Fresh Recipe: Scones with Lemon Buttermilk Icing

As you may recall, while on the Know Your Farms Tour last month, Charlotte Fresh purchased a 3 lb. bag of organic soft wheat flour, grown by Chris Hoffner of Kerr Mill Holsteins and milled by Jennifer Lapidus of the NC Organic Bread Flour Project.  The NC Organic Bread Flour project looks to help “close the distance between farmer and baker,”  which would be a good thing for local bakers.  Rather than trucking flour in from afar and being subject to fluctuating wheat and fuel prices, bakers could rely on flour that is locally grown, milled and delivered.  When I bought the flour, Jennifer told me that as a soft wheat it would be ideal for making cookies and scones, but not appropriate for baking bread. Scones are one of my baking specialties, so naturally I was thrilled to hear this.  So, with a nice batch of scones in mind, I kept the flour fresh in the refrigerator (in its Natural Bridge Bakery bag) until I had a little time to play with it.

Great ingredients - check out the soft wheat grain

Great ingredients - check out the soft wheat grain

Immediately, I discovered that this flour was different to work with.  The grains were larger, and it didn’t absorb liquid the same way as traditional hard wheat all-purpose flour would – perhaps not as quickly.   And the dough came out moist and stickier, looking more like a cookie dough than a biscuit dough.  I thought the scones would rise more – I didn’t account for the heaviness of the flour, and my trial resulted in pretty flat scones.  (Next batch, I will cut them a bit thicker.)  But, I have to tell you that I have never found a flakier crumb in a scone!  These were divine, especially with the Lemon Buttermilk Icing.  And because they were flatter, it gave us an excuse to eat more than one – indeed, hubby was not sad.  Whether you have this soft wheat flour on hand or just all-purpose flour, try your hand at some lemony scones for breakfast or tea this weekend.

Fresh Recipe: Scones with Lemon Buttermilk Icing

Scones with Lemon Buttermilk Icing

Scones with Lemon Buttermilk Icing

I used flour from Kerr Mill Holsteins, cream and buttermilk from Lakeview Farms and Alex’s Free Range Eggs from the Matthews Farmers’ Market.

Makes about 8-10 scones

  • 2 C soft wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbs cold unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 C heavy cream + extra for brushing
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs buttermilk
  • 2 C confectioners (powdered) sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in pieces of the cold butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Beat the egg in a separate bowl.  Add heavy cream and 1/2 the lemon zest.  Add this liquid mixture to the dry mixture and stir until moistened.  Knead the dough a few times against the bowl until it holds together.  Don’t overwork the dough.

Flour a surface and pat the dough into a flat round about 1 inch thick.  Cut into circles or desired shapes.  Place on a silpat or parchment and brush with cream.  Bake at 425 degrees for 12 minutes or until the tops are slightly brown.  Cool on a rack.

For the icing, combine the confectioners sugar, buttermilk, lemon juice and remaining lemon zest and stir until smooth.  Refrigerate for about 10 minutes.  Stir before using.

With a fork, drizzle the icing over the cooled scones and let set for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Mmmm...icing!

Mmmm...icing!

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3 Responses to Fresh Recipe: Scones with Lemon Buttermilk Icing

  1. Chris says:

    Awesome! Glad to hear that, because as much as I love to try and use local sources my Dad’s scones are too tasty to significantly alter. I’ll try to get my hands on the freshly milled. I’m sure he’ll love baking with it. 🙂

  2. Chris says:

    Yum! So the soft flour made quite a difference flakiness but did it change the taste at all? Just wondering since my father makes the best scones I’ve ever had and I think it’d be fun to give soft flour a try the next time he makes them.

    • Hi Chris, thanks for the great question. I would compare the flavor to a very light whole wheat, perhaps slightly “nutty,” likely because I didn’t sift the flour. I used it just as the wheat had come out of the mill, so the bran and germ would contribute that flavor. But it doesn’t make so strong a flavor where you need to cover it with the icing, for example. They would have been terrific plain. Give the soft wheat a whirl – he’ll enjoy working with it! If you can’t obtain it freshly milled, a whole wheat pastry flour (which is soft wheat) is in effect similar.

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