This is a part of my April 2023 Times Union story. See the whole thing here.
Paul and I both love to have a little bit of baked something around the house, a plate on the counter of something buttery and sweet. It’s usually something that’s good with coffee or tea, and OK to nibble on late at night, too. I like to bake scones, because they come together easily and are indulgent enough – but not over the top (no bellies filled with buttercream.) We all are coconut lovers here, and what I love best about it is its ability to go with anything; It’s equally at home with sugar and chocolate as it is with chiles and herbs. It’s kind of like the friend you admire, who can talk to and get along with anyone, from any walk of life. In these scones, unsweetened coconut is lightly toasted and mixed together with lemon, sugar and butter to make a tender, sweet and moist treat, perfect for mornings, later afternoons or even as a light dessert. You’ll notice the recipe calls for grating cold butter into the flour mixture, a technique taught to me and which I use for anything I want to be flaky and tender, like pie crust, biscuits and scones.
Lemon Coconut Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup unsweetened, finely shredded coconut, toasted
Grated zest of one lemon
1 stick very cold unsalted butter ½ cup half-and-half, plus one tablespoon
2 tablespoons raw sugar, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, coconut and lemon zest. Use the large holes of a box grater to grate the stick of butter, then stir it into the flour mixture. Use your fingers to distribute evenly. Pour in the ½ cup half-and-half, add the egg and mix until the dough is just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it into a ball. Place the dough on the prepared pan and press to a disc that is about 8-inches wide. Use a sharp knife to cut the disc into eight equal pieces (you could also make two smaller discs and create 16 mini-scones.) Separate each piece, just a bit. Brush the tops with the tablespoon of half-and-half and sprinkle the raw sugar over all.
Bake for 20 minutes, until the scones are spongy on top and golden brown on the bottom. If you choose to make smaller scones, plan on baking for slightly less time, about 18 minutes.