rhubarb scones

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Scones get a seriously bad rap. People think they’re bland, dense, and/or crumbly. People think you can only enjoy them if you have a mug of coffee or tea with them. Branny told me that her husband thinks they taste like chalk. And these people aren’t completely wrong – some scones are pretty terrible. As for the whether they need to be accompanied by a hot drink, I happen to think that everything even a little sweet is better with coffee or tea.  But that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy a cookie without coffee.

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Like a lot of foods, you might have to make scones yourself to get good ones. I can’t personally attest to the scones at coffee shops, but if they’re on par with every other baked treat I’ve ordered from a national coffee shop chain, they’ll be stale and bland. Don’t judge scones based on this example.

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Scones are similar to biscuits, although many scone recipes have eggs included, which is rare in biscuits. In both, the dry ingredients are mixed first, and cold butter is cut in, then cold liquid is gently stirred in. Compared to the last scone recipe I made, this one has less butter, but richer dairy (cream as opposed to yogurt + milk).

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The cream changes the texture from flaky to melt-in-your-mouth tender. They’re sweet, but only slightly so, and studded by juicy, tart bits of rhubarb. There’s nothing bland, dense, crumbly, or chalky about these scones, and while I enjoyed mine with my Saturday cup of coffee, a hot drink is not required to appreciate these. If you think you don’t like scones, try these.

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One year ago: Kaiser Rolls – I have to admit that I’ve made these twice and have decided that they’re just not worth the effort.  I like using this much easier dough instead.

Printer Friendly Recipe
Rhubarb Cream Scones
(adapted from Gourmet via Smitten Kitchen)

I only used 1½ cups (2 stalks) of rhubarb, but it wasn’t nearly enough. I would even err on the high side of 2 cups.

Update 5/8/2012 – While many people have had good results with this recipe, a few commenters have complained that their dough was too wet. This might have to do with imprecise volume measurements of flour, variability in rhubarb juiciness, or perhaps the size of the eggs used. Regardless, start with ½ cup of cream, then add more until the dough comes together but holds its shape. It might be sticky, but you should be able to pat it out with floured hands.

2½ cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar (3.5 ounces) plus 3 tablespoons
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 cups diced rhubarb (¼-inch cubes), about 3 stalks
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream (see update)

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Adjust a baking rack to the middle position. In a small bowl, mix the rhubarb with 3 tablespoons sugar.

2. In a food processor, pulse the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt a few times, just to mix. Distribute the butter evenly over the dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Stir the rhubarb into the flour mixture. Lightly beat the egg, yolk, and cream together in a bowl (use the same one you used for the rhubarb), then add this mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.

4. On a well-floured surface with floured hands, pat the dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter). Using a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour, cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.  Transfer the scones to a cooling rack and let them cool slightly before serving.

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Comments

  1. Irene says:

    Ooh these sound wonderful! I love scones with fresh fruit in them. I like to use buttermilk in mine – gives it the melty texture, just like cream, but a lot less fat.

  2. Kelsey says:

    I love that plate, Bridget! Do you happen to remember where you got it? I love, love, LOVE cherry blossoms!

  3. bridget says:

    Kelsey – I got it at Ross. I went on a little blog dishes shopping spree last month.

  4. Hélène says:

    I like scones especially the blueberry kind. I love your plate, so nice.

  5. Bunny says:

    I unfortunately made scones for the first time about a yr ago and chose a recipe that had 3 tbls of baking powder in them, all I tasted was the baking powder. I haven’t given up looking though, your scones look perfect, the color, the texture. WOW!!!

  6. Kerstin says:

    I’m a scone fan usually! But, I’m spoiled by fantastic ones at a bakery near us and have never made them. Yours look great!

  7. Melissa says:

    My mom’s neighbour has rhubarb growing in her backyard, so next time I go home I’m getting some and making these. I love rhubarb, and I’m always looking for new ways to fix it. These look delicious!

  8. Branny says:

    I love a cooking challenge. I think I’m going to take this recipe and try it out on the Omnivore just to prove to him that scones don’t taste like chalk. You have good recipe credit. Now I just have to suck it up and buy heavy cream.

  9. Margaret says:

    Scones are absolutely my favorite ‘with tea’ food ever. The ‘real’ scones are pretty bland, which is why they are usually eaten with clotted cream and lots of jam.

    Those look good.

  10. Manggy says:

    I’ve had a scone that wasn’t flaky at all, but I liked it, hah :) (no way it was a muffin– they couldn’t have shaped it like a scone in that case.) I’m going to have to think of an appropriate substitution for the rhubarb– strawberries perhaps?
    By the way, the Kaiser Roll links both lead to the same recipe!

  11. treewhisperer says:

    see? it’s all about the plate! (well, and he baked item on top) but really, this plate…it’s amazing! best one yet! do you have any green plates?

  12. I love your plate, and the pictures you’ve clicked on it! Great job :D

  13. bridget says:

    Manggy – Thanks for the tip about the links. It’s fixed now. You can substitute a lot of things for the rhubarb. Strawberries would be good. The original recipe calls for fresh cranberries. (Because I’m sure those are oh-so-plentiful where you live!) But, if you use something sweeter than ultra-tart cranberries and rhubarb, don’t use the 3 tablespoons of sugar that goes with the fruit.

    treewhisperer – Yes, your favorite plate is very popular! :) We took home 2 green plates from our shopping spree that day – I’ve used one, but haven’t published the entry yet.

  14. rose says:

    Looks delicious! I will have to try these :) YUM scones and rhubarb!

  15. WEndy says:

    I love scones! Rhubarb ones sound delicious.

  16. FOOD IS LUV says:

    your scones look delicious! lovely photos too!

  17. Caitlin says:

    Have I mentioned how gorgeous your photos are? Because these are absolutely fabulous – I love that plate too, it’s just so bright and cheerful. Given that breakfasts for me tend to be scones, this sounds just perfect. One more reason to buy rhubarb more often!

  18. anna says:

    That looks fantastic! I love the idea of a rhubarb scone. Yum!

  19. Liz says:

    These looked irresistible (partly because of the plate) so I went home and tried your recipe with some rhubarb that I had roasted with a little sugar for about 10 minutes at 400F. I’m not sure if roasting was the reason but my dough turned out too wet to pat out and cut, so I just dropped scoops onto the pan. No worries otherwise – the result was a lovely texture and the flavor was delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

  20. Annette says:

    Just wondering if the heavy cream is necessary? I try to avoid it because of the fat content…

  21. Kristy says:

    We have rhubarb plants and I always freeze what we don’t use. Do you think I could use frozen rhubarb to make these?

  22. bridget says:

    Annette – The heavy cream definitely effects the texture of the scones, making them really tender. You could try other, lighter dairy (yogurt + milk?), but I can’t attest to the results.

    Kristy – I personally have no experience with frozen rhubarb, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work!

  23. Phil says:

    I just made these tonight. Delicious! Much lighter than other scone recipes I’ve tried, and the tartness of the rhubarb is a nice contrast to the overall sweetness of the dough. I cut them into squares rather than making rounds, as the dough is fairly moist. I also sprinkled a little raw sugar on the top to give them some sparkle. Thank you!

  24. Emily says:

    These were the first scones I’ve ever made and they were delicious!!! I used buttermilk instead of the heavy cream, baked them a little longer, and sprinkled a some sugar on top. They turned out very well- good flavor, moist… I will definitely be making these again! Thanks for the recipe!

  25. treewhisperer says:

    i made these this morning, but i changed the recipe a bit…still yummy! i subbed one cup a.p. flour for whole wheat flour (need more fiber), buttermilk (actually dried buttermilk and one cup of rice milk) for the cream, and brown sugar in place of the white sugar (it has more flavor). delicious!

  26. treewhisperer says:

    one more comment…i made these again tonight, with previously frozen rhubarb and i would say that is not recommended. the dough was more batter like and i had to add extra flour just to make it handle-able. ugh.

  27. Rhona says:

    I made these scones twice because I thought that I messed up the first time. When the same thing happened the second time I realized it was the recipe. There is no way that these can be rolled out they are super sticky. So I doubled the amount of flour and still impossible to roll. Please review the ingredients. My family loves these and I want to make them the way the recipe says.

  28. bridget says:

    Rhona – Please note that the original recipe from Gourmet is identical except for the substitution of rhubarb for cranberries. The amount of flour is correct. Perhaps the rhubarb is significantly more moist than the cranberries in the original recipe, but I and others who have also left comments have successfully formed these into scones. If you are measuring your dry ingredients by volume, try measuring by weight, which is more accurate.

  29. Jennifer says:

    These are delicious!!! I have made them with rhubarb, as well as mangos and ginger. This is the lightest scone I’ve ever had!!

  30. How do you print off a recipe from this web site, if you find one you want. I all got was all the bloggers responses. I really would like to try the rhubarb scones.

  31. bridget says:

    Sherie Walker – For older recipes on this site, usually you have to manually cut and paste the recipe into a Word document to print. However, I just added a Printer Friendly link for this recipe, right above the recipe title.

  32. Jessie says:

    I don’t always take time to comment on the recipe posts I choose to try from blogs… BUT THESE WERE AMAZING!!! Made them this evening in preparation for a breakfast treat, but now I’m nervous the batch won’t make them until morning! SUPER TASTY/AMAZING/DELICIOUS RECIPE!

  33. Liz says:

    There is no way this is enough flour! I have muffin batter sitting here – no chance of rolling, cutting NOTHING

    EPIC FAIL OVER HERE

  34. I agree that I never could have rolled these out but I took another poster’s advice and just spooned them out onto the cookie sheets. Took out a couple steps and worked well for me! I don’t love rhubarb but my MIL had dropped some off and I was determined to find a recipe that would put them to good use and make me change my mind about rhubarb. This was it:)

  35. Shirley says:

    What is the oven temperature? The recipe says 00F. Thanks.

  36. bridget says:

    Shirley – The oven temperature is 400 degrees.

  37. Jenny Snarski says:

    Tried this a couple of times and hit it exactly the second – for the eggs/cream I used 1 egg plus 1/2 cup of greek yogurt plus 2 tablespoons of milk. Perfect consistency! This is now one of my favorite scone recipes…

  38. Mary Childress says:

    I agree with Jenny Snarski and did the same. Never made a scone before and these were excellent – your hints were perfect and a well floured board was key. Thanks!

  39. treewhisperer says:

    I just made this recipe doubled (some for the freezer) with a 2 tablespoons of lavender (1 tablespoon for each batch)-the greek yogurt, 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons of coconut milk (instead of milk). Unfortunately, I can’t stop eating them!

  40. I made these using a full 2 cups of rhubarb. I think next time I will add more flour. The scones are delicious but they are so soft that they all flowed together on the baking sheet. I baked them 20 minutes.

  41. stanze says:

    I put the batter in muffin tins instead of cutting it an dputtingit on a pan. I baked for 10min and check, then for 5 min more

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