These are my favorite herbal scones. I like them because of the low sugar. I do not like foods that are super sweet. It is just the right sweetness to counter balance the herbs. Although any herb and any nut can be used, I mostly use the Lemon Thyme that I grow in my garden and hand to dry. It is one of my favorite herbs. I have tried basil scones and do not like them. Lemon balm is also good, but it is more in the mint family and I grow it and like it as an evening tea. My favorite nut is pecan and I make this with pecans or almonds sometimes, but the nut that seems to go together with Lemon Thyme the best is walnuts.
I buy this expensive Creme Fraiche (Vermont brand) to top the scone as it is so British like clotted creme. At first I did not like it, but now it has grown on me. It is more like a fancy butter.
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
Fresh lemon zest (I do not measure, just use a grater all over a lemon and use what you have.)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts (or other favorite nut)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped Lemon Thyme (or other favorite herb)
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold heavy whipping cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Place parchment paper on baking pan. I like to use the pre-cut parchment paper and I have a large round cast iron flat pan that I love to bake on.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt.
Next comes the butter. I do butter for scones in two ways. Sometimes I freeze it and use a grater to make the butter into wispy thin pieces. Sometimes I merely use a knife on a cutting board and chop it up as small as possible. Cutting butter with a pastry blender is frustrating for me and I find these tips help to make the butter pieces small enough they almost mix right in without much pastry blender work.
Stir in the lemon thyme and walnuts (or other herb and nut combination).
Measure creme into a liquid measuring cup and then use this cup to mix in the extracts to blend. Pour into flour mixture. I use a fork pushing the mixture into the sides of a bowl, as I turn the bowl, to combine everything. There is no need for a noisy electric mixer in the early morning hours to disturb guests.
If the dough is dry and does not come together slightly, then add a little more cream.
Flour the counter (or other kneading surface) and the rolling pin. Knead the dough together and then roll it out to about 3/4 inch thickness. Cut scones into whatever your mood for the day. I love very small scones and often use a 1-inch round cutter. Fluted cutters are fun. Square is fun. Place scones onto parchment paper. It is okay if they are close together. Gather up the dough and roll it out again, continuing to cut until all dough as been cut and onto the parchment paper.
Brush the tops of the scones with some more whipping cream and lightly sprinkle some sugar on the top. This step is optional, but I feel it makes the scones a little something special. For a holiday, maybe sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkle with some herbs.
Bake for 20 minutes.
I also will freeze the scones a few small ones to a baggies for a grab and go treat.