Jacob’s Kitchen: Scone Secrets Revealed (Project Food Blog – Challenge 7)

This post is my seventh entry for Project Food Blog, foodbuzz.com’s quest to find the next food blog star. (Click here to see my contestant profile.) In this round we were challenged to create a video cooking demonstration. Voting begins Monday, November 15, 2010. Follow me on twitter, facebook, or through my RSS feed to keep up to date with my progress in the competition. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for me in the first six rounds, I appreciate all of your support more than I can ever express!

I have always been in love with scones; there is something about them that really speaks to me. I think it’s the perfect balance that they strike between being earthy and rustic while at the same time also feeling fancier than other standard coffee shop fare. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I first attempted making my own batch at home. And let me just say, it did not go well. They were dry and crumbly, and had no real flavor to them, beyond that of any ordinary day old biscuit.

Determined to master the art of the scone, however, I spent quite some time experimenting with countless different recipes. Over the course of the next year, I tried everything; alternately making them with milk, half n’ half, cream, buttermilk, shortening, butter, and sour cream. I experimented by adding more salt, or sugar, or less salt and more baking powder. I tried adding fresh fruit to the dough, and brushing the tops of the scones with milk, or cream, egg wash, oil, or butter before baking to ensure perfect browning. In the end, I finally reached what I personally consider to be absolute scone nirvana.

Since then I have made more of these scones, in every imaginable variation, than I could ever possibly count. Scones have now become one of my signature dishes, and over the last couple of years variations of this basic recipe have walked away with a best of class award, two first place blue ribbons, and one third place white ribbon in the baked foods division at the Oregon State Fair. And, up until now, I have never shared the recipe with anyone.

Unlike many of the scones that one encounters out there in the world, my scones are moist, flaky, tender and full of fresh flavor. They can be made days or weeks in advance and baked off right before serving, which makes them absolutely perfect for entertaining. In this particular variation dried strawberries, white chocolate chips, lemon zest, and a vanilla bean glaze all harmonize together beautifully to create a flavor reminiscent of a classic strawberry shortcake.

Preparing delicious homemade scones like these doesn’t have to be daunting. A few simple techniques are all that you need to be making scones at home like a pro. It’s easy, I’ll show you how.

Variations – It’s sometimes difficult to find dried strawberries in the stores these days. What I can typically always find, however, are dried berry medleys (often including blueberries, cherries, strawberries, etc.) which would make a perfect substitution for these strawberry shortcake scones. But swap out the dried fruit and the flavorings that you add and you can create any number of different scone variations using this same basic recipe. Let your imagination run wild, the possibilities are really endless (cranberry orange, lemon, ginger, apricot or cherry almond, blueberry lemon, currant, pumpkin, rum raisin, etc.). To boost the fruit flavor in the scones even further, substitute one egg for a generous fourth of a cup of good quality jam.

Glazing Glaze the scones right when you pull them out of the oven. This way the glaze stays very thin (so they aren’t too sweet) and it easily coats the scones, locking in their moist texture, while adding a nice shine. Depending on the level of humidity on any given day you might need to make adjustments to the final glaze. You can really be casual about it; if it’s too thick add a tiny splash of milk, and if it’s too thin add a little more powdered sugar. In the end, the glaze should be thick but still pourable.

Storage – The cut scone dough can be made and stored in your refrigerator for up to a week, and baked off right before serving. To prepare the scone dough up to one month in advance, place the cut scones onto a baking sheet and freeze (uncovered) until frozen solid, then transfer them to a freezer storage bag. Bake the scones from frozen, adding an additional three to five minutes to the baking time. Because of the glazing, leftover scones (not that there ever are any!) can be stored in an airtight container for up to five days without a significant change in texture.

Egg Wash – I find that I get the best browning without the addition of milk/water/cream to the beaten egg for the egg wash. But feel free to use whichever you most prefer, or to omit the egg wash step entirely.

I think that it’s only natural for us to feel the most attachment to the recipes that we spend the most time carefully cultivating. For many years I wouldn’t share any of my recipes, period. It was my hard work, and I honestly felt like my ability to make perfect scones, biscuits or pecan bars would somehow be diminished if everyone else then also knew how to do it as well. As I began writing this blog, however, I slowly came to the realization that having this knowledge was so much less meaningful than sharing it all with you; after all, food is so much less enjoyable when there is no one to share it with. I hope that you really will make some version of these scones and that this recipe becomes a part of your family’s traditions, just as they have become a part of mine. Perfect for a portable breakfast, early morning business meeting, tea party, or a leisurely Sunday brunch with friends, these decadent scones are (literally) a winner every time.

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74 Comments

Filed under Blue Ribbon Winners, Breads, Breakfast/Brunch, Project Food Blog, Snacks

74 responses to “Jacob’s Kitchen: Scone Secrets Revealed (Project Food Blog – Challenge 7)

  1. Megan D

    I can personally attest that these are crazy delicious! I love the combination you’ve used this time.

  2. yum, fabulous looking scones! i like the ingredient combination. great video – good luck!

  3. Fantastic job, Jacob…looking forward to voting for you!!

  4. Thank you for sharing the secret of the scones with us. I’ve made scones before, but hopefully now, they will turn out better. Great video!

  5. Anne

    Your scones are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your secret recipe and the video. You make it look so easy!

  6. I adore scones! Yours look and sound amazing. A must try for sure. Best of luck with round #7!!

  7. Wow, amazing post. I just made scones for my first time yesterday and they were good, but I am already itching to try again. Your recipe sounds fabulous and I will definitely be making these in the very near future.

  8. Anne

    Your scones look fabulous! And the video makes it look so easy. Good luck!

  9. Jacob – Your scones look absolutely amazing! Well done on another wonderful post. I’m also assuming that is your jam on that last photograph?

    Cheers and good luck on this round.

  10. Such a beautiful post and great looking recipe!

  11. Hubbaroo… these look absolutely amazing, Jacob! The recipe looks a lot like the one that I use for my annual scones. Lol, definitely a favorite to be made by me but dude, I find it takes FOREVER. Perhaps more planning ahead will make it an easier process. Or, perhaps it’s just the fact that I’m always bombarded by school work that it takes precious free time away from me. Regardless, I love scones and I’m going to make yours when winter break comes :-)

  12. Jacob, thank you for sharing your award winning scone recipe with us along with the tips and tricks that ensure perfect results. Very informative and enlightening. Great video!

  13. Great Scott! Gorgeous photos, beautiful presentation, great video…got my vote!

  14. You did GREAT! You definitely deserve to be in this round and I will vote for you ASAP. It is nice to finally put a face to a name as well.

    PS- The photos are awesome as well.

  15. Jacob I love this recipe. My son was watching with me and he said oooo frosting. I will attempt my first scones with this recipe. Nicely done, love the music, very organized and informative. Nicely done!

  16. Jacob your video is fantastic – you look so comfortable in front of the camera. Your scones also look amazing. I have always been strongly of the belief that there is a gene for scone-making. My mother used to make beautiful scones – every time I have ever tried it has been a resounding “scone fail”. You’ve given me the courage to try scone making one more time, so thanks so much for sharing these. We have a TV chef here in New Zealand who always says “recipes are like kisses – until you give them away they are nothing”. I think she’s right :-)
    Sue

    • Hi C&Cm

      Aw. I love that. Recipes ARE like kisses… =) Thanks for the support and kind words. I had a good time putting this whole post together and tried not to take myself too seriously. I think if you follow the recipe as I show, these scones are pretty fool proof. So don’t fear giving them another go. =)

      Thanks for stopping by! =)

  17. These sound and look incredible. Your entire layout, photos and descriptions make it so alluring. Love your site and your recipes (peeked at your beet and orange salad as a cure for my beet phobia http://boulderlocavore.blogspot.com/2010/11/big-fat-beet-sos-and-giveaway.html). You and your site are such a gorgeous find! I’m sure you’ll do great in the contest. Fingers crossed for you!

  18. Jacob, it’s so nice to hear your voice. I almost feel as though I got to visit you right in your kitchen. GREAT tips on scone-baking. I love them. Thank you for sharing your top-secret recipe. My family didn’t want me to share my mother’s famous German potato salad nor her Austrian goulash, but like you– I felt that it’s meant to be shared. You’re sharing a bit of your legacy as I did for my own mom. I printed the recipe, IMMEDIATELY, in case you changed your mind and decided to swipe it away! Good luck! You did great.

  19. Such talent…you will always have my vote!

  20. gingerbreadcake

    Jacob, I love you even more after seeing you on video. You’re such a natural on camera and have this presence like no one else! Your video was beautiful, well put together and just wow!! Thank you so much for sharing such a delicious and top secret recipe. I can’t even begin to tell you how delicious the scones look! I’m definitely going to be trying out your award winning scone recipe. I will be voting for you once again! Wonderful job and best of luck! :)

  21. Jacob – the video was very well done- concise, easy to follow and producing delicious results. Now about these scones…. 3 sticks of cold butter, 4 eggs, 1 cup heavy cream – how can they NOT be good??!!!!!!!

  22. It’s so nice to put a face to the blog! :) And I’ve had enough scone fails in my past that I’ve almost given up (they’re kind of like my biscuits…I can bake almost anything else well, except biscuits & scones!). But maybe since I’ve watched your video, I’ll give them another go. Good luck with challenge # 8!!

  23. My mouth is watering. I’ll look forward to casting my vote for you tomorrow.

  24. If I could, I would kiss your feet right now. I have tried so many recipes for scones and have never been quite satisfied (even Alton Brown’s). As soon as I saw your recipe I knew it was exactly what I was searching for. Your video cinched it! Thank you.

  25. This is a good blog message, I will keep the post in my mind. If you can add more video and pictures can be much better. Because they help much clear understanding. :) thanks Vaasa.

  26. Those scones look magical. I’m glad you let the secret out. I never thought of folding to create flaky layers in scones!

  27. Hey Jacob,

    Lovely scones…Been wondering where you were…:)

    Dr.Sameena@

    http://www.myeasytocookrecipes.blogspot.com

  28. Oh my God, your apron is AMAZING. I want one :D

    Great job as always, Jacob. Good luck for when voting opens later today! I’m rooting for you ;)

    Jax x

  29. Perfect scones, and wonderful post! The strawberries with white chocolate is genius!

  30. Okay, so you have raving reviews from my three year olds. Boo was dancing to your music and commented on how nice you were- as did Bubba. “Jacob’s so nice!” they both chimed. Then they both said “Bye, Jacob” as it ended. I LOVED it too! so professional and the recipe was fab. YOu have a wonderful on screen presence. So well done. Bravo!

  31. Very nice recipe. What a fantastic introduction to your blog. I discovered the awesomeness of scones last winter and am always on the hunt for great ones. Will have to give these a try for sure. Lovely video, you’re so welcoming. Good luck with the competition!

  32. Jacob- these look beautiful and I love that you can keep the batter in the fridge for a week- my kind of cooking. I’m going to try and adapt this for gluten-free. The gf scones that I’ve had have always been dry, crumbly and not very flavorful. I’ll let you know how it goes. Good luck in round 7!!

  33. Such lovely looking scones :) Thanks for sharing and fab job with the video challenge!

  34. Just found your beautiful blog! AND I voted for you and became a fan on facebook. I love CSN stores…I just bought a hand mixer from there and was very pleased with their service!

  35. Hi Jacob – I found your blog through the Food Buzz Challenge and wanted tell you:

    #1 These look incredible
    #2 My office will thank you, I am sure
    #3 I think I love you (this is also based on your ricotta gnocchi – OMG).

  36. Wonderful video Jacob! Those scones look amazingly delicious! Thank you so much for sharing your secrets! Good luck to you!

  37. The recipes sounds amazing! Yum! Bookmarking this one. Good luck w/ PFB!

  38. Scones always look like they are very tricky to make. You make it look like a breeze and give us all the confidence to go and try to make our own! I especially like the addition of dried strawberries. Thanks for sharing your top secret recipe with us! I can’t wait to try it!

  39. gabrielle

    the video really did turn out wonderfully! you’re such a natural on camera, yo! bravo! everything is GORGGGGGEEEE, as usual. :)

  40. I feel really privilaged that you have shared your recipe. I can’t wait to try them myself.

  41. Great job on the video! The scones look so delicious! Thank you for sharing…voting now. Good luck!

  42. I am a scone fanatic, strawberries too. These look fabulous! I could do some serious damage to that display of scones along with a hot cup of tea. Beautiful job. You have my vote!

  43. thank you for all the research and taste testing that went behind this recipe!!!

  44. Jacob, thank you!!! I truly enjoyed your video and actually seeing the person behind all of these wonderful recipes. Nicely done!!

  45. Oh my goodness, I want a scone! The shot of you pouring on the glaze just pushed me over the edge :) Great job!

  46. Jacob,
    I know exactly how you feel about sharing this recipe. I am the same way. It is so selfish, but the recipe is your blood and sweat and a part of you. There are so many feelings when someone asks for a recipe that is YOURS and your signature. Sometimes it is hard to describe, you would love to share, but its like giving up a child (I don’t have children, but I do have recipes and sometimes parting with them is too much).
    I LOVE scones, so Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    P.S. I will raise it and cherish it as I would my own child; if I had one. ;)

  47. These sounds crazy delicious! Great job on the video Jacob! You’ve got my vote for sure!

  48. The contest has brought you to share a secret scone recipe. Oh the power of glory!! What other secrets will you reveal? GREG

  49. you’re awesome & so talented! good luck doll!
    Leila

  50. I watched every second of that video, read every word of this post and printed that recipe. My first attempt with scones was abject failure, but looking at these and getting the instructions from your video, I just hope that they turn out half as lovely as yours are. Thank you so very much for sharing your recipe and your technique. I’ve voted. Good luck.

  51. Thank you all so much for all of your kind words! =) I had a good time putting this all together.

    Thank you all for stopping by! And for voting!! I really appreciate it.

    Happy eating!!! =)

  52. I felt you like you were speaking directly to me this entire post.. ha I love scones.. I love everything about them. I can’t wait to try your top secret recipe. Thank you for sharing :)

  53. DebDodge

    Jacob, you’re a natural on camera, very engaging and informative, and thank you for sharing your recipe! I can’t imagine how much time & energy you put into developing this amazing recipe. Thank You! Thank You! Thank you!
    Your scones have become a part of our family celebrations and I can’t picture Thanksgiving or Christmas mornings without them.

  54. The scones look WONDERFUL! I’ve voted for you! =)

  55. Jacob, it was so great to put a face to this beautiful blog! You have outdone yourself and your personality shines. Voted!

  56. Dang! These DO sound great! I love your video and the music. You got me there!

  57. Strawberry scones….swoon. I can almost smell them when I look at these pictures.

  58. Thank you so much for sharing this very special recipe with us! Best of luck in the challenge! :)

  59. Jacob! Before I forget, I love the apron! And I love the recipe – I can completely understand how you must feel, offering up years of hard work, but know that they will be happily recreated in many kitchens (mine included). You did a wonderful job on your video, so glad to see the face behind the name!

  60. I am literally salivating over these scones. Strawberries are my ultimate favorite fruit. Adding the white chocolate, lemon zest and vanilla bean glaze just pushes it over the top. I cannot wait to make these (and I WILL be making them). Thanks for getting past the secretiveness and sharing this recipe! Woohoo!

    And good luck in this challenge. Or is it break a leg since it’s a video?? Hmm…either way…I hope you make it through to the next round!

  61. Those scons look amazing! And your method is a little different from mine and I’m interesting in giving yours a try.

    I really enjoyed your video. And I mean this to be only complimentary, that while the video quality might not have been great, it didn’t matter becuase your presence on camera was FANTASTIC. Seriously, you rock. Very well done, you have my vote!

  62. Great connection with the camera and us! Captivating subject. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of top secret scone recipe baking in the kitchens of all who have visited here.

  63. my vote’s in! I love the scones!

  64. Awesome looking scones!

    Lisa.

  65. Wow, I am definitely going to have to try this recipe. I love scones, especially ones with a little glaze on them like yours have! Great recipe!

  66. Steve

    Jacob,
    Your site and work just gets better and better. Love the writing, photos, everything! :) Steve

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