High Altitude Cream Scones


These scones are the second batch I made for the clotted cream I featured in an earlier post. It’s an easy recipe from www.joyofbaking.com which I adapted to suit baking at higher altitudes. We’re about 6,500 feet above sea level.  The altitude can wreak havoc on the texture and over-all success of your  baked goods.  With experience and some trial and error, you will learn that it’s just a matter of adjusting certain ingredients to get a recipe right.

This recipe is lusciously rich and is perfect with a cup of English breakfast tea or a rich cuppa java. You can serve this with some fruit preserves.  Don’t forget the clotted cream, it’s the best compliment to scones.

Cream Scones

2 c. plus 4 tbsps. all-purpose flour (2 c. for sea level)

1/4 c. sugar

1 1/2 tsps. baking powder (2 tsps. for sea level)

1/8 tsp. salt

1/3 c. cold unsalted butter

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

1/4 c. cold water, approximately (omit at sea level)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tbsp. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375F and place rack in middle of oven. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with two knives. I start this mixing process by pinching the butter into the flour using my fingertips – it’s a nice way to feel and gauge how much extra water you’ll need to add. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.

In a small measuring cup, combine the half cup whipping cream, one egg and the vanilla. Add this to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined using the two knives or your fingers. Do not overmix.  I prefer to knead the dough while still in the bowl, scraping every bit of flour as I go along.  Knead very lightly, as you would for biscuits or a pie crust for maximum flakiness.  Add the water as you go along, until the whole mixture comes together lightly.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Now with only your hands, shape the dough into a 7-inch circle about 1.5 inches thick. Cut this circle into 8 triangular sections.

Make a mixture of one well-beaten egg and a tablespoon of heavy cream. Brush the scones with this to help brown the tops of the scones during baking.

Bake for 18-20 minutes (15 minutes at sea level) or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the scone comes out clean. Remove from oven and turn your broiler on high. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the scones and place under the broiler. Broil for just a few seconds turning the pan as necessary, until the sugar has melted and turns golden brown. (I left a few unmelted confectioner’s sugar for contrast.) Transfer scones to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm with clotted cream and fruit preserves.

4 Replies to “High Altitude Cream Scones”

  1. Thanks for this recipe! DELICIOUS!

    I changed a few things..

    1. I used a full stick of butter.. 1/3 just disappeared in the flour for me. Plus, I’m from the midwest..where everything is butterlicious in my family
    2. After shaping the dough, I put little holes in it with my fingers and inserted fresh blackberries and raspberries
    3. I ended up having to bake a bit longer (not sure if it was the extra butter or berries or what). I’m still new to baking… especially at high altitude. I’m in Denver, so our altitude is quite a bit less than yours (5280 feet) so this might have something to do with it too.


  2. Can’t thank you enough for this recipe. I’ve lived in Colorado for 3.5 years and always had trouble with my scone recipes from the midwest. Your recipe worked perfectly at 6200 ft. I made the first batch following your recipe. It was a huge hit. So I made another batch using frozen blueberries. They turned out great, too. Many thanks.

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