Monday, July 11, 2011

Vanilla Wishes and Sour Cream Dreams

Vanilla Sour Cream Scones with Blueberries and Whipped Cream
Hands down, the best summer desserts include fresh berries and the simpler, the better. My favorite way is right out of the basket and into my mouth. But, for a slightly more involved preparation, a great shortcake recipe never fails to impress. For a while now, I had been musing over a twist on my favorite scone recipe and came up with this slightly sweet, vanilla-spiked biscuit. Without the blueberries and whipped cream, it's perfect alongside your morning coffee or afternoon tea. As a shortcake, it hits the perfect meal-ending note after a summer time dinner with friends.

- 2 c. flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 8 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder 
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp. good quality vanilla
- 2/3 c. sour cream
- 1-2 Tbsp. cold milk
- 2 c. fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked over
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- juice from one lemon
- fresh whipped cream

Preheat oven  to 400˚F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar, and baking powder until well combined. Work in cold butter with a pastry blender or two forms until it is broken up and a slightly crumbly mixture forms. Add sour cream, vanilla, and egg and mix together until it is just blended. If mixture is too dry work in 1-2 Tbsp. of cold milk to form a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead briefly with floured hands. Roll dough into a 1 1/2" thick rectangle and cut out scones into eight squares. Place in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake scones for 9-12 minutes until they have risen and are just barely beginning to turn brown on the tops. Remove from baking sheet with a spatula and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container before serving. These can be made up to two days ahead.

 Prepare the blueberries by placing them in a medium sized bowl and drizzle with honey and lemon juice. Stir gently to combine ingredients and allow them to sit for 10-15 minutes to soften slightly. Assemble the shortcakes by splitting the scones lengthwise down the center. Top the bottom half with a dollop of whipped cream and a scoop of blueberries. Top with the other half of the scone and add a little more whipped cream and blueberries on top. Enjoy with your favorite dessert wine, tea, or whatever your pallet craves.

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