Blueberry-Buttermilk Scones with Vanilla Butter

8 Jul

I can’t help it; I adore Will and Kate.  So in honor of British Royalty coming to my little corner of the world today, I decided we should celebrate with something distinctly British yet with an American  spin on it.  What better than Blueberry-Buttermilk Scones?

Scones are a traditional British accompaniment to tea time, although British scones are actually closer to a tender cream biscuit here in America.  American scones are more crumbly and rustic and tend to be more a breakfast food than a midday nibble with tea (and scones from places like Starbucks should not even be counted as scones…they could be used as bricks instead because they’re cloyingly sweet, hard as rocks and dry as sand).

Blueberries, of course, are native to North America and buttermilk…well, buttermilk just makes me think of good old fashioned Southern cooking–buttermilk pancakes, buttermilk biscuits, fried chicken first soaked in buttermilk…the list goes on.  Anyway, these scones are quick to throw together, quick to bake, and great for a last minute special breakfast item, especially when you add vanilla butter to the table to go with them!  Fit for a queen…

Blueberry-Buttermilk Scones with Vanilla Butter
Scones adapted from Martha Stewart Living June 2011
makes 8 large scones

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar + extra for sprinkling later
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 pint blueberries (your standard small supermarket container for blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg lightly beaten for egg wash
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 stick butter (salted or unsalted, your preference), softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or more, depending on your preference)
  1. Pull out that 1/2 stick of butter now so that it can warm up to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Now, there are two ways of doing this: the traditional way will require more muscle, the short-cut will require washing an extra bowl in the end.  Traditional way: Whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter, or two forks, until mixture has the texture of coarse cornmeal.  Personally, I am too impatient to cut butter into dry ingredients so I prefer the…Short-Cut: Pull out your food processor, add flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the processor bowl and pulse 5 times to mix the ingredients evenly.  Add the butter to the processor bowl and pulse about 10 times until the mixture has the texture of coarse cornmeal.
  3. If you used the food processor, dump the ingredients into a large mixing bowl (if you cut the butter in by hand, you can skip this step because, well, you’re already there).  Gently mix the blueberries in.
  4. Whisk together buttermilk, 1 egg, and the vanilla extract in a separate bowl. Drizzle over flour mixture, and stir lightly with a fork until dough comes together.  This will be a lumpy dough, so don’t worry about it being smooth.
  5. Turn out dough onto a work surface, and gently knead dough once or twice just to incorporate the left over flour. This will squish a few of the berries.  No big deal.  (Don’t over-knead or the scones will turn out tough!)
  6. Pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round.  With a big knife, cut the round of dough into 8 wedges.  Arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with the extra sugar. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool just a bit.
  7. While the scones are baking, in a small bowl smoosh the softened butter around with a fork to make it creamy.  Work in the vanilla bean paste with the fork.  Transfer to a pretty little serving dish.  Yes, it is that simple.
  8. Serve the scones warm with the butter on a sunny summer breakfast table!

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