Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Grand Central Bakery Scones

"They're moist in a way you don't expect scones to be."

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

As far as breakfast pastries go, I'd never really been much of a scone enthusiast. Give me a danish or muffin over a dry, crumbly coffee shop scone. Even the best scones usually needed a healthy dose of butter and jam to be palatable.

But this scone ambivalence changed over the summer when I baked a batch at home. I was in need of a quick dessert and figured scones would be a good alternative to shortbread. They turned out shockingly well—moist, buttery and worlds away from the scones of my past.

These scones from The Grand Central Baking Book by Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson sparked my interest because they included buttermilk and I already had a quart sitting in my fridge (for Thomas Keller's Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe from Ad Hoc at Home). Buttermilk is one of those ingredients you inevitably end up using a cup or two of, then throwing away. Really, why don't they make pint containers of the stuff?

Aside from buttermilk, the rest of the ingredients are pretty standard. The dough, like most scone doughs, was incredibly easy to put together, just a few minutes in the stand mixer, then a quick knead. The dough might look a little ragged, but don't fret—it will all come together in the baking.

The Grand Central Baking Book has you form the dough, brush it with an egg wash, then sprinkle turbinado sugar to make a crust that's both golden and covered with a layer of crispy sugar crystals.

When I pulled the scones out of the oven they looked pretty similar to other scones, but upon breaking one open, I realized these were different.

The texture wasn't brittle and crumbly—they were cakey with a great, almost chewy crumb. They're moist in a way you don't expect scones to be. They have a slight tang from the buttermilk and a warmth from the cinnamon. Generally I worry my home-baked scones will dry out overnight but these guys were in no danger.

My ideal scone isn't too dry or sweet. It's as satisfying as a perfectly baked biscuit but with a little more going on—and these hit all the right marks.

Win The Grand Central Baking Book

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Grand Central Baking Book to give away this week.

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