Tender Buttermilk Blueberry Scones

 Blueberry plant, Kentucky

Blueberry plant, Kentucky

Did you buy fresh blueberries at a farmers' market this weekend? Here's a recipe for making Buttermilk Blueberry scones that are tender, moist, and not too sweet, so the blueberries themselves capture the flavor spotlight. These pillowy scones sport a tiny bit of crackle on the top from a sugar sprinkle, and sometimes a bit of edge-crunch from proper light browning. Lemon zest in the dough and in the light topping intensifies the blueberry-ness nicely.

A food processor eases the preparation a bit. Of course you can mix the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers or a pastry cutter if you like, or if you and your food processor are undergoing a temporary separation -- perhaps vacation-induced. Use very cold -- even frozen -- butter for best results, no matter the mixing method.

I adapted this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. My main changes are to the add-ins and the instructions. Leftover scones are delicious toasted whole.

For the scones:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2 cups all-purpose flour ¼ cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel ¼ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 1/3 cup cold, firm butter, cut in small pieces 1 egg ½ cup buttermilk 1/2 cup firm, dry blueberries 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (toast lightly in advance and cool completely for richest flavor)

For the topping that is added before the scones go into the oven, adding a bit of crackle as the scones bake: 2 teaspoons sugar ¼ teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel 1 tablespoon buttermilk or milk

  1. In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a standard steel blade, put the flour, ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, 1 teaspoon lemon peel, baking soda, and salt. Whir together for four seconds.
  2. Add the butter. Pulse about six times, until it mixes through the flour in small bits. Lift out the blade so you can stir in the remaining ingredients by hand, or move the mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  3. In another bowl, combine the egg and ½ cup buttermilk. Mix well. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Using a fork, stir until most of the dry ingredients are moistened, but not all. (Minimal stirring and handling will keep the scone tender.)
  4. Add in the walnuts and blueberries. Stir gently to combine the dough, nuts, and berries. Stop when the mixture is barely incorporated.
  5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the rough edges of the dough in toward the center, and press to combine, using about three kneading strokes. Rotate the dough about 90 degrees and knead a couple of times, and rotate once more and knead two more strokes, or whatever it takes to get the dough into one large ball-shaped mass using the least possible handling.
  6. Pat dough out into a somewhat flat 7-inch circle. Cut into 12 wedges. Place wedges 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Combine 2 teaspoons sugar and ¼ teaspoon lemon peel. Brush wedges with 1 tablespoon buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar mixture.
  8. Bake in a 400 degree oven about 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  9. Serve warm. Makes 12 scones.

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The world is coming to visit central Kentucky this year for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. To help our visitors know more about Kentucky's food and food ways, Savoring Kentucky is rolling out 116 Savory Kentucky Bites, one for each of the 100 days before WEG begins, and 16 for the days during WEG, September 25 - October 10. Today's Savory Bite is number 47.