It's atrocious that I don't yet have a scone recipe on this blog. I guess it's because for the longest time I've viewed scones are mere transportation for the good stuff: jam.
I've finally found a recipe worthy of my attention: delicate cream scones flavored with fresh lemon zest and ginger two ways. Not only is their make ahead feature terribly convenient, but their tender crumb and winning flavor combination bump them to the top of my breakfast baking list.
These scones are guaranteed to hold the spotlight no matter what they are accompanied with.
Thanks to Jennifer from Mama's Minuta for passing along the recipe.
Lemon-Ginger Cream Scones
Slightly adapted (but not edited) from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
12 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes and frozen
3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped and then chilled
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2/3 cup crystallized ginger, chopped fairly small
For the topping:
2 teaspoons cream
2-3 tablespoons demerara sugar
Put the chilled cubes of butter in a food processor along with the flour, sugar, baking powder, ground ginger, salt, and zest. Pulse for 10-15 seconds until there are no longer any large lumps. (Or, if you prefer, grate the butter on a box grater into the flour mixture, and combine gently with your fingers.)
Dump the mixture into a large bowl and add the crystallized ginger. Fold in the whipped cream. Knead the dough lightly, shape it into a ball, and then press it into a disk that is 6 inches in diameter and about 3/4 inches thick. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for about an hour.
After the dough has chilled (do not omit that step as the dough is very tender and will lose its shape if it is not sufficiently firm when it goes into the oven), remove it from the fridge, unwrap it, and cut it into eight wedges. Place the wedges on a lightly greased baking sheet, brush the tops with cream and sprinkle liberally with sugar. Bake the scones at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Any leftover scones should be stored in a tightly sealed plastic bag in the freezer; to thaw, remove them from the bag and set on a plate.
Do ahead: Rose suggests flash-freezing the cut, raw scones and then storing them in a plastic bag in the freezer. When ready to bake, simply place them on the baking sheets, brush with cream, sprinkle with sugar, and bake. Add 5-7 minutes to the baking time.
I tried this with excellent success and will now carry a secret stash of frozen scones in my freezer for impromptu afternoon tea.