I love nostalgic recipes. This recipe for Berry Almond Scones takes be back to a restaurant that used to be here in Salt Lake, the Cocoa Cafe. It was owned by a friendly Norweigan guy, just looking to live the simple life, enjoying family, cooking the foods he loved and making a living to support it all. Unfortunately, the Cocoa Cafe isn’t around any more but I still dream about their fluffy berry scones and rich hot chocolate.
I’ve tried replicating the Cocoa Cafe’s scones a few times. A friend of mine snagged the recipe (hand written on a torn napkin) from an old employee of theirs. It was fun to feel a bit clandestine, tracking down this long lost recipe and testing it out together. But we discovered there were a few problems with the secret recipe, it was for an enormous batch and used European measurements, so when we quartered the recipe it just didn’t turn out the same as at the old cafe. Since then I’ve been trying to find a recipe that would stand a chance against those fluffy scones in my memory. Sometimes food memories just can’t be replicated! But finally, I found just the one… and let me just tell you, these may even go beyond the scones at the Cocoa Cafe.
These scones are sweet and buttery, busting at the seams with a variety of juicy berries, and perfectly tender. Many scone recipes call for heavy cream, which I thought might be irreplaceable for a good scone but the mixture of the thick almond milk and creamy Greek yogurt made for perfect healthy replacements. You won’t miss the heavy cream one bit. Also, the mixture of whole wheat pastry flour and regular flour makes for a good balance. If you just have regular flour just use two cups. I wouldn’t advise using regular wheat flour or using all whole wheat pastry flour though. I always try to make healthy substitutions that don’t take away from the flavor of the recipe. And with this recipe I think the healthy ingredients only make them better. The scones are almost magical when you enjoy them hot right out of the oven!
I have had fun recently coming up with a series of ‘best recipes,’ taking time to find my favorite for some kitchen staples. Here are a few of my favorites so far: Best Granola Recipe, Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, Best Blueberry Muffin Recipe, Best Vegan Cookies, and Best Bran Muffin Recipe. Of course, all of these are subject to my preferences which you may disagree with but none-the-less, they are tried and true! What best recipes do you keep up your sleeve?
A simple, tried-and-true, Berry Scone Recipe.
- 8 Tb 1 stick butter, cold, plus 1 Tb melted, use cold coconut oil for vegan substitute
- 1 cup frozen mixed berries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup milk, almond milk also works here
- ½ cup Greek yogurt, vegan sour cream or vegan yogurt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, or substitute for more all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- tools: pastry scraper, optional
Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat to 425˚ F. Grate the frozen butter on the holes of a large box grater.
Whisk together the almond milk and Greek yogurt in a medium bowl; refrigerate until needed. In another bowl, combine the flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and almonds in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
Add the milk-yogurt mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined. Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead with well floured hands, 6-8 times. Add small amounts of flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Fold the dough into thirds like a business letter (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. Transfer the dough to a plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Return the dough to the floured work surface and roll into an approximately 12-inch square again. Sprinkle the berries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down so that they are slightly embedded in the dough surface. Fold up the edges of the dough up so that all of the berries are concealed inside the dough. The dough should resemble a ball. Flatten the dough and gently form into a circle (about 7 inches by 7 inches). Using a sharp, floured knife, or a sharp dough scraper/chopper cut the circle into 8 equal triangles (like pie wedges). Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with sugar or more sliced almonds. Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden brown, 18-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at 10 minutes before serving. If you can wait that long!
If freezing ahead of time, flash freeze on the baking sheet for 20 minutes, then wrap individually and store in a freezer bag until needed. And just to clarify, I used all of the ingredients listed, the ones in parenthesis are ideas for substitutes. If you use a substitute please let me know how then turn out!