The only good reason I have found to make a certain number of cookies is that it’s hard to cut an egg in half. However, I have figured this out too. Break the egg in half, beat it, and then divide the beaten egg in half. Then I give the leftover half egg to my dog.
Other baking recipes are limited by the pan you need to bake in. A standard 9x13 inch pan makes more brownies than one person needs.
But for this scone recipe, there are no eggs, any pan will do, and its simple ingredients are easy to put together in one bowl.
Cream scones are easier to make than butter scones, and they have a cake-like texture.
In this scone recipe, the cream replaces two ingredients, butter, and milk. In a regular scone recipe, the butter needs to be cut into the flour first, which adds a step and an ingredient.
By starting with a cream scone recipe, we have simplified the method on both fronts. If you don’t have cream, you can switch the recipe to use butter and milk, with these tips from King Arthur Flour.
Fruit gives flavor and texture to the scone. I recommend only using dried fruit for scones because the moisture from the fruit changes the texture. And chop the dried fruit into tiny pieces. Try cutting up raisins. When they are cut, they don’t plump when you cook them. Cut up a few pieces of dried apricots or apples to make the two tablespoons.
For a simpler recipe, omit the fruit and add only vanilla extract or lemon zest.
Cream Scones for Two (adapted from the King Arthur Flour Cream Scone Recipe)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons chopped dried fruit (optional)
- cream and sugar for topping*
Preheat the oven to 425 °F. In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar, then mix with a fork. Pour in the cream, vanilla extract, or lemon zest and dried fruit if using. Mix with a fork just until the dough comes together. Place the dough onto a floured counter and shape into a ball, then flatten into a disc about 1 inch tall and 4.5 inches across. Brush the disc with a few drops of cream and sprinkle with sugar (see note below). Cut the disc into quarters, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 14–15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and eat.
*I use the cream that pools on the bottom of the measuring cup after adding it to the dough. Just pour the few drops on the dough and spread them with your finger.
Baking for Small Families
Don’t stop baking because you don’t have enough people in your household to bake for. Many easy recipes can be scaled down so that when you eat, you can have food fresh from the oven.
Understanding the limitations of the recipe will let you create easy treats for yourself and your family.
Julie Moreno is a chef and writer, now trying to get more people to cook their own food and understand where it comes from. She lives in the middle of California, where she’s learning to landscape with fruits and vegetables. Find her on her blog Food Demystified, Twitter @juliehouse, and Facebook @fooddemystified