Lemon-Thyme Blueberry Scones

  • Lemon-Thyme Blueberry scones. For the Recorder/Brianna Castillo

  • Lemon-thyme blueberry scones. Staff photo/Andy Castillo

  • Lemon-thyme blueberry scones. Staff photo/Andy Castillo

Staff Writer
Published: 7/29/2020 9:16:12 AM

It struck me a few weeks ago while I was driving to the gas station — an overpowering desire to bake. While at the pump, I realized that I craved crumbly cake with an incredibly sweet icing poured over the top. I wanted to fold handfuls of fresh blueberries into a dough made with frozen butter shavings — I wanted lemon-blueberry scones.

There are few summertime flavor pairings that can compare to lemon-blueberry. The bursts of blueberry flavor sweetly accent the sour acidity of the lemon. It’s a decedent match made in culinary heaven — one that I’ve been craving ever since that trip to the gas station a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve made lemon-blueberry scones thrice, twice with thyme added as a spice, once with almond flour substituted for white flour. 

Although all of the scone attempts were delicious, I thought the latter, made with almond flour, was the best of the bunch. Comparatively, the scones were more complex than their white-flour counterparts. In this, a complex nutty taste lingered on the palate long after the sweet lemony icing had dissipated. They were earthy and full, with the lightness of the glaze grounded by the more mellow cake. The exterior was crispy; the center soft and moist. In short: Satisfying.

I found the following recipe initially on the blog Sally’s Baking Addiction, but as always, it’s been adapted. If you ever find yourself pumping gas and craving lemon-blueberry scones with a hint of thyme, it’s a great place to start.

Lemon-Thyme Blueberry Scones

A few tips to enhance the scones: Freeze the butter in advance; grow and cut your own fresh thyme; find a zester if you don’t have one on hand; buy fresh blueberries (I found mine at Sobieski's River Valley Farm in Whately). Notably, the following features white flour. Almond flour can be substituted at a one-to-one ratio, adding additional flour (either white or almond) until it’s the right consistency. I used two eggs instead of one because almond flour requires a little more of a binding agent. The dough should be dry and crumbly. If two eggs are used, add more flour until it’s dry enough.

Additionally, lemon peel seasoning and lemon juice can be used instead of fresh lemon.

2 cups all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, frozen

½ cup heavy cream, plus a little more to brush on top

A few teaspoons of thyme to taste

1 large egg

1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 heaping cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Coarse sugar for topping

Lemon Icing

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)

First, saute a few teaspoons of fresh thyme in a little bit of olive oil until it’s fragrant. Zest and slice the lemon in half. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl — the flour; granulated sugar; lemon zest; baking powder; and salt. Mix the wet ingredients — the heavy cream; the vanilla extract; the egg (add a little bit of lemon juice for a punchier flavor); and the olive oil that’s been infused with thyme.

Shave the frozen butter with a cheese grater, then fold it into the dry ingredients. Mix until it the butter has been fully separated. Slowly add the wet ingredients along with the blueberries and carefully combine. Gather the dough into a ball — this might prove to be a little bit challenging — and flatten it down into a rectangle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour. If it’s too dry, add more cream. If using almond flour with two eggs, take the time at this step to ensure proper consistency and adjust accordingly. 

Brush or sprinkle a little bit of cream on top of the dough and then shake on some sugar. 

Chill the dough for about 15 minutes in the fridge. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. When the dough has been adequately firmed in the fridge, put it on the top rack of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the exterior is brown and crispy.

Meanwhile, make the icing. Add confectioners sugar to a bowl and mix with vanilla extract and the lemon juice to taste. A little bit of water, flour or meringue powder can be added to adjust the taste and consistency. As always, I believe recipes should be loosely followed — taste often and bake to your own preference.

When the dough has been baked through, remove from the oven, pour the icing over top and slice the rectangle into triangles. The scones can be frozen and enjoyed whenever the craving sets in.

Andy Castillo is the features editor at the Greenfield Recorder. He can be reached at acastillo@recorder.com.

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