I am usually not a cookbook person. I like to play around in the kitchen, and besides that, having a cookbook on my counter takes up a good deal of the precious little space I have in my tiny New York apartment. However, last November, for my birthday, I was lucky enough to get some Baked cupcakes for my birthday, and they were the. best. cupcakes. ever. Hands down. And I usually don’t even care for cupcakes! That really says something. When it was anyone’s birthday in the office from that day on, I’ve always suggested that we order from Baked. We’ve had some lovely marshmallows, pies, and cakes from them since then, and I really can’t get enough! I had made the infamous Baked brownies, so I knew how good the recipes were, but for some reason, I hadn’t bought the cookbook yet. Well, all of that changed a few weeks ago when I finally picked up Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. It is truly a magnificent cookbook. Not only are the photos absolutely stunning, but the recipes are straight forward and easy enough to do in the average kitchen. I have already made 4 or 5 things out of the book already, but I wanted to start with these beautiful Sour Lemon Scones. I made a few adjustments, dropping them instead of cutting them into wedges, and adding a glaze, but other than that, these Baked scones are fabulous. The candied lemon peel, which they provide a recipe for, really makes these stand out apart from other scones. I had never candied lemon peel before, but it is surprisingly easy and I can’t wait to try it with oranges or limes, next. I especially loved how light and airy these scones were. They are the perfect quick breakfast, especially on a dreary New York morning. Take it from someone who rarely buys cookbooks (I only own about 6 of them, which I don’t think is a lot for someone who practically lives in the kitchen): buy Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. You won’t regret it.
Peel your lemon with a sharp peeler or a paring knife. I used a paring knife to get big, long strips. The paring knife is also useful in removing any extra white pith from the peel. Get as much off as you can.
Boil the peel in a pot with 4 cups of water, 2 cups of granulated sugar, and 3/4 cup of light corn syrup. Boil until the peel is translucent and the syrup is thick. Allow the syrup to cool with the lemon peel in it.
Now dice up your lemon peel and sprinkle it with some granulated sugar. You can store your peel in the syrup in the fridge for a week, or use it that day. I think the sprinkle of sugar really brightens up the flavor. Set aside until ready to use.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger in a large bowl. Add in the cold, cubed butter and, using clean hands, work the dough together until it forms pea-sized clumps, about 2-3 minutes.
Now, here is where I differ from Baked. I prefer to drop my scones like cookies, because, well, I hate messing with dough – especially really sticky dough, like this one. I think that there is less room for error by dropping them like this, plus this is how my mother always made scones, so I like them better this way. If you want to cut them into wedges, though, the recipe below will explain how.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed and cold
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon of lemon juice + 1 cup of milk)
- ¼ cup grated lemon zest (about 3 lemons)
- ½ cup diced candied lemon peel (recipe follows – optional, but highly recommended)
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar (optional)
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 4 lemons
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line and/or grease your baking sheets. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Add in the cubed butter and mix with your hands until pea-sized clumps form.
- Whisk together the egg, ¾ cup of the milk, and the lemon zest. Gradually add in the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Gently knead the dough with your hands until it starts to come together. Add in the candied lemon peel (recipe below) and knead together, gently.
- Move the dough to a floured surface, and use your hands to shape the dough into 2 discs (about 1½ inches in height). Do not overwork the dough. Cut the disc into 6 wedges. Alternately, you can do what I did, which was to simply drop the dough onto a greased baking sheet by the spoonful, as you would with a cookie dough. I found this to be pretty fool proof and required much less work. It’s up to you and just depends on what you want your scones to look like.
- Place the scones on your greased and/or lined baking sheet. Brush each scone with the remaining buttermilk and sprinkle with a little raw sugar, if you’re using it. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, or until the scones are golden brown. Transfer the scones to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Make your glaze by combining the powdered sugar and the lemon juice, adding more of each until you have reached your desired consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the scones with a large spoon.
- Wash your lemons. Peel each lemon in large strips, with a knife or a sharp peeler. Remove any white pith that is left behind.
- Place the peel in a large sauce pot and cover with 1 cup of cold water. Bring to a boil and strain. Do this 3 more times.
- Place the lemon peel, 4 cups of water, the granulated sugar, and light corn syrup. Simmer to 15-20 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and the peel is translucent. When the syrup has cooled, remove the peel and cut it into strips. Sprinkle the strips with some granulated sugar.