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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

~Blueberry's On Top!~ The scons that made the headlines!

Last week (Thursday the 27th) I was lucky enough to be featured on the cover of the Marquee section of  my local newspaper, the Walla Walla Union Bulletin!

(full article here)

Since it came out, the comment I've gotten most is "so...  where are MY scones?"  Makes me so happy people want to try my recipes!  After hearing this multiple times from folks in town, I'm getting down to it and updating my scone recipe here is this post!  Here we go!

~Buttermilk Blueberry Cake-Scones~

printable recipe

3 C Cake Flour
1/2 C Bakers Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon ground cardamom
Zest of 1/2 small lemon

1 Stick Cold Butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 to 3/4 C Fresh Blueberries
3/4 C Bulgarian (yogurt based) Buttermilk
2 Large Eggs, lightly whisked to break

Buttermilk, for brushing
AA Sugar for topping

                                 3" Round Biscuit Cutter
                                 Flour Sifter or Fine wire strainer
                                 Parchment-Lined Baking Pan
                                 Spray Canola Oil

Yield -  6 - 8 Scones

This recipe is an updated version of my original citron blueberry scones.  The changes I made in liquid ratios and flour type ends up yielding a very different scone.  These are a much cakier, richer scone than the previous version.  I've also added a bit more sugar for a sweeter dough but feel free to alter it to your liking.  Finally, this recipe forgoes the original citron zest for lemon zest and cardamom.  The profiles are very similar and this combo is much easier to get at the local grocery!  

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First, as always in baking, preheat your oven to 425f  If you have a convection capable oven it works even better but take 25f off the top.  Since convection ovens maintain a more even temp around the baking goods, they bake quicker so your oven needs to be slightly cooler for most things.


Convection, as a purely scientific term, describes the natural currents occurring in fluids due to temperature differentials.  This effect is one of the major modes of heat transfer in physics.
In culinary terms, convection baking describes the fan forced amplification of naturally occurring convection currents in a hot oven.

Convection currents in boiling water
Convection ovens create a gentle flow of air around the outside of baking baked goods, maintaining an even bubble of hot air around them and ensuring even heat.  As baked good cook, they absorb thermal energy from the surrounding hot air.  In a situation where this hot air is relatively motionless, the air around the food tends to cool slightly due to heat transfer.

Forced air convection currents
Active convection ovens use a fan to regularly stir up the air inside the oven to prevent this situation, decreasing both cooking time and temperature required for proper baking.  This gentle increase in air flow also prevents dramatic shifts in temperature caused by general heat loss and as well as uneven cooking "hot spots"


Now for the dry ingredients!

Combine your flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and ground cardamom in a large mixing bowl.  Take hold of your sifter and sift your dry ingredients twice.  Cake flour, since it is such a fine grind and a few other properties (gluten levels, residual moisture...) tends to want to clump up and stick.  This can leave big flour lumps but can also yield lumps of other things (like baking soda/powder) trapped and unable to be dispersed!  Best safe than sorry so sift well!  Add you lemon zest and stir with your fingers to distribute it evenly in the mix.

Just a quick note on lemon zest and cardamom.  In larger cities that little Walla Walla, you may find baked goods with Citron as a flavoring.  Since the genuine article isn't usually available in my neck of the woods, I found a little shortcut using lemon and cardamom!  The strong citrus from the lemon combined with the floral, ginger, pepper tones from the cardamom makes a great substitute that I've actually started to like more to be honest...  Good thing also that these two things are pretty easy to find in most grocery stores!


Citron, also called Buddha-hand lemon or Octopus lemon, is a not-too-common ingredient, consisting of the zest of the Citrus Medica Sarcodactylis fruiting body.  The fruit itself is a fingered citrus with a fairly solid white pith interior and a very small segmented section.

In ancient times, the citron fruit and sometimes leaves were used to attempt to treat many ailments from digestive troubles to low grade pulmonary disorders like chest congestion and cough.  The essential oils derived from zest itself were thought to act as a powerful antibiotic and when mixed with wine, an antidote to various poisons.

A 17th Century Chinese bamboo carving of a fingered Citron fruit
Today the citron is used mainly as a flavoring in many things from jams and jellies to cakes and even certain types infused sweet teas.  The rind itself is also commonly candied in syrup or pickled for preserving.


Now for the berries!  If you're using frozen berries, thaw them over night in the fridge.  Frozen berries work just fine for recipes like this one, just be careful keep them from getting to beat up...  If you break too many of the skins, much of the juice will leak out into the surrounding dough.  This can actually give you a drier and undercooked scone...  Odd but true.

Rinse your berries gently and add them to your dry ingredients, again being careful to avoid smashing them up.  The gentle rinse allows the berries to get a thin coating of flour and butter and helps them hold in their moisture while they bake!

In small mixing bowl crack your eggs and give them a quick whisk to break them up.  Add your buttermilk and whisk again to bring the mixture together.  Working with a rubber spatula, make a good sized crater in you dry ingredients and pour in the liquid.  Mix gently by tossing dry ingredients from the edges into the center with either the spatula or your fingers if you like!  You should have a thick, gluey batter much like thick oatmeal.  If its too thin or thick, add a bit more cake flour or buttermilk until it gets just how you like it.  Get out your sheet pan and parchment and get ready to shape your scones!

To form your scones, grease your 3" biscuit cutter and place it on your parchment line baking sheet.  Fill the ring about 3/4 full of scone batter and tamp it slightly to shape the scone.  Give the ring a good smack with your hand then lift it to release the scone.  Repeat.

Brush your scones with just a bit of buttermilk and top them with coarse grain sugar (AA.)  Bake the scones 12 - 15 minutes until they're golden and lightly crisped on top, slightly darker around the bottom edges.  Cool your scones on a wire rack and serve warm with fresh coffee or tea!

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These little guys have really become my go to breakfast baked good!  They take only about 25 minutes total and are very simple in the way of ingredients.  The buttermilk base reduces the overall fat content, keeping them fluffy as well as adding plenty of rich flavor.  The lemon and blueberries combine with the citron for a great spicy sweet complex flavor but just like always, feel free to change it up with cranberries, orange zest, chai spices, currents, nuts...  So many options and still so much time to mess with them and figure out whats what!  Have fun experimenting, everyone!