Lemon has to be one of the most versatile flavors in the baker’s arsenal. It weathers any season, goes equally well with sweet and savory applications, and almost no one objects to it ~ as opposed to, say, peanut butter or mint, which are similarly all-season and balanced flavors but tend to invoke stronger opinions.
In this recipe ~ quite possibly one of my favorite scone recipes ever ~ I’ve used lemon zest and lemon extract to flavor cream scones. The scones are light and moist and they keep surprisingly well. Unlike many other scones, these can be eaten out of hand ~ they don’t really need butter or clotted cream (though, please feel free to go ahead and gild the lily; I’ll never complain).
The lemony flavor of these scones is mild. If you want to bring it up a bit, brush these with the Lemon Glaze after they’ve cooled. If you prefer a milder flavor, omit the glaze. Instead, combine two tablespoons of coarse sanding sugar (or regular granulated if that’s what you have on hand) with 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and sprinkle over the scones before baking.
Lemon Cream Scones
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream or whipping cream, plus additional for brushing
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, more as needed
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Stir lemon extract into cream and pour over dry ingredients. Mix just until dough clings together. Flour hands and lightly knead dough over a few turns just until it coheres. (You really do not want to overhandle the dough. Kneading will develop the gluten in the flour and give you tough scones.)
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll out into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter). Cut into 8 or 10 wedges or use a circular biscuit cutter to cut into rounds.
- Place scones on baking sheet, spacing them about an inch apart.
- Brush scones with cream; sprinkle with sugar if desired (do not sprinkle with sugar if you will be glazing scones). Bake for about 15 minutes, until tops and bottoms are golden.
- Let scones cool on rack. To make glaze, sift confectioner’s sugar into melted butter, a tablespoon at a time, and whisk in with a fork. When the glaze is very thick, start whisking in the lemon juice. Add additional sugar if necessary to achieve a nice drizzling consistency. I brush my glaze on with a silicone pastry brush. Allow glaze to set, then serve.
The scones are delicious served warm or at room temperature, but they should be cooled before glazing.
Makes 8 to 10 scones.
- These scones are best served on the day they are baked, but they will keep quite nicely overnight if you wrap them in waxed paper and then in foil.
- Another reason to love this recipe: no butter means no cutting in of butter ~ simply stir in the cream and you’re all set. Prep your dry ingredients in advance, seal them in an airtight container, and you have a ready-made scone mix at your disposal.
- Do try these with orange zest/extract in place of the lemon, or a combination of the two.
- If you’d like, you can stir in 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds along with the dry ingredients to make lemon-poppy scones.
- These are tender enough to use as the base for strawberry shortcakes!