It’s been a grey morning over here in Toronto, Canada, and it doesn’t seem like the sun will be making an appearance today. So, why not make scones to cheer up the family? I know what you’re thinking – scones, again? Can’t you make anything else, Patricia? No. Not really. Scones are my fail proof items to make. I’ve never messed one up…except for the very first time when I mistook salt for sugar, but otherwise, I’ve never made a bad scone. I mean, it’s just flour, sugar and butter, how can you go wrong? You can’t. Not even when it comes to Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery‘s Cinnamon Honey Scones.
Despite Keller’s name being quite prominent on the book cover, most of the recipes from Bouchon Bakery comes from Sebastien Rouxel, Bouchon’s Executive Pastry Chef. (Keller makes an appearance here and there with a few cookie recipes and posing as a handsome man kneading dough.) As expected, coming from both Keller and Rouxel, the recipes are very particular. There’s a strong emphasis on weighing all your ingredients, including your eggs. Working clean and in an orderly fashion is another point that’s constantly emphasized throughout the book. The recipe details are a tad extensive. But, surprisingly enough, the notes don’t come across as off putting or daunting. It actually felt encouraging.
These scones were the most laborious scones ever made. It called for cake flour, which I didn’t have, and I ended up making it at home. (See how to make your own cake flour here.) It also asked for creme fraiche, which I didn’t have either. A substitute was made with a mix of sour cream and milk. The cinnamon honey cubes had to be made in advance as well. Then, once mixed, you freeze the scones overnight. They can be frozen for up to a month, which makes all the work worth it.
Bouchon Bakery’s Cinnamon Honey Scones
yields 12 scones
Cinnamon Honey Cubes
All purpose flour – 30 grams or 3 tablespoons
Granulated sugar – 30 grams or 2 1/2 tablespoons
Ground cinnamon – 4 grams or 1 1/2 teaspoons
Cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes – 30 grams or 1 once
Clover honey – 20 grams or 1 tablespoon
Plain scone dough
All purpose flour – 152 grams or 1 cup + 11/2 tablespoons
Cake flour – 304 grams or 21/4 cups + 2 tablespoons
Baking powder – 12.5 grams or 2/12 teaspoons
Baking soda – 2.5 grams or 1/2 teaspoons
Granulated sugar – 91 grams or 1/4 cup + 31/2 tablespoons
Cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces – 227 grams or 8 onces
Heavy cream, plus more for brushing – 135 grams or 1/2 cup + 1/2 tablespoon
Creme fraiche – 135 grams or 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons
Honey Butter Glaze (optional)
Clarified Butter – 4 grams or 3 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
Clover honey – 20 grams or 1 tablespoon
For the cinnamon honey cubes:
Place flour in a medium bowl. Sift in the sugar and cinnamon and whisk to combine. Toss in the butter cubes, coating them in the dry mixture. Using your fingertips, break up the butter until there are no large visible pieces. Using a spatula, mix in the honey to form a smooth paste.
Press the paste into a 4-inch square on a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and freeze until solid, about 2 hours. (The paste can be frozen up to 1 week.)
For the scones:
Place the all purpose flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and sift in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and granulated sugar. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest setting for about 15 seconds to combine. Stop the mixer, add the butter, and on the lowest setting pulse to begin incorporating the butter. Increase the speed to low and mix for about 3 minutes to break up the butter and incorporate it into the dry mixture. If any large pieces of butter remain, stop the mixer, break them up by and, and mix just until incorporated.
With the mixer running, slowly pour in the cream. Add the creme fraiche and mix for about 30 seconds until all the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough comes together around the paddle. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle and pulse again to combine.
Cut the cinnamon honey paste into 1/4 inch cubes. Once the scone dough is mixed, mix in the cubes by hand. Mound the dough on the work surface and, using the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together. Place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and press it into a 7 1/2 by 10 inch block, smoothing the top. Press the sides of your hands against the sides of the dough to straighten the edges. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours, until firm.
Line up a baking sheet with parchment paper of silpat. Using a chef’s knife, cut the block of dough lengthwise into thirds and then crosswise into quarters. Cover with a plastic wrap and freeze until frozen solid, at least 12 hours, but preferably overnight. (The scones can be in the freezer for up to 1 month.)
Preheat the oven to 325F (convection) or 350F (standard). Line a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper.
Arrange the frozen scones 1 inch apart on the sheet pan. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes in a convection oven, or 28 to 30 minutes in a standard oven, until golden brown.
For the glaze:
Stir the butter and honey together in a butter warmer or a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the butter has melted and combined with the honey.
As soon as you remove the scones from the oven, brush the top with the glaze. Set the sheet pan on a cooling rack and cool completely.