Despite its title, Somewhere in France is a novel with its feet firmly grounded in England—and what could be more English than afternoon tea? These scones are the perfect accompaniment to an elegant gathering, although they are also delicious at breakfast with berries and whipped cream. This recipe yields one dozen small scones but can easily be doubled if you’re expecting a crowd.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen (very important!)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
White sugar for rolling, about 1/3 cup
1) Preheat oven to 425 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat mats.
2) In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Using a hand grater, grate the frozen butter into the dough, mixing with a fork as you go, until all the butter is grated in and the mixture is a gravelly consistency.
3) In a small bowl, stir together the egg yolk, vanilla, and yogurt. Make a well in the centre of the butter-flour mixture and stir in the yogurt mixture. Using your hands, gently mix together until a soft dough forms, adding a few drops of water if necessary.
4) Turn out onto a work surface or board that has been lightly sprinkled with white sugar. Gently smooth and fold dough, using more sugar if necessary as an aid to prevent sticking, and shape into a cohesive mass. Let rest two minutes.
5) Place approximately 1/3 cup white sugar in a saucer or small, shallow bowl. Pat dough into a rectangle that is about an inch thick. Cut into six squares, then cut each square diagonally in half. As each triangle of dough is cut, press it into the sugar, making sure each surface is well-covered with sugar. Space evenly on cookie sheet.
6) Bake until the tops of the scones are a pale golden colour, with some darker areas at the edges where the sugar has caramelized, about 15-17 minutes.
7) Serve warm. If there are any leftovers, store at room temperature for no more than a day. Reheat before serving in a 300 F oven or in toaster (split in half horizontally before toasting).
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Happy baking, book clubs!