Welcome to my obsession with lemon buttermilk scones.
I’m not sure when or where my fascination with scones began. Maybe the flame was sparked while enjoying my very first high tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe. Or, it could have gradually developed at one of the many baby/bridal showers I have attended over the years.
Wherever or whenever it started, I’m thankful it did!
Although scones are a ‘all-year-round’ food, in our home, they have somehow become synonymous with Christmas. I think the most plausible reason for this is that I often bake batches for gifts to give to teachers, friends and families at Christmas. I’d love to give a plate of assorted Christmas cookies, but I don’t often have time to make multiple varieties of cookies. I’d also love to do some fancy yeast baking – like the heavenly coffee cakes that my mom makes at Christmas. But alas, a whole day (or days) committed to baking just isn’t in the cards for me right now.
Ever since I can remember, my little family of 4 has enjoyed these scones on Christmas morning with some of our homemade strawberry jam. Alongside our lemon buttermilk scones, we enjoy a plethora of other goodies including fruit salad, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, apple cider/tea/coffee. It’s an easy breakfast to pull together at 6:30 a.m. when the kids are eager to open presents.
I’m a fan of classic recipes that suit many occasions. That’s what I love about these lemon buttermilk scones. Lemon is a fantastic flavour anytime of the year. This lemon-flavoured scone also pairs easily with an assortment of different jams and is equally as enjoyable plain or naked! Oh la la!
The lemon glaze really brings these scones up a notch. I would HIGHLY suggest adding it and NOT skipping or skimping!
However, if any of you reading this detest lemons (can we still be friends?!), don’t worry! This recipe tastes magnificent if you simply skip all the lemon ingredients (i.e. don’t add the zest or juice to the scones and omit the lemon in the glaze too).
When it comes time to desserts, there are certain classic recipes that you shouldn’t mess with. THIS is one of those recipes. Please promise me the following:
You will not use anything aside from butter to make these scones!
There will be no substituting whole wheat flour for the white flour!
Only real buttermilk will be used! No milk and vinegar DIY substitute!
What I’m trying to get at here is that these scones are meant to be enjoyed as is. Please don’t muck around with a good thing! I hope they become a nice addition to your Christmas day or high tea menu too!
These scones are the perfect compliment to any holiday breakfast or high tea!
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar or cane sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest (equivalent to the zest of 1 medium to large lemon)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Egg mixture for brushing tops:
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp milk or cream
1/2 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
To make the scones:
Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare your baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Or, use a well-seasoned pizza stone or clay baking sheet. (I use my large pizza stone and they always bake up perfectly!)
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest together.
Cut the cold butter into small pieces and blend it into the flour mixture using a hand-held pastry blender. After a few minutes, the mixture should look like coarse crumbs.
Add the buttermilk and fresh lemon juice to the flour mixture and stir only until the dough starts to come together. Don’t over mix!
Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently 4-5 times, adding a light dusting of flour if needed. Then pat or roll the dough into a circle about 18 cm or 7 inches wide and about 3.5 cm (or 1.5 inches) thick. Cut the circle in half, then cut each half into 3 equal sections to give you 6 triangle-shaped scones.
Place scones on baking sheet. Make the egg wash and brush the tops of the scones before placing in the oven.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
While the scones are baking, make the icing by whisking the powdered sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the warm scones.
Leftover scones keep well at room temperatures for about 2-3 days or in the fridge for 5 days. However, I’ve never had any issues with having an abundance of leftover scones! 🙂
You can make these in a variety of sizes and shapes as you like. I’ve used a small circular cookie cutter to shape them into circles for high tea. Smaller scones may bake faster so keep your eye on the oven!
If you’d prefer to enjoy a plain scone without the lemon flavour, simply do not add any of the lemon ingredients and they will still turn our smashingly well!
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