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)


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 and line a baking sheet with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Add the orange zest and the sliced strawberries. Gently toss the strawberries until they are coated in flour.
  4. Pour the cream in all at once and stir with a fork until the dough comes together. It will be wet and sticky.
  5. Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet with a large spoon, making six scones.
  6. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. of Turbinado sugar on the top of each scone.
  7. Bake until firm and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  8. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.

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Emily Paster

Emily Paster is a freelance writer and mother of two living in River Forest. She writes about food and parenting on her website, West of the Loop. Emily's print work appears frequently in Chicago Parent...