The simple act of cutting cold butter into flour creates the base for some very special baked goods:
Biscuits, pies, tarts… And fluffy scones!
Inspiration abounds from the plain foundations of these tantalizing treats, all resting upon the creativity and specific taste preferences of the baker as well as the availability of fresh, seasonal ingredients.
An empty pie shell can be filled with spiced sweet apples and cream cheese in the fall, biscuits can be used to top chicken stew in the winter, and a tart with caramelized onion, gruyere cheese, and bell peppers can be served and devoured at a spring brunch gathering.
But the summertime unleashes even more flavor possibilities – like my incredible blackberry scones, bursting with fresh seasonal fruit!
With some chubby blackberries in my fridge, left over from a summery meat and cheese board I assembled a few days earlier for an outdoor party, I came up with the genius idea to combine soft and buttery scones with the juicy fruit.
And here we are, together again – another delicious recipe awaits you.
It’s important that you do your best to minimize the amount of juice pressed out of the blackberries by ensuring gentle, mindful handling of both fruit and dough – which I’ll explain more thoroughly in the Cooking by the Numbers section, so keep reading!
This is the simple strategy to ensure your homemade scones stay light and fluffy without too much excess moisture seeping out from the blackberries.
But a little juice mixed throughout the dough is fine, and it’s quite pretty, actually!
If the plump pieces of dark purple fruit are not enough on their own to beautify the scones, a swirling tie-dye effect with just a touch of the deeply colored liquid mixed throughout will help them to win first prize at the pageant, capturing the hearts of even the most judgmental eaters.
But let’s face it – though these scones take the crown, we’re all winners when we bake something sweet from scratch for a special breakfast indulgence!Print
Studded with plump, juicy fruit, you can bake these delicious blackberry scones for breakfast, brunch, or a relaxing coffee break.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 6 ounces (1 1/4 cups) blackberries, halved if large
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 cup coarse or raw sugar, for sprinkling
- Grate the frozen butter over a small bowl using the coarse side of a box grater. Transfer to the freezer uncovered to chill for 10 minutes.
- Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk 1/2 cup buttermilk, the egg, and the vanilla extract together in a small bowl and set this aside as well.
- Add the grated butter to the flour mixture. Cut the butter into the flour mix with a pastry cutter or two butter knives until the butter is evenly incorporated and the dry mixture forms some very small, pea-sized crumbs.
- Using your hands or a spatula, gently mix in the blackberries until evenly distributed without crushing the fruit.
- Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients. Gently mix everything together by hand or with a spatula, just until a slightly crumbly dough starts to form. The fruit will release some juice.
- Dump the contents of the bowl onto a clean countertop dusted with a little flour. With floured hands, being careful not to crush the blackberries, gently press and knead the dough into a solid mass, creating a 7-inch-wide disc. If the dough is very sticky, lightly dust the dough, counter, and your hands with more flour and continue working.
- With a sharp chef’s knife dusted with flour, cut the circle into 8 even wedges.
- Place the portioned dough on a large flat plate or platter, leaving some room between each piece, and transfer to the refrigerator uncovered. Chill for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until very cold and slightly stiff to the touch.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a half-size baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- After refrigerating, transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet, arranged about 2 inches apart. Using a pastry brush, use the remaining tablespoon of buttermilk to brush the top of each piece with a thin layer. Lightly sprinkle the tops with the coarse sugar.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring the scones to a cooling rack. Enjoy while still warm or at room temperature.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Scones
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keywords: scones, blackberry
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Freeze, Grate, and Refreeze the Butter
For a soft and tender scone that holds its shape, incorporating cold, grated butter into the dry ingredients is a key trick.
Cold butter will melt as the scones bake, releasing steam and creating a tender, flaky crumb. And starting with frozen butter will help it stay colder longer as it is being incorporated into the dry mix.
Rather than cutting in larger cubes of butter, like what you would typically do for flaky pie crusts, grating the butter first into finer pieces has its perks.
Fine, feathery pieces of cold butter will more evenly, easily, and quickly incorporate into the dry mix. This helps foster a tender crumb, and will prevent the scones from spreading excessively as they bake.
For this step, freeze your butter thoroughly before you grate – make sure it has been in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
Grate the frozen butter using the coarse side of a box grater.
During this process, the butter will have softened slightly, so it is important to transfer the bowl to the freezer uncovered for about 10 minutes to help reharden the fat before you proceed with the recipe.
Step 2 – Prep and Measure Out the Remaining Ingredients
While the grated butter is in the freezer, you can prepare the remaining ingredients.
You can measure all of the dry ingredients directly into a large bowl, and whisk everything together until completely and evenly incorporated.
Rinse and thoroughly dry the blackberries. Six ounces is the weight of a typical small container of blackberries sold at the grocery store.
For this recipe, try to seek out smaller blackberries. If they are on the larger side, you should halve them, as larger berries will be more difficult to knead into the dough.
Keep in mind that sliced blackberries will release more juice – so be even more careful when you are mixing them into the dough. This is yet another reason to try and buy fruit in a smaller size if you can!
Measure out 1/2 cup of buttermilk into a small bowl, and set aside an additional tablespoon in a small bowl in your fridge for later use.
Crack one large egg into a separate bowl, checking and removing any shell fragments before transferring it to the bowl with the buttermilk. Measure the vanilla extract into the same bowl, and whisk to combine.
Set aside 1/8 cup of coarse or raw, unrefined sugar for later use.
Step 3 – Cut Butter into Dry Ingredients
Remove the grated butter from the freezer and add to the bowl with the dry flour mixture.
Using a pastry cutter or two butter knives, cut the butter into the dry mix until it’s evenly incorporated. Some very small, pea-sized crumbs will remain.
Step 4 – Mix in Fruit
Add the blackberries to this mixture, and gently stir until they are evenly distributed.
While you can use a spatula or pliable bench scraper for this step, I prefer to use my hands, so I can more gently mix the berries around in the mixture without crushing them or releasing more liquid.
Step 5 – Mix in Wet Ingredients
Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients.
Like you did in the last step, you can use a spatula or pliable bench scraper to mix everything together, but using your hands will help give you better control while carefully handling the berries.
Gently mix just until a crumbly dough starts to form, being careful not to overmix. Inevitably, some juice from the fruit will be released – and that’s completely fine!
Step 6 – Form Disc
Dump the contents of the bowl onto a clean countertop dusted with a little flour to prevent sticking.
With floured hands, gently press and knead the crumbly dough into a solid mass, trying to avoid applying any excessive forceful weight.
You don’t want to develop a tough dough, which can be caused by overkneading. And you still want to avoid releasing too much liquid from the fruit, which will create a soggy dough.
Form a disc that is roughly 7 inches in diameter. The dough will be close to 1 inch thick.
If you are having trouble with a sticky dough, lightly dust the dough, counter, and your hands with more flour and continue working, using more flour if necessary.
Step 7 – Cut into Wedges and Chill
Place the portioned dough on a large flat plate or platter, leaving some room between each, and transfer to the refrigerator uncovered.
Chill for 45 minutes to 1 hour – you want the dough to be very cold! It should be slightly stiff to the touch after chilling when you gently press down on the top.
Chilling before baking is another preventive technique to reduce spreading, as you are chilling and hardening the butter again and bringing all of the other ingredients down to a colder temperature.
Step 8 – Brush with Buttermilk, Sprinkle with Sugar, and Bake
Transfer the chilled dough to the prepared baking sheet, positioning the pieces about 2 inches apart from one another so they can bake evenly without touching.
Set out the remaining tablespoon of buttermilk from the refrigerator as well as the coarse sugar.
Use a pastry brush to brush the tops with a very thin layer of buttermilk, and lightly sprinkle each one with coarse sugar.
Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top.
Step 9 – Cool Slightly and Serve
When the scones are baked fully, promptly remove the baking sheet from the oven. Allow the scones to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Serve them while they are still warm or at room temperature.
Scones are best enjoyed soon after baking, and they won’t keep well beyond the day they are baked. They lose the texture of their crisp tops and edges fairly quickly!
How Should I Serve Them?
The crunchy coating of coarse sugar might be all some diners need for a satisfactory pastry experience, but you have more toys to try in the vast playroom of serving suggestions here.
So let’s have some fun with the following additional edible baubles!
After they have cooled completely, drizzle them with a powdered sugar glaze. The assorted warming spices like ground nutmeg, allspice, and ginger in our spiced glaze recipe will provide a delectable contrast to the sweet, slightly tart berries.
If a scrumptious spread is what you’re craving, you can always – always! – rely upon a smear of softened unsalted butter.
And as a last suggestion, homemade lemon curd will provide a lip-puckering layer of flavor.
Will you serve your warm scones with a sweet spread or softened butter, or do you prefer them plain and simple? Let’s chat in the comment section below!
If you adore blackberries, we’re excited to share more recipes celebrating this juicy fruit that you can make for your next warm-weather gathering:
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 11, 2014. Last updated on July 17, 2023.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.