The first recipe a cook masters holds a very special spot in their hearts. For me this spot is reserved for these lemon-lavender poppy seed scones. It was the first recipe I designed and remembered by heart and remains one of my specialties. A few years ago, I was flipping through Baking Illustrated when I saw a recipe for british cream scones. I became inspired and for the next month I spent any free time I had experimenting with scones. I love how scones are a great vessel for an infinite number of combinations. I must have made more than 15 batches of scones during that month ranging from classic plain to bizarre (but still yummy) strawberry with balsamic vinegar glaze. The lemon-lavender poppy seed stood out among the others, combining a classic flavor profile with a little twist. The top of these scones is crisp with a tangy and sweet glaze that has a tantalizing hint of lavender that keeps you coming back for more. The flaky crust is contrasted by a moist, buttery, cloud-like interior with a little bite from the poppy seeds and bright lemon zest studded into the crumb. These scones are without a doubt one of the best confections I make, and now you can make them too.
- For Scones
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- For Glaze
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons very soft warm butter
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons dried lavender (optional)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Put sugar and lemon zest into a small bowl and rub the zest into the sugar to release the oils.
2. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in large bowl and whisk together
3. Use a pastry blender, or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps.
4. Stir in sugar and poppy seeds.
5. Stir in heavy cream with rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds. Then with your hands knead the dough a little in the bowl to pick up some of the dry bits. ProTip: The dough should look dry, crumbly and dense.
6. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough ball.
7. Flatten into an even disk 8 inch disk. ProTip: Flatten into a disk in an 8 inch cake pan to make a perfect circle. Using a bench scraper cut into 8 even wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
8. Bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
9. While scones are baking, start the glaze. Warm up the lemon juice in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds. Rub the lavender in your hands to release the oil then let it sit in the lemon juice for at least 10 minutes. ProTip: The lemon juice should start looking purple before you use it in the glaze.
10. Put the butter, lemon zest, and powdered sugar in a bowl. Strain out the lavender from the lemon juice.
11. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the purple lemon juice. Add more lemon juice as necessary until the glaze is thick but pours, about the consistency of ketchup. ProTip: If you want big lavender flavor, add back in 1 tablespoon of the strained lavender to the glaze.
12. Glaze the scones while they are still warm and serve.