For the first time ever, my husband and I are staying put for the holidays this year. A new baby will necessitate being home for Thanksgiving, and we're asking family to come to us for Christmas. While I'm excited to begin new traditions in our own city and our own house, I'm already thinking about meals and snacks and making sure we'll have everything ready when people arrive.
The one meal I've got squared away? Breakfast — thanks to these easy make-ahead freeze-and-bake scones.
Now, I'm sure many of you have had frozen scones or muffins before. Perhaps you made extra and weren't able to eat them all, so you froze the leftovers for a rainy day. Well if you're planning in advance for company, an event, or a big meal, you can actually freeze the unbaked scones and pop them into the oven when you're ready for a warm breakfast treat.
Here's my strategy for freezing scones: I slice them, lay them out flat on a baking sheet, and place them in the freezer. After about an hour or so, I remove the scones from the freezer, transfer them to a freezer-safe resealable bag, label them, and call it a day.
There's not much about the recipe that changes when it comes to baking them. Sometimes the scones can take an extra minute or two in the oven, and it's ideal to wait until after they're baked to glaze them.
So while there are many not-so simple things on the to-do list before the holidays arrive this year, I'm happy to report that we've got a few breakfasts under control. Now for the rest of the meals ...
Freeze-and-Bake Lemon Poppy Seed Scones
For the scones:
1 1/4 cups (125 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for forming scones
1 1/4 cups (185 grams) spelt flour (or all-purpose flour)
1/3 cup (65 grams) natural cane sugar (like turbinado)
1/4 cup (35 grams) poppy seeds, plus more to sprinkle on top
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon zest
For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more if needed
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more if needed
Select a baking sheet that will fit inside your freezer; line it with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cubed butter. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, rub or cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles small, coarse peas. It’s okay to have a few larger chunks of butter remaining.
In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add to the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or flat spatula, stir until the dough gathers together in an uneven ball (I actually use my hands at this point) — the dough will be pretty wet. Let the dough sit for 10 minutes to allow the whole-grain flours to soak up a bit of the moisture.
Take out a large wooden board (or use a clean table or counter) and sprinkle generously with flour before turning out the dough onto the surface. With well-floured hands, quickly gather the dough into a ball and pat or push it down so it’s circular in shape and about 1-inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges.
Place the wedges on prepared baking sheet and place in freezer. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Place scones in freezer bag and label. Store in the freezer until ready to bake.
To bake: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Arrange the scones so they're lying flat on the sheet, 2 to 3 inches apart. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tops are lightly brown. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack.
While cooling, prepare the glaze: Stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice with a fork. Adjust consistency with a little more sugar or lemon juice as needed if too thick thin or thick.
Drizzle the glaze over the slightly warm scones with a fork or spread with a pastry brush. Sprinkle with the extra poppy seeds. Allow to cool completely before serving.
- It's best to bake these scones within 2 months of freezing; I find they can get a bit freezer-burned beyond that point.
- This recipe doesn't result in a terribly sweet scone. If you prefer your scones on the sweeter side, feel free to increase the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup instead.