Scone of the Month: Topping blueberries with streusel

Give me coffeecake — or anything streusel — if I’m given a choice of cakes. Granted, I don’t usually make coffeecake as my birthday cake (it’s not “festive” enough), but if there was only one cake I could have, that would be it.

Buttery vanilla cake, laced with layers of cinnamon-y filling and topped with more streusel providing a crumb top…it can’t be beat! So I was excited to find a recipe for coffeecake scones, not only topped with streusel, but bursting with blueberries. Perfect for summer. This recipe comes from a delightful little book called “Simply Scones,” by Leslie Weiner and Barbara Albright.  Nearly every recipe I’ve tried from this cookbook not only provides fun twists on scones, but is irresistibly delicious. 

Right now, blueberries are in season, with good prices for large containers (two pints). The nice thing about blueberries, unlike other more tenuous berries, is they tend to hold up longer in the refrigerator. I used part of these blueberries in another recipe and still had enough still fresh enough for these scones.

I made my recipe backwards, that is, I made the streusel first (eager, am I?). It was a simple blend of flour, brown, sugar and cinnamon (I also added a dash of salt) blended with cold butter and mashed up until it was a clumpy consistency.

For the scones, the dry ingredients (flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt) are combined, using a pastry blender, with cold butter until the whole mixture is coarse and grainy.

Next, the wet ingredients (milk, two eggs, vanilla and lemon zest) are added to the dry. I usually “rake” with a fork for this step of mixing up scones, just to get the wet ingredients incorporated. Too much mixing will result in tough scones.

Next, I sort of gently kneaded the blueberries in to avoid any crushed berries. 

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, the dough is patted into about a 9-inch circle.

I laid a thick layer of the crumbly streusel over top of the dough circle, then pressed it in slightly so it was embedded in the dough.

With a sharp knife, I cut the scones into eight equal (well, my version of equal) wedges. It was hard not to get excited over the possibility of how delicious these plump beauties would be.

These scones, due to their size and their congregation in a solid circle,  need to bake for a longer amount of time (30 to 35 minutes) than scones separated and baked individually. I recommend not shortchanging them on this so they are baked fully through the center. These scones bloomed to even more voluminous proportions. 

Despite their size, the scones are fluffy and light, almost like cake. You could eat them with a fork, but they are sturdy enough to hold,  too, deliciously lemony with that bit of zest, and bursting with berries.  And that topping — slightly crunchy, buttery, sweet and cinnamon-y — that should probably be on anything and everything, including and especially, scones.

Blueberry Coffeecake Scones

From “Simply Scones” by Leslie Weiner and Barbara Albright

(St. Martin’s Press; 1988)

Makes 8 large scones

Scones

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or thawed, drained frozen blueberries
  • Crumb Topping
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick, oven-safe parchment paper or butter an 11-inch circle on the sheet.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture. With a pastry blender or two knives used scissor fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, vanilla and lemon peel. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. The dough will be sticky. With lightly floured hands, gently knead in the blueberries until evenly distributed.

With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into a 9-inch-diameter circle in the center of the prepared baking sheet.

To prepare the topping, in a small bowl stir together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture. With a pastry blender or two knives used scissor fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.Sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the dough to cover. Press crumb topping lightly into the dough With a serrated knife, cut circle into eight wedges. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean.

Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer the scones to the wire rack to cool. Recut the wedges, if necessary. Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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