I’m a Vanilla kind of girl. When it comes to food, that’s pretty literal. Vanilla is my favorite ‘flavor’ for most desserts; cookies, ice cream, cake, and as indicated by today, scones.
I think that vanilla desserts are some of my favorite because they’re clean, simple and straight to the point. There’s less to hide behind so to speak in terms of the ingredients, and it’s usually pretty easy to tell if they’ve been done right or not.
Also, vanilla flavored desserts are great for adding little pick me ups like fruit, caramel or chocolate, while still not needing those things to still taste good. V is for Vanilla AND Versatile.
I actually made these at the same time as I did last week’s Chai Spice Scones. And as much as I really like the chai spice scones with all the added spices, I still gotta say: I liked these more. The combination of the vanilla and almond was simple, but they just really did it for me.
I think I end up saying this in the recipe itself every time I make scones (or biscuits), but it bears repeating just because it really will get you the best results: freeze your butter, let the dough rest overnight, and don’t forget to trim the ends. Following those three steps will get you excellent rise and texture on your scones, and when it comes to the ones that have simple flavors, those kinds of things really make a difference.
Vanilla Almond Scones
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2/3 cup sliced almonds
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients.
Cut in the sour cream with a fork until it’s evenly distributed in large chunks.
In a small bowl, combine the beaten eggs, vanilla paste and almond extract.
Make a well in the center. Pour in the heavy cream. Use a large fork and a large rubber spatula to stir the mixture together. If it seems a little dry you may add additional heavy cream until it forms a shaggy dough.
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.)
Pat and roll the dough into a rectangle. Take the two opposite ends and fold them together like a business letter into thirds. Flip it upside down & roll it into another rectangle, sprinkling the surface with flour if it gets too sticky. Repeat the folding process two to three more times before patting it into one final rectangle.
Wrap the rectangle in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit
Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Sprinkle your work surface with flour and unwrap the scone dough out onto it. Use a bench scraper or very sharp knife to trim the edges of the rectangle. Cut the remaining dough into squares, about 2″ each.
Remove the cut scones to a baking sheet you’ve lined with parchment paper, rather close to each other (it will help them rise higher). Brush with additional heavy cream and sprinkle with almonds and coarse sugar. Place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Bake until scones are golden brown, 20-25 minutes.