Mahjong Monday: Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

This past weekend brought with it another game of mahjong. Our friends Dave & Jeff, phoned us Saturday afternoon as were doing our grocery shopping to invite us over for a Saturday night game. Since I’m still learning the rules and strategy, I figured it would be useful to disarm our competitors with something sweet.

Although I said I would make gougeres for our next game, I was actually craving baked goods at the time we received the invite. Thankfully we were at the store, so I had a chance to figure out what to make and to buy any needed ingredients. I decided to make these easy and delicious lemon poppy seed scones.

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

The story behind this recipe involves a crazy relationship I had in grad school. It’s too embarrassing to tell how it all ended (but it’s a story Joe still references to this day). I’ll blame the relationship on my poor judgment but I did walk away from the relationship with this recipe, so in the end it was worth it!

The scones are super easy and can be made with a variety of flavors. You can make them small or large, just pick your favorite shape. I typically make them in triangles but decided to go for round ones this time.

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

for the scones
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chilled butter
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

egg wash
1 beaten egg
1 Tablespoon heavy cream

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter pieces are smaller than the size of peas. Stir in the lemon zest and poppy seeds.

In a small bowl, stir together the cream, egg, and vanilla. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. It is important that you do not over mix the mixture. Once the liquid is absorbed and the dough is coming together (only a little dry flour in bottom of bowl), then stop.

Dough will be a little crumbly — remove from bowl and knead until it holds together. Pat the dough in to a 7″ circle that is 1 1/2″ thick. Cut into 8 triangles (I used a round cutter). Place scones onto a greased cookie sheet (I lined mine with parchment). Brush tops and sides with egg wash.

Bake at 375F for 15 minutes.

Other flavor ideas (in place of lemon zest and poppy seeds):

  1. add 1/2 cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, etc.) with 1/3 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts, etc.)
  2. add 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  3. add 2 Tablespoons orange zest and 1/3 cup currants
  4. replace vanilla with almond extract and add 1/3 cup dried cherries, 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

The egg wash gives them a wonderful shiny crust that takes on a nice golden hue. The butter and cream give the scones a moist, creamy-soft texture. The scones are delicious cold or warmed and are perfect for a brunch party. I prefer them plain but feel free to give them a dollop of butter, clotted cream or jam.

Since I cut them into rounds, I had to keep re-patting the dough in order to cut more rounds from it. This over-working of the dough caused them to be a bit heavy in texture. The key to this recipe is to touch the dough as little as possible (yes, I broke my own rule). They looked wonderful though — I love this close-up of the crack on top of the scones:

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

What are you favorite scone flavorings? Share your favorites in the comments section below. Personally, I fell in love with the maple-oat scones from Starbucks which they no longer sell. I was SO sad when they stopped selling them. I need to try and recreate them at some point. One more thing to add to my list of things to do :-)

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  1. I love scones so much, I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite. I just love your recipe and will be trying it for sure.

  2. I love how scones are so buttery and flaky. I’ve never attempted them at home (I’m so afraid of overworking the dough and ending up with hockey pucks). But you have given me the inspiration to try! Thank you!

  3. Lemon and poppyseed are one of my favorite baked good flavors but I’ve never made anything with them both at home. I’ve bookmarked your recipe and hope to try it soon.

  4. another yummy creation! i was just on FB and wondering when on earth you did a post on lemon scones……..and admiring the photo of you taking these photos too :0) the only savory scones i’ve made are cheddar with chives, which i liked!

  5. Lemon and poppy seeds are a beautiful pairing indeed. No argument there. Another classic match is cherry/white chocolate. Use hand-chunked Callebaut white chocolate with soon-to-arrive cherries, chopped, and you will smile!

  6. Lemon Poppyseed muffins/scones are my favorite thing ever!

    I usually don’t get them anymore at a bakery, because they seem to be high in calories/fat. But your recipe looks pretty healthy!

    I knew it was bad, when I would get a scone by the bakery at my office and the napkin would be totally wet from all the butter! BUT, I love them!

  7. Allen, the scones look delicious! And much more enticing than your typical “popcorn and beer” type of card game food…lemon and poppyseed are a perfect marriage!

  8. No more maple scones at Starbucks? Bummer… guess I haven’t been there in a while. I like lemon scones, but my fave is cinnamon. Those cinnamon chips would be good in there.

  9. I’m particular when it comes to scones. My favorite scone is from a local cafe. They make the best Oatmeal Nut Dried Fruit Scone. The scones I love to eat cannot be cake-like, nor biscuit-like. My best way to describe a good scone is cookie-biscuit-like: cruncy exterior, dry dense interior, but not too dry with full of flavor and texture from the nut and dried fruits with a rustic appearance. I don’t like to eat “pretty” scones.

  10. Oh gosh, I can’t believe Lori brought up those maple scones. I heard they were like a thousand calories apiece! These look much healthier :) You might find that a mixture of egg yolk and cream gives a more robust finish on the scones, but then again I do like a very brown finish :)

  11. Yum, now I know what to do with my leftover stash of poppyseeds from making those poppyseed cookies. ;)

    Mah jong! I never learned to play it, but as a kid I always loved the day after my parents had a mah jong party. I’d wake up in the morning, and the tiles would still be set out on the card-table. So I’d get to work, stacking them up, this way and that, building a tiny house for my dolls. I know that’s not what the tiles were intended for, but for a little girl, it was better than Legos.

  12. To avoid overworked dough use the “wax paper” technique. It makes dough so light and flaky when baked.

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