By Emily Paster
Blue Max Coffee makes the best scones I have ever tasted. I am never one to waste calories on inferior pastry. For example, I make regular trips to Starbucks for a Chai Tea Latte, but I haven't eaten one of their baked goods in years. But the scones at Blue Max Coffee are worth the indulgence. Huge, flaky and studded with fruit, these scones have such a devoted following that the store won't sell you more than four at a time. I especially love the mixed berry scones because of how the tartness of the fruit contrasts with the richness of the dough.
As you might imagine, I have long wanted to replicate these magic scones at home. When I noticed this morning that what was left of my farmers' market strawberries were looking a little past their prime, I decided that the moment had come to try my hand at a strawberry scones like the ones at Blue Max Coffee. (Don't forget: you should never throw away overripe fruit when you can bake with it!) As it happened, I was also expecting company in the form of my neighbor, Doug McGoldrick, a professional photographer. Doug had very kindly agreed to show me some tricks to using my new-to-me dSLR camera — the one that used to belong to my dear dad. The least I could do was offer him some freshly baked scones!
These scones don't have the flaky layers that Blue Max Coffee's scones do, but they are still delicious. They have a rich, cakey crumb and are loaded with fresh berries so that you still get that surprising hit of tartness that I love so much.
The great news about scones is that they are a quick project. A few ingredients, a quick stir and they bake up in 15 minutes. You can easily make these 30 minutes before guests arrive — be it for breakfast or for afternoon tea — and have the kitchen cleaned up and piping hot scones in a basket before the door bell rings.
Because of the berries, the dough is a wet one. Don't try to knead it or roll it out. Once you mix in the wet ingredients — okay, it's just one wet ingredient: cream — you just spoon the dough onto a prepared baking sheet. As a result, these scones won't be pretty triangles like you find at a coffee house. They are more free-form than that. But what you sacrifice in looks is more than made up for in fresh berry taste.
Coffee House Strawberry Scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 TB baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Zest of one orange
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 1/2 tsp. Turbinado sugar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the orange zest and the sliced strawberries. Gently toss the strawberries until they are coated in flour.
- Pour the cream in all at once and stir with a fork until the dough comes together. It will be wet and sticky.
- Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet with a large spoon, making six scones.
- Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. of Turbinado sugar on the top of each scone.
- Bake until firm and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.