Anatomy of a Baking Recipe (Mock Vanilla Scones)

I love quick and easy recipes to keep our home going in the morning.

I am also a big fan of America’s Test Kitchen.  Probably because I am a closet geek.

They have a fabulous recipe called “Quick and Easy Cream Biscuits”.

The secret ingredient is:

Heavy Whipping Cream

Well, this recipe is an adaptation of that one.  I call it


First, you WHISK together some

  • flour ~ gives the scone density; contributes carbohydrates and protein
  • sugar ~ aside from a bit of sweetening, it helps keep the flour from making it too dense
  • baking powder ~ gives the scone lift through
  • 1. chemical reaction (baking soda + acid that combines when the powder gets wet)
  • 2. heat reaction
  • salt ~ intensifies any flavor including the vanilla

Notice the kitchen scale. It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools. It saves LOTS of time and MESS.  Just plunk on your bowl and zero the scale and you’re ready to go!

Once you have whisked together all those dry ingredients, you can re-zero your scale and pour in the

cream ~ adds the liquid and the fat (so you don’t have to use butter)

Throw in a little vanilla while you’re at it!

If you want to make some tea in the meantime, then just pour in the liquids, make some tea, and then come back to fold the batter.

Winter’s Dream from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is my favorite winter tea!  It makes a whole pot from one sachet.

I think waiting a minute somehow helps the flour to absorb the liquid before I stir.  Just a few folds with a spatula will incorporate all the liquid.  DO NOT OVERMIX!

Next, I pull out my trusty “disher” AKA ice cream scooper. I scoop out the dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and pop it in the oven.

After they’re finished baking, my little kids each get a few scones in a plastic bowl in the stroller while we walk to school!  They’re as good as real scones with 10% of the work!

Mock Vanilla Scones

(adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

  • 2 cups (10 oz) flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar (about 1 3/4 oz)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream (12 oz)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional: butter or jam to serve

Preheat oven to 400*F

Measure, then whisk dry ingredients in a bowl until blended.  Pour liquid ingredients into the bowl and let sit a minute or two.  Using a silicone spatula, fold the liquid and dry ingredients together until fully moistened, about 30 sec.

Scoop onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake 10 – 15 minutes until lightly browned on top.  Serve immediately plain or with butter or jam.