These triple berry buttermilk scones are made with freeze-dried berries and are the perfect way to enjoy fruity scones in the dead of winter when fresh berries are out of season.
You guys! Am I the last person on earth to discover how incredible freeze-dried fruit is? Have you baked with it before?
In her new book, Smitten Kitchen Every Day, Deb ground up freeze-dried strawberries into powder to flavor and naturally color a cake. How ingenious, right?!
I gave freeze-dried fruit a shot sometime last spring when I was craving a triple berry scone from Panera.
I’d had them a number of times before when running short on time for a real breakfast but they’re not a regular menu item so I decided to make them myself.
And I’ll admit to being a little skeptical of using freeze-dried berries in place of fresh or frozen berries. I just didn’t know how they would hold up to baking!
Baking with Fruit – Fresh vs. Freeze-Dried
Unlike blueberries, strawberries give off a lot of liquid and unless you roast them first – and thereby cook out so much of those delicious juices – you’re often in for a wet result.
So I turned to the freeze-dried berry option instead!
And I really, REALLY love how these scones turned out! Those hard and brittle freeze-dried berries soften so nicely in the scones, picking up some of the moisture from the buttermilk.
They add just the right amount of sweetness without being all like “whoa! super sweet!” especially since they taste pretty sweet on their own in their original state.
What to Pair with Your Scones
I realize that tea is the age-old drink to pair with scones but I’m not a tea drinker. When I order a scone from a coffee shop or make them at home, I’m always drinking coffee alongside them, either in the form of hot coffee, cold brew, iced lattes (vanilla or another flavor), or hot lattes.
To me, a hot cup of coffee is THE BEST drink to pair with scones!
- 2 ¼ cups (320 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup well-shaken buttermilk
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 12 tbsp (1 ½ sticks; 170 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into ½ -inch pieces
- 2 cups freeze-dried berries
- Heavy cream for brushing
- Coarse sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Stack two large baking sheets on top of each other and line the top one with parchment paper. This will create an insulated surface for the scones to bake on and prevent the scones from browning too much on the bottom.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, vanilla, egg, and lemon zest together until well-combined.
- Drop the cold butter pieces into the flour and toss lightly to coat with flour. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers. The butter should be about the size of small peas.
- Stir the freeze-dried fruit into mixture, lightly breaking up the larger berries, if desired.
- Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients just until a craggy dough comes together. Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface and fold any loose flour into the dough with your hands.
- Pat the dough into a 12-inch square. Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter from left to right (a dough scraper really helps with these steps). Fold the short ends of the dough into the center in thirds, to form an approximate 4-inch square. Press the dough back into a 12-inch square and repeat from top to bottom. Repeat once more from right to left. Pat the dough into a 12×4-inch rectangle and cut into 4 squares then cut each square in half diagonally into 8 equal-size triangles. Transfer the scones to the baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes or freeze for 5. Brush each scone with heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Bake for 19-24 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes then transfer the scones to the rack to cool for a few more minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Storage: Scones are best on day 1 so I recommend only baking what you plan to eat. You can freeze the cut dough before baking for up to 2 months. Add a couple extra minutes to the bake time when baking from frozen.
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