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Rose's Alpha Bakers

TBB - Flaky Cream Cheese Scones

Patricia Reitz

Flaky Cream Cheese Scones with Dried Cranberries - ButterYum

Flaky Cream Cheese Scones with Dried Cranberries - ButterYum

Welcome to the Alpha Bakers bake-a-long, an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared, but I will post my commentary followed by a full photo tutorial.

This week's selection - Flaky Cream Cheese Scones.  A cream cheese based scone with grated lemon zest and dried blueberries or cranberries.  I chose to make the cranberry version and I served them with Homemade Clotted Cream (recipe here).    

Special ingredients and/or equipment needed - pastry blender, half sheet pan, silpat liner or parchment paperdigital scaledigital thermometer.  

Optional ingredients and/or equipment suggested - pastry brush, bench scraper, Lyle's Golden Syrup, Turbinado sugar.

How do they taste - Delightful - soft, billowy, and full of wonderful flavor.  I especially like how the touch of lemon zest pairs with the dried cranberries.         

How do they look - Scrumptious - golden brown and glistening with turbinado sugar (my addition).    

Level of difficulty - They're easy, but I don't think this should be the first scone recipe a newbie or unseasoned baker should try.  There are more simple recipes out there for beginners.     

Were the directions clear - Yes, but this recipe is labeled quick and easy, which I don't completely agree with.  They're fairly easy, but there are a lot of time consuming steps so not quick in my book.  The butter and cream cheese had to be diced and then chilled - the cranberries had to be cut, one by one, into small pieces - the heavy cream had to be whipped to soft peaks - the itty bitty butter cubes had to be smashed into the flour, one by one - the scone dough had to be chilled before baking.  Definitely not quick.  

What would I do differently next time - I'd love to try to make these using a food processor. Also, this recipe makes 8 very generously sized scones so I would reduce the recipe by half or freeze half of the scone dough before baking.  There is a reference to directions for freezing the unbaked scones printed in the book, but I didn't see it until it was too late.    

Okay, here's my photo tutorial. 

The dry ingredinets are whisked together in a large bowl.

The dry ingredinets are whisked together in a large bowl.

Chilled cubes of cream cheese are added.

Chilled cubes of cream cheese are added.

A pastry blender is used to cut the cream cheese into the flour mixture.  Cream cheese stays pretty soft even when chilled so this step took a little more time than cutting in cold butter would have.  

A pastry blender is used to cut the cream cheese into the flour mixture.  Cream cheese stays pretty soft even when chilled so this step took a little more time than cutting in cold butter would have.  

Speaking of butter, next we add an entire stick of butter that has been cut into 1/4-inch cubes.  I hate cutting butter into tiny pieces.

Speaking of butter, next we add an entire stick of butter that has been cut into 1/4-inch cubes.  I hate cutting butter into tiny pieces.

So those tiny bits of butter are supposed to be smashed into flat flakes of butter.  The best way I found to do this was to squish each one in the palm of my hand, being careful not to let the butter get warm. 

So those tiny bits of butter are supposed to be smashed into flat flakes of butter.  The best way I found to do this was to squish each one in the palm of my hand, being careful not to let the butter get warm. 

Once that was done, I stirred in the dried cranberries that were cut into small pieces.  You cold eliminate cutting the cranberries, but I like the way the small bits of fruit look dispersed throughout the dough.  Like little bits of cranberry confetti. 

Once that was done, I stirred in the dried cranberries that were cut into small pieces.  You cold eliminate cutting the cranberries, but I like the way the small bits of fruit look dispersed throughout the dough.  Like little bits of cranberry confetti. 

Next the recipe calls for honey.  It seems I'm fresh out of honey so I substituted one of my favorite ingredients - Lyle's Golden Syrup.  

Next the recipe calls for honey.  It seems I'm fresh out of honey so I substituted one of my favorite ingredients - Lyle's Golden Syrup.  

Just look at that amber goodness.  If you haven't tried it, you must.  It makes me swoon.

Just look at that amber goodness.  If you haven't tried it, you must.  It makes me swoon.

Next it's time to add the heavy cream, but wait, it needs to be whipped to soft peaks first.  For such a small amount of cream, I prefer to whip it by hand.  It's super easy and takes no time at all - less than a minute. 

Next it's time to add the heavy cream, but wait, it needs to be whipped to soft peaks first.  For such a small amount of cream, I prefer to whip it by hand.  It's super easy and takes no time at all - less than a minute. 

In goes the softly beaten heavy cream.  

In goes the softly beaten heavy cream.  

And don't forget to add the lemon zest - it makes all the difference.  Then smash and smoosh everything together until all the dry ingredients are no longer dry.

And don't forget to add the lemon zest - it makes all the difference.  Then smash and smoosh everything together until all the dry ingredients are no longer dry.

Knead the dough in the bowl a couple of times to form a ball. 

Knead the dough in the bowl a couple of times to form a ball. 

At this point the directions say to shape the dough by pressing it into a 9-inch cake pan.  This seemed like an unnecessary step to me so I just pressed my dough into a 9-inch circle.  I covered it well and placed it in the fridge to chill.

At this point the directions say to shape the dough by pressing it into a 9-inch cake pan.  This seemed like an unnecessary step to me so I just pressed my dough into a 9-inch circle.  I covered it well and placed it in the fridge to chill.

When it was time to bake, I preheated my oven and cut my 9-inch round disk of scone dough into 8 equal pieces.

When it was time to bake, I preheated my oven and cut my 9-inch round disk of scone dough into 8 equal pieces.

I love cutting dough with a bench scraper!

I love cutting dough with a bench scraper!

Then I placed the scones evenly on a silpat lined baking sheet.  If you want your scones to puff up in the middle (like a camel hump), you can press the edges down, but I like mine to rise evenly so I left them as is. 

Then I placed the scones evenly on a silpat lined baking sheet.  If you want your scones to puff up in the middle (like a camel hump), you can press the edges down, but I like mine to rise evenly so I left them as is. 

And I gave them my usual scone treatment -  brush them with heavy cream and sprinkle them with turbinado sugar.

And I gave them my usual scone treatment -  brush them with heavy cream and sprinkle them with turbinado sugar.

Turbinado sugar is also known as "sugar in the raw".  FYI.

Turbinado sugar is also known as "sugar in the raw".  FYI.

Ready for the oven - mmm, they're going to be so good! 

Ready for the oven - mmm, they're going to be so good! 

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  

They're done when they reach an internal temperature of 202-215F.

They're done when they reach an internal temperature of 202-215F.

Cool in a clean linen tea towel that is sitting on a cooling rack before serving.  I enjoyed my scones with some fresh homemade clotted cream.  Wow, they were amazing.  Can't wait for breakfast tomorrow.

Cool in a clean linen tea towel that is sitting on a cooling rack before serving.  I enjoyed my scones with some fresh homemade clotted cream.  Wow, they were amazing.  Can't wait for breakfast tomorrow.