baking breakfast

crème fraîche scones

Thursday, April 17, 2014

mixed berry scones
“How can I find the words? Poets have taken them all and left me with nothing to say or do.”
“Except to teach me for the first time what they meant.”
-Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, Dorothy Sayers: A Busman’s Honeymoon

I’m not one for using expletives much in my day-to-day, but I must admit this past Monday a very loud one flew out of my mouth as my twitter notifications lit up my phone. Somehow, I had won the Reader’s Choice portion of the Saveur Food Blog Awards for Baking and Desserts. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m still pinching myself. It’s a huge honor, a dream come true, and I have you to thank. All you wonderful, lovely readers who took the time to cast a vote my way, thank you so much.

I share the category with the amazing Izy from Top With Cinnamon (who won Editor’s Choice), and I am excited that in just over a month I get to meet her, along with so many other favorite bloggers.

But in the meantime, scones! My family went out Monday night to celebrate with dinner, but I just had to bake something, too. Mixed berries, crème fraîche, and lavender seemed like a good combination, and they might be my favorite scones to date. The berries are tart, the lavender subtle, and the crème fraîche smooth and dreamy, rounding everything out. A perfect way to start the day.

Also, a few things:
Michael Jackson. Amazing.

Great writing advice, all in one place.

The Office Stare Machine.

-I can’t wait for Kimberley’s new book! And, Erin’s too!

-I’m now contributing over at Wit + Delight! You can check out my first post, for Strawberry-Basil Smoothies.

-I also have Chocolate Sugar Cookies up on Handmade Charlotte.

mixed berry scones
Crème Fraîche Scones
From The Vanilla Bean Baking Book by Sarah Kieffer

I had been making scones the same way for years – an adaption of Ina Garten’s Strawberry Scones from her first cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa. However, I changed things up after stumbling upon a genius idea from Cook’s Illustrated. Their scone recipe included folding the dough over several times to create multiple flaky layers. I applied this technique to my tried and true recipe, along with replacing the heavy cream with crème fraîche. Crème fraîche is similar to sour cream, but is less sour and has a more nuanced flavor. These scones bake up tender, with just a hint of tang, and the addition of crème fraîche is divine.

2 ¼ cups (320g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 cup crème fraîche (or you can substitute sour cream)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks; 170 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into ½ -inch pieces
Heavy cream for brushing

Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Stack two baking sheets on top of each other and line the top sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt. In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the crème fraîche, vanilla, and egg.

Add the butter to the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter to cut it into the mixture until the flour-coated pieces are the size of peas. Add the wet ingredients and fold with a spatula until just combined.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until it comes together, 4 to 6 times, adding flour as necessary, as the dough will be sticky. Pat the dough gently into a square and roll it into a 12-inch square (again, using flour as necessary). Fold the dough in thirds, similar to a business letter. Fold the dough into thirds again, making a square. Transfer it to a floured sheet pan or plate and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Return the dough to the floured surface, roll it into a 12-inch square, and fold it business letter style. Place the dough seam side down and gently roll it into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle. With a sharp knife, cut it crosswise into 4 equal rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally into 2 triangles. Transfer the triangles to the prepared baking sheet.

Brush the tops with a little heavy cream, making sure it doesn’t drip down the sides and sprinkle the tops generously with sugar. Bake 18 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the tops and bottoms are light golden brown. Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack and let the scones cool 10 minutes before serving.

Crème Fraîche Scones with Berries: You can add fruit to the scones (as pictured above). Chop the berries into bite-sized pieces. After rolling the dough into a square the second time, scatter 1 cup of berries or berry pieces over the top, pressing them down gently into the dough. If the berries are especially tart or out of season, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over them. Using a bench scraper, loosen the dough from the work surface and roll it into a cylinder, like a jelly-roll log, to help incorporate the berries. Place the cylinder seam side down and press it into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Continue with the recipe.

NOTES: Putting another baking sheet nestled directly underneath the one the scones are on helps keep the bottoms of the scones from browning too quickly before they fully bake. If you like the bottoms extra crisp, you can just use one pan.


  • Reply
    Katrina @ WVS
    Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 11:43 am

    That award DEFINITELY deserves an expletive! So freaking stoked for you girl 🙂

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Sarah, these scones are absolutely STUNNING. Congratulations on the win! You deserve it.

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Congrats girl!! These scones are beautiful! I think a couple of expletives are necessary now and then 😉

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    So lovely. Congrats! I’ll have to try that grate + fold technique.

    Where do you get the lavender?

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Congratulations!! This lovely blog has been my favorite for several years and I am SO happy others have both discovered it and given you your due accolades. Sending love from CA!

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Lavender and berries is one of my all time favourite combinations and scones, my undisputed fave in the breakfast treat department, so this is just perfect. But really? I’m just so excited to finally meet and give you a big hug. (There were a million, highly predictable, expletives when I found out–EEEFFFF!!) xoxoxo

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    These are dreamy. And HUGE congrats on your Saveur win. So very awesome, and well deserved!

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    This technique is so intriguing – I love the different layers you can see in the pictures. I think the technique given in Tartine 3 is very similar (and the only reason I haven’t tried that recipe yet is that their recipe is made with sourdough so I need to wait for my starter to mature). Love the idea of pairing lavender with the berries as well – I like floral flavours but can find them overpowering at times so love the idea of the slightly tart berries to temper that a bit!

    Congrats on the saver award as well, so truly deserved. Your blog is an absolute inspiration and I love how you pair flavours for your recipes!

  • Reply
    Molly @Doughvelopement
    Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    These scones have got me craving summer big time!

  • Reply
    Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    I am beyond excited for you!! You deserve is 120%!! 🙂

    Also, these scones make me so happy! Love them!

  • Reply
    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Congratulations on your win – incredibly well deserved. Also, lavender in scones? Yes please!

  • Reply
    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 2:44 am

    Yippee!! Super massive congratulations Sarah, so well deserved 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    Liesl Made
    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Congratulations on the win, Sarah. Well deserved. 🙂

    These scones look gorgeous and delicious.

  • Reply
    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 8:38 am

    So gorgeous!! I want three of these right now!

  • Reply
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven
    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 9:02 am

    These are so beautiful! And big congratulations!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sandy @ RE
    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Sarah, I love this recipe, and it’s perfect for Easter brunch! And congrats, girl!

  • Reply
    Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Congratulations on you Saveur Food Blog Award – I would to personally invite you to share your gorgeous food photos with us over at Food Foto Gallery . com – In March alone, we had 26,382 visitors to the site & there’s no complicated approval process like the big guys. Any photos related to food (that are not watermarked) are accepted & get posted automatically. We also share our daily faves on social media, giving exposure to food bloggers when we can. Let me know if you have any questions and hope to see you at the site 🙂

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Allison from Baking: A Love Story
    Monday, April 21, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Congratulations! I voted for you!

    How are you not doing an entire post on the Saveur award alone!

    These scones do look delicious and I just made up some lemon curd, so, I’ll probably whip these up today, but let’s talk more about the blog of the year thing! Yay!!!



  • Reply
    Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 6:18 am

    The scones look beautiful – I’ve never tried the butter grating/folding method, but I think I’ll be trying it out soon.. and YAY! congrats Sarah you deserved the win so much 🙂 I’m so excited to meet you & the other finalists next month!!! X

  • Reply
    Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 9:18 am

    SO many congratulations on the award – so well deserved. Everything that you bake is beautiful. Like… these scones. Love that you’ve added a touch of lavender – such a summery touch with the berries.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Kate @ Veggie Desserts
    Monday, April 28, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Congratulations on a well-deserved win. These scones sound so utterly amazing.

  • Reply
    Susan G
    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I am taking a break from flour at the moment (sob) so I will have to wait for the scones, but I am making this lavender sugar right now! Am already dreaming of so many subtly lavender treats. Might even start off with a Lavender/Strawberry Jam inspired by you – thanks!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Oh wow, these look like the ultimate berry scones! I’ve been making a version similar to these, with lemon instead of lavender, but that folding technique looks infinitely superior to mine, and the additions of lavender and crème fraîche? I’m obsessed!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Friday, September 26, 2014 at 11:43 am

    I love your blog and I cannot wait to try these scones. One suggestion, can you make the recipes printer friendly? Or have some way to print them out.

    Thanks and keep up the great work

    • Reply
      Friday, September 26, 2014 at 2:47 pm

      Becky – Oh, I know I need to make these printer friendly! I hope to get to that one day soon; I’m sorry it’s such a pain right now. (And, thanks for the kind words!)

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Jessica Robinson
    Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    The flavor combination of these sounds incredible! On my “to do” list for this week!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Eden Passante
    Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I’m obsessed with scones! This recipe looks amazing! I love cooking with lavender too!

  • Reply
    DC Cook
    Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I finally made these scones and they were amazing. I love your folding method for making scones and I am a total convert. These have a nice berry flavor, the hint of lavender is perfect, and they are not very sweet, so you can taste the richness of the butter/crème fraiche.

  • Reply
    Tashanna Thaxton
    Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Why is the lavender not in this recipe? Mixed berry, creme fraiche and lavender scones with no lavender anywhere in the ingredients list, or the directions. Now I can’t make them.

  • Reply
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