Best in Show Scones
The Ohio State Fair was a summer rite of passage growing up in Columbus. The giant yellow slide. The unveiling of the gigantic butter sculpture. A Schmidt’s Bahama Mama. Fishing at the pond of the Natural Resource Center. Elephant Ears.
I even saw Johnny Cash and June Carter in concert at the fair in my teen years.
As the years went on, I moved away from Ohio, but always made the pilgrimage back each summer - bringing my kids in tow to ride down the slide, eat ice cream from the dairy barn, and fish in the same pond. Until COVID, my boys had never missed a year of July heat at the fairgrounds since birth.
Several years ago, before opening a bakery, I won the coveted Best in Show ribbon at the Ohio State Fair for my scones. Goat cheese, caramelized onion, and fig scones, to be exact. I have always been a self-taught home baker, never trained professionally, and scones - while seemingly straightforward, are not. They are abstruse at best.
A scone is not a biscuit and therefore should not flake like one. While it is slightly drier than a biscuit, when done to perfection, should not taste dry at all.
The best scone I’ve had was in Somerset, England at the tail end of a castle tour, at dusk, in their makeshift greenhouse bakery. While I could be mixing up the feelings of being in such a ridiculously fairytale moment while also simultaneously eating a scone, I will spend the rest of my baking days trying to recreate those delectable bites.
Here is a recipe for a basic scone. Adding more flavor is up to you. Citrus zest, dried fruits, cheeses, meats, chocolate, and herbs really give you the sky's-the-limit access to this scone merrymaking.
Best in Show Scones
500g AP flour
28g Baking Powder
125g Butter, Room temperature
185g whole milk
100g dried fruit
50g additional dried ingredient
1 Tbsp. herbs
1 Tbsp. zest
3 cups AP flour
1 cup Sugar
Scant 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
1 stick Butter, Room temperature
¾ cup whole milk
½ cup dried fruit/chocolate
1 Tbsp herbs
1 Tbsp zest
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter. Mix on medium speed until the mixture develops a sandy texture. Transfer the bowl to the refrigerator and allow the mixture to rest for an hour.
Return the bowl to the mixer. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk and eggs. With the machine running on low speed, gently pour the egg mixture into the flour and butter mixture and mix until it has just come together. Add any dried fruit, herbs, or zest to the dough and mix until just combined. If adding chocolate, add that last.
On a lightly floured surface, gently knead the dough, shaping it into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for an hour.
Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and place it on a work surface that has been lightly dusted with flour.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough disk into a 10” circle. Cut 12 wedges or use a round cutter and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Allow the scones to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before baking them. Use this time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Before baking, make an egg wash of 1 whisked egg and 2 Tbsp. of milk.
Whisk until smooth.
Brush the top of each scone generously with the egg mixture and sprinkle (optional) with demerara or sand sugar before baking. Bake for 10 minutes.