photos by Angelina Marie
If you’ve traveled in Great Britain or, well, watched any television program that includes coronations, teatime, or British baking, you’ve been introduced to the scone. It’s a classic of British cuisine. Denser and richer than a southern biscuit, a perfect scone is equally crumbly and moist. Making them from scratch can be a little tricky.
For step-by-step tips, we turned to Nate Green, who with his wife, Liz, is the proprietor of Starlight Canyon Bed & Breakfast. This delightful collection of cabins is located in the Palisades, an upper branch of Palo Duro Canyon west of Lake Tanglewood. Starlight’s picturesque cabins are built around a historic 1930s stone lodge, which was designed by architect Guy Carlander and built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It’s a Texas Historic Landmark and once served as the concession building for visitors to Palisades State Park.
Liz and Nate bought the property in 2013, after returning to the Panhandle from careers in Colorado’s hospitality industry. The couple met at Keystone Ski Resort, where Nate worked in high-end restaurants. “I did everything from working in the kitchen to hosting, waiting tables, [and] bartending,” he says. “But before all that, my mom is a really good cook and fed me well. After I moved out, I had to feed myself.” He taught himself to cook.
At Starlight, Liz’s hospitality education and Nate’s kitchen background combine to create a romantic getaway. On weekdays, guests enjoy a continental breakfast—delivered to their rooms—built around Nate’s homemade cinnamon rolls, along with hot cooked breakfasts on weekends. Lately he’s introduced scones to the breakfast menu, much to guests’ delight.
He rotates flavors from the lemon-blueberry scones in this recipe to cranberry-orange scones and decadent strawberries-and-cream scones. “They’ve been really popular,” Nate says.
With a shrug, he underplays the product. “They’re kind of just like a biscuit with fruit in it,” he says of his scones. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Nate graciously shared his step-by-step instructions for making scones at home. Give it a try, and if it doesn’t work, just book a room at Starlight.
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup butter
⅓ cup Greek yogurt
⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
To start, cut the butter into quarter-inch pieces and put it in the freezer ahead of time. “You want little pieces of butter worked through the dough that haven’t melted,” he says. That’s the secret to a scone’s perfectly flaky texture.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Nate prefers a specially designed zester, which is easier to clean and manage than a larger grater.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg and combine yogurt, cream and vanilla. Then cut chilled butter into the flour mixture with a dough blender. It’s important to handle the frozen butter as little as possible. “I don’t touch it with my hands at all,” he says.
Next, add the wet ingredients and stir together until a crumbly dough forms. Smash the dough together into a ball and, using a cutting board, flatten the dough to about ½ to 1 inch thick.
Spread the blueberries onto the dough and press in lightly. Nate prefers frozen blueberries. “If you use fresh berries, freeze them first,” he says.
With a dough scraper, fold the dough in half, flatten it again, then fold in half again, 90 degrees from the first fold. Repeat the folding and flattening process four times, then use the scraper to help flatten the dough into a 9- by 9-inch square.
Next, cut grid lines in the square to make 3- by 3-inch individual squares. Keeping the dough pieces together, cut diagonally one way across the squares to make triangles. Use the dough scraper to transfer triangles to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Again, touch the mixture as little as possible, and allow equal distances between triangles. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tops of the scones are just starting to turn brown. Remove and transfer to a cooling rack.
Mix the icing after your scones have cooled. Nate admits icing can be a personal preference and is more of an art than a science. In his words, start with “a good amount of powdered sugar” in a mixing bowl, along with juice squeezed from a single lemon. Mix it together. “We like our icing to be the consistency of spreadable cream cheese as we spread it over each scone individually,” he says. “Some like to have a more liquid mixture and prefer to drizzle the icing on.” Whatever your preference, adjust the consistency with the amount of powdered sugar in relation to the lemon juice.
Liz and Nate Green