When I went to Paris a few summers ago, I fell in love with the simple perfection of plain scones. It’s funny because in the US, we mostly do scones with all kinds of flavor combinations – which I totally love as well – but in Europe, scones seem to take on a different role as the base for all kinds of other good things, like fresh butter, homemade jam, and heavy dollops of cream. Ever since Paris, those simple scones have become one of my favorite weekend breakfasts, something easy to whip up for a lazy morning, and they always remind me of those tiny Parisian cafés that felt so cozy.
I’ve had this recipe for a while now, but somehow it got stuck in the depths of all my recipe notebooks, in one so old that I rarely open it up anymore. I went back to it this week and made these scones a few times, and every time I make them I realize all over again how comforting and perfect a freshly baked, warm, fluffy scone can be, especially when it’s topped with a pat of soft butter and some really good jam. This is the kind of food that makes me happy.
These scones are really simple to make, since they only require about 10-15 minutes of hands-on work and a few staple ingredients. They’re sort of therapeutic in their own way, to make and to eat, because they remind you of how the simplest things in life can be the best. With fall officially here, they’re the perfect treat for a cool, relaxing morning, served warm from the oven alongside a hot cup of coffee or tea. Be generous with the butter and jam too; I promise it’s worth it. :)
Simple, lightly sweet, fluffy buttermilk scones - a perfect breakfast treat or afternoon snack with a bit of butter and jam.
- 11 5/8 ounces (2 3/4 cup, spoon and level) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter, frozen and cubed
- 8 1/2 ounces (1 cup) buttermilk
- 1 egg, beaten, for brushing
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until the pieces are small and the mixture is coarse. Add the buttermilk in two parts, folding just until no liquid remains isolated in the bowl, but the dough has not yet fully come together.
- Turn the mixture out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and lightly knead into a soft dough, being careful not to overwork.* Pat into a 1" thick round and freeze for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Use the parchment to lift the dough from the baking sheet, and line baking sheet with a clean piece of parchment.
- Use a 2 1/2" round biscuit/cookie cutter to cut the dough into individual rounds. Lightly knead together remaining scraps, pat into a 1" thick circle again, and cut remaining scones. Use the last bit of scraps to form the final scone.
- Space scones apart on the prepared baking sheet and brush tops with egg. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
- These, like most scones, are best served warm the day they're made (especially with butter and jam), but any leftovers can be stored in a zip-top bag or airtight container and kept at room temperature for a few days. Scones can be reheated in the microwave for 15-20 seconds before serving.
*It will take a bit of time to bring all the dough together, but if it seems too dry to come together, you can add a bit more buttermilk.