Thumbprint Scones

Thumbprint scones filled with sweet-tart, creamy lemon curd.

Imagine your favorite thumbprint cookie, but blown up to the size of a tender, crumbly scone.

That’s what these pastries basically are. They also boast the unlikely name of “Thugs-‘n’-Harmony.”

They’re from the new cookbook, “The Sugar Cube” (Chronicle Books), of which I recently received a review copy.

Author and baker Kir Jensen gave up her fine-dining career path to sell her handmade treats out of a food truck called the Sugar Cube in Portland, Ore. instead.

Jensen, who worked at Trio in Chicago and Florio Bakery in Portland, offers up 50 recipes for cupcakes, cookies, tarts, muffins and candies. Her treats are homespun meets kick-ass. They’re familiar, but given newfangled spins, as well as playful names such as “Twisted Toll House” cookies and “Beta Believe It” smoothie.

You can make these scones as simple wedges. But why, when you can make over-sized thumbprints instead? Fill them with your favorite jam or lemon curd, as I did.

They resemble giant snickerdoodle cookies with an added concave center of goodness. The texture is crumbly and tender like a scone rather than chewy-soft like a cookie.

The dough is a mixture of cake flour for lightness, plenty of butter, sugar, a good dose of heavy cream, vanilla extract and fresh lemon zest. Use a cutter about the circumference of a drinking glass to cut the scones out. Press your thumb into the center to form the divot. Then freeze the scones until they firm up before baking them with their filled centers.

They’re bound to put a smile on any face.


(Makes 8 scones)

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon baking powder

Grated zest of 2 large lemons

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cube and frozen

1/2 to 3/4 cup cold heavy cream, plus extra for brushing

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Your favorite jam or lemon curd

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar and baking powder and pulse a few times. Add lemon zest and butter and pulse until mixture is pale yellow and the consistency of cornmeal. (If you don’t have a food processor, just whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then cut in the zest and butter with a pastry blender.)

Transfer mixture to a wide mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in 1/2 cup of the cream and vanilla. Using your hand, draw the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing until just combined (you don’t want to overmix, or the scones will be tough.) If the mixture feels too dry and crumbly, add remaining 1/4 cup cream.

On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a patty about 9 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick. Use a round cutter to cut out scones. Using your thumb, create an indentation in the center of each. Move it around to make the indent half-dollar size. Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet and chill in the freezer at least 15 minutes. (This will firm up the butter so it will create flaky layers when baked.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove scones from the freezer. Fill centers with jam or lemon curd. Brush tops with heavy cream, and then sprinkle with sugar. Place on middle rack of the oven and bake, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through, until scones are golden brown and the tops are firm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving…that is, if you can wait that long.

Note: If you don’t want to make all the scones at once, freeze them until hard and pack them into freezer bags. Fill frozen scones, brush with cream, sprinkle with sugar, and bake at the same oven temperature but give them a few minutes longer: 20 to 25 minutes.

From “The Sugar Cube” by Kir Jensen

More Scone Recipes: Lisa Yockelson’s Marzipan Scones

And: Nutella Scones from Baked Bakery

And: Ginger Scones

And: Apricot Flaky Scones

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