Buttery Irish Scones
Seeing as St. Patrick’s Day was a few days ago, I thought I could show a little bit of spirit by giving an Irish twist on one of my all time favorite goodies to bake: the scone.
Scones are one of those Blank Canvas recipes where there are typically a lot of add-ins you can add to a base recipe to elevate it. I’ve made plenty variations on it as a classic on the blog, However, a good base recipe is also one that can stand up on its own without necessarily needing the extras. Today’s recipe is one of them.
I’ve made ‘English style’ scones before on the blog. They tend to be slightly different from American-style scones in that the flavor is not as sweet, and the add-ins are typically very sparse, such as dried currants or sultanas. From what I can tell, Irish scones aren’t tooo far away from that.
I was a little bit nervous going into this because the recipe is so basic: it’s nothing but flour, sugar, butter, milk, salt and the raising agent. There are no add-ins at all, which also meant no room to hide if they didn’t turn out very well.
Well, as it turned out, there was no fear of that.
My goodness, you guys: these are heavenly. They need absolutely nothing, primarily because of the primary ingredient in the dough: the butter. The butter makes them so rich and flavorful that I was glad I followed my instincts and decided not to add anything extra like dried fruit or zest. They honestly do not need them.
Because the butter provides most of the flavor in these scones, the better quality of butter you use, the better they are are going to taste. It’s a bit pricier than ordinary butter, but it is worth it.
Now having said that, in full disclosure, these are just about the furthest thing you should be considering partaking in if you’re on a diet or trying to count calories. But they don’t have to be an everyday thing, and everything in moderation, and blah, blah, blah, right?
If nothing else, just use the holiday as an excuse.
Buttery Irish Scones
recipe adapted from Epicurious
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 6 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups (4 sticks unsalted butter, frozen)
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
In a large bowl, combine the flour and the baking powder and stir together with a large fork. Use the large holes on a box grate to grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients. Stir together with a fork and set aside.
Combine the milk, the white sugar and the salt in a medium bowl and whisk together.
Make a well in the center of the dry-butter ingredients and add the milk mixture. Stir together with a fork, adding enough flour or milk as needed until large clumps form and the dough just comes together.
Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and pat a few times with your hands until it loosely holds together. (Don’t knead it too much or the warmth in your palms will melt the butter and cause the scones to be tough.)
Use a bench scraper or a large knife to divide dough in half. Stack one half on top of each other, then roll into another rectangle, sprinkling the surface with flour if it gets too sticky. Repeat the process two to three more times before patting it into one final rectangle. (This is a process of layering so that the scones will bake flaky).
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface.
Use a bench scraper or very sharp knife to trim the edges of the rectangle. Use a square cookie cutter, or a knife to cut the remaining dough into squares, about 2″ each.
Remove the cut scones to the baking sheet you’ve lined with parchment paper, placing them rather close to each other (it will help them rise higher). Freeze until cold, about 15 minutes.
Spray the tops of the scones with cooking spray, or brush with melted butter, sprinkle the tops with sugar and/or flakey salt, and place in oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. (You may need to cover them with foil to keep from browning too fast. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.)
Sharing at Fiesta Friday #476, cohosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.