Start the Day Off Right with Blackberry-Rye Cream Scones

Buttery, tender, and filled with fresh blackberries.
Buttery, tender, and filled with fresh blackberries.

It doesn’t have to be a holiday like Valentine’s Day to make any day a whole lot sweeter and more pampering with “Blackberry-Rye Cream Scones.”

Rye flour gives them an earthy color and a nutty taste, while a sprinkling of sugar on top before baking creates that crackly sweet crunch none of us can resist.

The recipe is from “Bake Smart” (Harvest, 2023) by Brooklyn-based Samantha Seneviratne, a recipe developer and food stylist who stars on the Magnolia Network’s “Everyday Cooking.”

It’s a collection of 100 recipes for homespun treats such as “Burnt Caramel Basque Cheesecake,” “Chocolate Chestnut Loaf,” “Pretzel Cheese Buns,” and “Buckwheat Walnut Linzer Cookies.”

This scone dough is made with a combination of 1/2 cup rye flour and 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups all-purpose. Yes, there’s a range for the all-purpose flour, but the recipe never states precisely how much to use or what texture to look for before adding more flour. From experience, I find that you want a dough that holds together but isn’t too sticky or too dry. The trouble is you can’t necessarily judge this until you’ve combined the flours with the butter, blackberries, and heavy cream.

You can see my dough is still rather sticky -- too sticky -- so that's why I advise using the larger amount of all-purpose flour from the get-go.
You can see my dough is still rather sticky — too sticky — so that’s why I advise using the larger amount of all-purpose flour from the get-go.

Having added the smaller amount of flour up until then, I found the dough still incredibly wet and sticky, and hard to work with. I ended up adding a little more flour then, albeit gingerly, as I wanted to avoid over-mixing, which can result in tough scones, as well as potentially smashing the blackberries to smithereens. So, my advice is to use 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour at the start, which is how I amended the recipe below.

Once the dough is in good shape, pat it into a thick round, use a knife to cut into wedges while keeping the disk intact, and freeze at least 15 minutes to firm up.

When ready to bake, brush the tops with more heavy cream, and sprinkle on sugar, before sliding into the oven.

Serve on their own or with more butter or jam.
Serve on their own or with more butter or jam.

The scones bake up crisp all over the outside and fluffy-tender within. Surprisingly, they are not very sweet, letting the nuttiness of the rye flour and the fruitiness of the jammy blackberries come through.

Enjoy them for breakfast, brunch or as an afternoon pick-me-up with coffee or tea. They’re even pretty grand warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream over the top.

A welcome treat for yourself -- or anyone you love.
A welcome treat for yourself — or anyone you love.

Blackberry-Rye Cream Scones

(Makes 8 scones)

3/4 cup (180 grams) cold heavy cream, plus more for brushing

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups (238 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (51 grams) rye flour

1/2 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground grated nutmeg (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick; 85 grams) cold butter, cut into small pieces

Sanding sugar or turbinado or granulated sugar for sprinkling (optional)

In a small bowl, mix together the cream, egg, and vanilla.

In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, rye flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Smoosh the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers. The goal is to make evenly dispersed butter flakes. Add the blackberries and gently toss until just combined.

Drizzle in the cream mixture and stir with a fork until combined. Try not to smash the blackberries. Don’t overmix this dough; it’s OK if there is a tiny bit of dry mixture at the bottom of the bowl. For scones, it’s better to slightly undermix rather than overmix the dough.

Tip the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and pat it into a 6-inch circle. Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut the circle into 8 equal triangles, but leave the round intact for the moment. Transfer the dough, still on the parchment, to a plate and freeze for at least 15 minutes to firm up. (You can freeze the unbaked scones for another day. Bake them from frozen, brushing them with the cream and sprinkling with the sanding sugar, if using, just before baking. Increase the baking time by a minute or two.)

Preheat the oven to 375 °F.

Transfer the scones, still on the paper, to a rimmed baking sheet. Space the scones out evenly and brush the tops with heavy cream. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if desired.

Bake until the scones are golden brown and set, about 22 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of one scone should come out clean. Transfer the sheet to a rack to cool slightly.

Serve warm or at room temperature. The scones are best the day they’re made.

Adapted from “Bake Smart” by Samantha Seneviratne

More Samantha Seneviratne Recipes to Enjoy: Mascarpone Gingerbread Bars

And: Big Chewy Apricot and Ginger Cookies

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