I’ve made traditional scones for years as a breakfast treat. They are quick, easy to make from scratch, and oh! so good. However, when I found this recipe for oatmeal scones in Cook’s Illustrated (September and October 2003), it was my lucky day. I really love these tasty devils. The trick is to toast the oatmeal before incorporating it into the batter.
- 1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats
- ¼ cup whole milk (I've used 2% milk just fine)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg
- 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- Coarse sugar for topping.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Spread oats evenly on a baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant and lightly browned, about 7-10 minutes, stirring twice; cool.
- Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- When oats are cooled, measure out two tablespoons and set aside.
- Whisk milk, cream and egg in a large measuring cup.
- Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.
- Scatter cubed butter over the top of the dry ingredients and with your fingers, a fork or a wire pastry blender incorporate until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
- Stir in cooled oats.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in all but a tablespoon of the liquid ingredients until large clumps form; continue gently folding until dough forms cohesive mass.
- Dust work surface with reserved oats and a little flour.
- Turn wet dough (it will be damper than you'd expect!) onto surface and gently pat into a 7-inch circle about 1 inch thick.
- Using a bench scraper or chef's knife, cut dough into 8 wedges and set about 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet, reshaping as needed.
- Brush tops of scones with reserved liquid and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake until golden brown, 12 -14 minutes.
- Cool scones on baking sheet on wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove scones to cooling rack and cool to room temperature (so they won't fall apart), about 20 minutes.
Watch the oats carefully so that they don’t burn, and give them a stir now and then. While they are achieving all that wonderful toastiness, combine the cold butter and the dry ingredients until it looks like coarse cornmeal.
The batter will be suspiciously wet; don’t be alarmed. The dry oatmeal will soak it all up as the scones bake, and it all works out happily in the end. However it will be a little difficult to cut the scones and transfer them to the baking sheet; a little reforming might need to take place, but that’s okay. Bake until golden brown.
The scones will be brittle until they cool, so let them sit for about twenty minutes or so (if you can!) before serving. If you are serving these to guests or as part of a larger breakfast, this waiting time can be a good thing… most other scones want to be served hot from the oven and leave you no time to do extras.
Oatey scones are wonderful plain, with sweet butter, or (my absolute favorite) with mascarpone cheese and fresh fruit. The wholesome toasted grain flavor of the scones make a fabulous backdrop to the fresh plain flavor of the cheese and the sweet/tart flavor of fresh strawberries, peaches, plums, or whatever you have.