These Lemon Cherry Scones Are Equal Parts Fancy and Simple

Scones don’t have to be dry and crumbly. These lemon and cherry scones from the Institute of Culinary Education come out cakey and tender every time.
You don't have to organize a full afternoon tea service to enjoy these scones.
You don't have to organize a full afternoon tea service to enjoy these scones. / The Institute of Culinary Education

Scones are a staple of the classic afternoon tea spread. Though they can make for a luxurious treat, baking them from scratch doesn’t have to be fussy or expensive. This recipe from the Institute of Culinary Education is made from simple ingredients, and it comes together in just a few easy steps.

There are no complicated tricks required to making these lemon, cornmeal, and dried cherry scones at home. Pauline Balboa Pelea, chef-instructor of Pastry & Baking Arts at ICE, developed a recipe to ensure your scones come out of the oven soft and moist rather than dry and crumbly.

“It should be tender on the inside,” she tells Mental Floss. “Usually I prefer scones eaten almost straight out of the oven—still warm. Ideally it depends on the type of scone, but for me it should still be moist, it shouldn’t be dry.”

To prepare the scones, combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat in the cold, cubed butter using the paddle attachment. Once you have a consistency resembling coarse cornmeal, add the combined mixture of the eggs, milk, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Continue to beat until the dough comes together, taking care not to overwork it. Dough that’s been handled too much can become tough, and treating it gently will result in a soft, tender bite.

With a cookie scoop, dollop the dough onto a baking sheet and let it chill in the refrigerator while the oven preheats. Brush the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar before baking at 400°F until the tops are golden brown—about 10 to 15 minutes.

The Institute of Culinary Education caters to students from around the world out of its campuses in Los Angeles and New York City. To learn more about their courses in the culinary arts, pastry arts, and hospitality and hotel management, check out their curricula on their website.

Lemon Cornmeal Scones With Dried Cherries

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup (4 tbsp) butter, cold
1 cup dried cherries
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
Heavy cream for brushing

  1. Add all-purpose flour, yellow cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Cut the cold butter into 1-inch cubes and add to the dry ingredients.
  3. Using the paddle attachment on low speed, mix butter into dry ingredients thoroughly until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Mixture should remain cool and powdery.
  4. Combine egg, milk, lemon zest, and vanilla extract in another bowl and whisk until fully combined. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients, mixing with the paddle briefly, just until the dough holds together. Do not overwork the dough.
  5. Scoop balls of dough using a cookie scoop. Arrange them on a baking sheet with two inches of space in between. Let chill in the refrigerator.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle sugar on top.
  7. Bake for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until slightly golden.

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