Sour cream scones are my favorite! They are light and vanilla-infused and have a slight tang. And they are also the chameleons of the scone world. They love add-ins like fruit or chocolate and they can also change into a scrumptious savory treat by adding things like cheese and chives.
Today let’s make Sour Cream Scones! They are light and flaky and tender.
Scones sometimes get a bad rap! But they shouldn’t. If made right they are a culinary delight.
I’m making sour cream scones with a silky vanilla glaze and a healthy sprinkling of sanding sugar for that extra sweet crunch.
I always say I’m not much of a baker, but since Covid I’ve been in the kitchen more and more making easy baked treats.
WHAT ARE SCONES
Scones fall into the baking category called quick breads. That means they are quick to make because they use a chemical leaving (baking powder) and not yeast.
Here’s one thing to remember… scones are not biscuits! Biscuits have flaky layers. And they do not have a cake-like consistency.
Well, actually my scones have little layers too but they are also crumbly and moist with a craggy surface so butter and glazes and jams can puddle in them. And they have a bit of cakey feel.
It’s the way I treat the butter in the recipe that makes these scones so wonderful to eat.
Scones can be cut from the dough with round cutters, or make into triangles by forming the dough into a round “pie” and then cutting the pie into wedges. Or they can be “dropped”.
SOUR CREAM SCONE TIPS
One of the things we need to know when making sour cream scones is the sour cream will impede the rising action of the leaven.
So, I experimented with increasing the amount of baking soda and baking powder in my sour cream recipe. And the results were amazing!
The other thing you need to know is Sour Cream scones are not sweet. It’s important to add a glaze or sugar on top of the scones after they cool to add sweetness. I add both.
And they are even better when served with jam or lemon curd.
BEST SCONE TIP
My best overall scone making tip is to keep the scones cold! It’s best to refrigerate them after they are cut into triangles and before they go into the oven.
If the ingredients, and especially the butter, is not cold the scones will spread out in the oven and the texture of the scone will be ruined.
Keeping the scones cold is such an easy fix for baking perfect scones!
One tip I have read about is to refrigerate the flour in all in the refrigerator before shingling the butter into the flour.
Let’s talk about butter. The butter in the scones gives them that delicious buttery flavor but it does so much more! It gives scones lift and crumbly layers!
I think of scone dough a like like pie dough! It should not be overworked and butter should not disappear into the batter! You should be able to see butter bits or even small chunks!
I like to shingle my butter. This is a fancy way of saying I lightly squish the butter cubes between my thumb and index finger.
Doing this breaks the cubes of butter down a bit and it also creates the perfect little chunks of butter to incorporate into the scone dough.
This works like magic! When the cold butter hits the hot air of the oven the steam from the butter evaporates lifting the dough around it creating nice light crumbly layers and crags. It leaves behind the delicious butterfat and flavor!
Here’s how all the layers look when the scones come out of the oven.
Look at all that layered craggy deliciousness!
One caution, if you have very warm hands then don’t shingle your butter. You will end up with melted butter!
If your hands are hot or you don’t want to give shingling a try you can use a pastry cutter or cut the butter into the flour with two knives.
MIX DRY AND WET INGREDIENTS SEPARATELY
One very basic baking method is to mix dry ingredients together…
And then in a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients together…
And in this recipe the wet ingredients get mixed into the dry by creating a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and dumping the wet ingredients into it.
Then gently mix the ingredients together until all the flour is hydrated and forms a shaggy dough. The secret to tender scones is to NOT over mix the ingredients!
HOW TO FORM THE DOUGH
These scones could not be easier to make. I just turned out my dough onto a piece of parchment paper on my counter and formed a 6 inch round with my hands.
I wanted the crags and holes that make scones such a wonderful host for butter, glazes, and honey!
Then I cut each scone into a wedge. Just like cutting a pie!
SOUR CREAM SCONES AND ADD-INS
If you make one scone recipe sour cream scones should be it!
They are the perfect foil for all kinds of dried fruits and chocolate and nuts and candy pieces. As well as savory add-ins like bacon and onions and cheese and herbs.
Fresh fruit does not work well in this recipe. But no problem, there are so many other add-in options!
WHEN SCONES ARE BEST
Scones taste best when they are fresh. Bake them, let them cool on wire rack, glaze them and then eat them!
To eat leftover scones, it’s best to toast them on a baking sheet in the oven and serve them with butter and jam. Actually, I love to eat a scone this way!
CAN I FREEZE THE SCONES
Yes, actually this is a fabulous way to bake just what you need!
After you have cut the scones into 8 triangles they can be put on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze individually.
When they have frozen, wrap them in heavy-duty aluminum foil and slip them in a freezer bag.
Brush them with cream and bake according to the recipe directions but just a little longer.
SOUR CREAM SCONES
A light and delicious sour cream scone
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 TBS baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup full fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk or cream
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 TBS whole milk or cream
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
- sanding sugar, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 °.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the cold butter to the flour and toss to coat.
Using your thumbs and fingers shingle the butter into the flour as directed in the post.
In a smaller mixing bowl beat egg and then add the sour cream and milk or cream to the egg and whisk to combine.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the egg /sour cream mixture.
Mix using a fork until the flour is hydrated and the dough just comes together. It will be shaggy.
Turn the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and form a 6-8 inch circle. Don't overwork the dough or pat it smooth.
Cut the dough round into 8 even wedges and put them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Chill the wedges for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Bake the scones in the center of the oven for 15-20 minutes until the outside is risen and golden and the center is done.
When the scones are done cool them completely on a wire rack.
Make a glaze.
Add the confectioner's sugar, 1 TBS milk or cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
Drizzle on top of the cooled scones.
Sprinkle sanding sugar over the scones liberally.
Serve with butter and jam or lemon curd.
I hope you will give these scrumptious all-purpose scones a try! I’m making savory ones with this recipe to go with a pot roast I have planned. Doesn’t that sound yummy?