Vanilla Bean Scones
Buttery, flakey scones flooded with specks of vanilla beans. Not overly sweet, these Vanilla Bean Scones are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. The ultimate vehicle for Vermont Creamery’s Crème Fraîche with Madagascar Vanilla, these scones are my latest obsession.
On the rare afternoon a few weeks back, I abandoned the laundry and my overflowing inbox and gave into a hankering for scones. The kids were in school and the first three episodes of Downton Abbey had been waiting on my DVR long enough. I decided to ignore the rest of my to do list in lieu of baking scones and then sitting on the couch with said scones right from the oven. I poured a cup of tea, snuggled under a blanket and caught up with my old friends, Lady Mary and Mr Banks.
If you don’t watch Downton (what? really, you don’t?) then feel free to skip to the bottom of this post and grab the recipe. Just because you don’t watch Downton, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a still warm scone slathered with crème fraîche. It does, however, mean that I’m reconsidering our friendship. I mean, seriously, you don’t watch Dowton? For reals, you’re missing out. And we have far less to talk about.
For the rest of you– let’s dish. What do you think of the season so far? I’m digging it even though I’m an episode behind. My heart breaks for Ana and I really hope Bates doesn’t do anything crazy. Thomas is as smarmy as ever and I’m just waiting for him to do something awful. And pretty please can I please go back in time and cook with Mrs Patmore and Daisy for a day? Tom needs to find a good girl or go back to Ireland already. His unrest is making me crazy. Which brings me to lady Cybil. I always thought she left the show because the writers wrote her off but looks like she asked to done. She’s hoping to make on the big screen and has a new movie coming out soon, Winter’s Tale. I’m biased but I think it looks like it’s going to be great; I love anything with Colin Farrell and my husband worked quite a bit on it so we’ll be checking it out for sure.
That’s it for today- just a bunch of tv jibbery. Hope you’re all having a wonderful week. Ditch the chores, make scones and watch the boob tube- I promise it’ll make for a delicious afternoon.
Vermont Creamery sent me a cooler full of butter, goat cheese and crème fraîche but I was in no way compensated to write this post. I just really, REALLY love their products. As I’ve said before, I will work for butter.Print
Vanilla Bean Scones
- Yield: 16 scones 1x
A high altitude recipe for Vanilla Bean Scones that are tender, flakey and buttery perfection.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 egg
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons coarse sugar
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In the base of a food processor, add flour, 6 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse just until it’s mixed together. Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse about 10 times until the flour mixture resembles a coarse meal; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk 1 egg, cream, seeds from the vanilla bean and vanilla extract together until blended.
- Transfer the flour mixture from the food processor into the bowl with the wet ingredients and stir just until combined. I think a wooden spoon works best for this.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, divide the dough in half and form two rounds of dough that are about 6-7 inches in diameter and roughly 3/4″ thick.
- Cut each disk of dough into eighths (pie slices). Place the scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch apart.
- Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg and sprinkle the coarse sugar on top.
- Bake for 17 minutes or until golden.
- Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.
To make these at sea level, increase the baking powder to 1 tablespoon and decrease the cream to 1/2 cup.
Thank you for the nice recipe. Have a Great Day!
These scones look fantastic!
(Love Downton Abbey – Isn’t it Mr. Bates, not Banks?)
Yes- a typo on my part. I wondered how long it would take for someone to comment!
And now I have a very serious hankering for one of these scones! They look perfect.
These look delicious, like the fact that you used real vanilla bean!
I’ve been craving scones ever since you told me about these. Gotta try this recipe! And find some of that creme fraiche too.
Vanilla bean is always a good choice. I will take 2!
Instead of creme fraiche, try real English clotted cream. Let me know if you would like a sample.
was thinking of making these tonight but don’t have heavy cream – how would low fat buttermilk be instead????
Sorry, but buttermilk isn’t a good substitution here.
Could you substitute milk or almond milk for the cream?
The scones really need the fat from the full cream, sorry!
and do I see you whiten your tea?… Heavy cream or ?
Half and half. I don’t think I could ever give it up!
In your recipes what do you consider 1 cup of flour to weigh? On the internet I have read from 4.25 oz to 5.0 which seems like a large variation.
I don’t weigh. I simply scoop flour into a measuring cup with a spoon and then level it off with my finger!
These were delicious! I used my kitchen aid mixer to achieve the coarse meal with the flour and butter mixture and that worked fine. Also, I added a little lemon juice to coarse raw sugar and it made a great topping. I’m glad I separated onto two cookie sheets as they certainly grew bigger with baking. Thank you for the recipe! I bake a ton for the cadets over at the Air Force Academy so I love finding new ideas on your site.
What attachment did you use with your Kitchen Aid Mixer? I’m finding my food processor is too small
thanks for the recipe I just moved to Colorado and I am Struggling with my baking, So I started to look up high altitude recipes that already did the adjustnents for me. I did make make donuts on Fat Tuesday and they turned out pretty good. I will continue to follow you to get some new ideas for my new home.
This site is fantastic! Finally I’ve found great pastries thay look right at high altitude and taste scrumptious.
I’ve made these scones twice now and they are wonderful. I’ve even added brown sugar and cinnamon and they just get better. My problem is the height. I can’t get them to be puffy and full. They always fall flat. Any suggestions? They taste great, but ud like them to look great too. Thanks for doing all the leg work for great high altitude pasteries;)
Are you using really cold butter? That can affect the rise. Also, perhaps try lowering your oven temp 25 degrees and cooking 10 minutes longer. That might help ensure a slower rise so they don’t sink!
Made this between Christmas and New Years in Vail and had the same issue. Pretty confident it was the butter. Either way, they were DELICIOUS! Just wish they had risen a bit more. Will try the decrease by 25 increase by 10 trick!
It’s tough to get a really good rise at high altitude….keep trying!
Just popped these in the oven! Hope they turn out alright, it was a little snug on one cookie sheet. I’ll try dividing into two next time. 🙂
Just made them today – turned out so delicious! Instead of a vanilla bean I used mini chocolate chips to flavor. I’m new to mountain living and have been struggling with baking here. These were so perfect – will be using this recipe again!
One tip – once the scones were formed and on the baking sheet I popped them into the fridge for 10 mins before putting them in the oven to get the butter cold again. So good!
After moving to Denver from Ohio, I’ve struggled with getting baked goods to rise. But these turned out so well! I can’t wait to make them again! Thank you for the high altitude alterations! Now to catch up on downtown season 6…
I’m so happy they turned out! It’s a great base to add whatever you want as well! Happy baking!
As a baker who is still struggling to get baking in Colorado right after moving here, this recipe worked perfectly for me! 6 tablespoons of sugar seemed like a lot though, especially comparing to other scone recipes. I think I’ll decrease a bit next time.
My serving suggestion is with Devon double cream and jam (I like raspberry) or with lemon curd!
I was so excited to find this “high altitude” recipe, since nothing I’ve baked since moving to Denver from Louisiana has turned out. Unfortunately, these didn’t either. I followed the recipe to a T; but like everything else I bake here, they just spread without rising….at all. the taste was excellent, but they were extremely crumbly! so, not a great texture……
Hmmm…Was the butter really cold? That’s so key. If they were crumbly, they might need a tablespoon or two more of liquid. Another issue might be that your oven runs hot. Try trouble shooting these and they should turn out just fine. High altitude baking can be fickle especially because everyone’s oven is different!
Thanks for the feedback! It was helpful; I tried them again today with better results. They were still a little dry, and didn’t rise as much as expected….but I think with just a tiny bit more tweaking here and there I’ll get it. They are so delicious I’m happy to make them over again! I added a bit of cardamom and almond extract into the last batch I made – really good variation! I was wondering….have you ever used, or tried “high altitude” flour in any of your baking? If so, what were the results?
I’m curious how you tweaked them: more liquid? Lower oven temp? Colder butter? All of the above? Going to try these, would really like to get them right the first time. Also, the actual altitude supposedly makes a difference from other sites I’ve read, but I still don’t have it dialed in. I am at about 6900 feet, so quite a bit higher than Denver. Kelley, do you have any input on that? I moved out here from MN about a year ago and have also struggled with baking. So many disappointments! (Not sure I’ll ever try a cake again!)
TIA for any guidance you can give.
I too am just below 7000 feet so I think if you make them as written you’ll be fine. Make sure you’re butter and cream are cold and don’t overwork the dough!
Hi Melanie, I’m in Denver, so I’m probably about 5280 feet and I basically added extra liquid and refrigerate overnight. I cut the recipe in half and make four scones out of it. We’re a family of three, so that woks well for us, we each get one large scone, with one left over. So that being said, for 1/2 recipe I use 1 egg; 1/3 C heavy cream, which is more than in the original recipe. Just barely mix the dry and wet ingredients and to avoid adding extra flour, I turn it out onto plastic wrap, form into a 1/4 inch thick round and refrigerate overnight. In the morning the I cut the round into fourths and put them straight from the refrigerator to the oven. I do have to raise my oven temperature to 425…,but I really think that’s just my oven. 🙂 Good Luck!!
Kelley and Leslie, thanks for the replies. I made them over the weekend as written, careful about having very cold butter, very little mixing, etc. They didn’t raise very much, but that may have been old baking powder. They were absolutely delicious, esp. with my homemade clotted cream. Yummmmmm….I’m going to try them again as written with fresh baking powder and if that doesn’t work then I’ll start experimenting with tweaks.
How do you freeze these? I dont need 16 at one time but I love having scones ready in the freezer. Is it better to freeze the dough ready to cook or cook it and freeze it after?
You can either freeze the scones, fully baked, and gently reheat OR you can freeze the scones, unbaked, and bake as directed adding 2-5 minutes to the baking time to compensate for being frozen!
How would I compensate for add ins, such as currants, diced cherries, or chocolate chips?
Go light on the add-ins and you might need to add a tablespoon or so more of liquid. Bake as directed!
I just moved to New Mexico so I was deathly afraid of high altitude baking. I searched Pinterest and found this recipe. I didn’t have vanilla beans – but had blueberries. Made the recipe as called for except for the vanilla bean. I substituted frozen blueberries and the scones were delicious!! They were so airy! I wasn’t expecting that!
I would recommend this recipe and will be keeping it for further use!
Thank you for sharing this recipe! I made these today because I had extra whipping cream to use up. I’m so glad I did, they were fantastic! I’m at 7800ft and they turned perfect. I split the dough in half, doing half as the recipe is written and the other half I folded in fresh blueberries. This recipe can be used as a base for many yummy variations.