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Once you learn how easy it is o make delicious scones, you will stop heading to that coffee purveyor on every corner that sells scones! Yes, you can put together a batch of Pumpkin Scones, or Lemon Blueberry, or Cranberry Orange, or any of your favorite flavors in ten minutes and bake them in just 15 minutes, and have a large enough batch to share with friends or to freeze for another day. In the post, Summer Sunday Scones, Updated, you will find a basic buttermilk scone recipe with which you can create many flavor variations.
Today, I am sharing a recipe for Chai Spiced Scones, that I created by adapting a Currant Scone recipe from Sarabeth Levine, Sarabeth’s Bakery, From My Hands to Yours, Rizzoli Press, New York. Sarabeth is a legend as a Pastry Chef, and owner of Sarabeth’s Bakery in the Highline District of Manhattan, New York. Sarabeth is the winner of the James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef Award, and this book is a great primer for all who love to bake.
During Autumn and Winter months, I love hot, spicy Chai Tea with steamed, frothed milk, and any baked goods that incorporate warm cinnamon, potent ginger, exotic cardamom. Several yeas ago, I began making shortbread cookies flavored with chai spices, and they were so good that they are now part of my holiday baking production every Christmas. I make a very spicy Pumpkin Scone with plenty of hot Chinese Ground Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and a Double Ginger Scone that contains ground ginger and finely chopped crystallized ginger.
But, I began to dream about a chai spiced scone, and so set out to create one. I gathered together my best cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, some ground inner cardamom seeds, and a newly discovered chai spice blend at my local spice shop that contains black pepper, star anise, allspice and bay leaves, in addition to cinnamon, ginger and cardamom.
I decided that, although my buttermilk scone recipe is fool-proof, I did not want the tang of buttermilk in this scone. So, I turned to Sarabeth for a well-tested basic scone recipe, which is her Currant Scone Recipe, and adapted it to achieve the exotic chai spice flavor that I was seeking.
Chai Spice Scones, adapted from Sarabeth Levine’s Currant Scones, Sarabeth’s Bakery, pages 73-74
Please refer to Sarabeth’s book for the original recipe.
I read Sarabeth’s tips for well-raised, puffed up scones.
Yields 16 scones
- 3 cups all purpose flour (I used King Arthur’s Organic)
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Savory Spice Mt. Baker Chai Spice Blend (or your favorite chai spice blend)
- 1 teaspoon Ceylon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Chinese Ground Ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground green Cardamom seeds
- 10 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butte, cut into small cubes (I used Kerrygold)
- 2 large eggs, chilled
- ¾ cup whole milk, cold
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
- Make certain that your milk, eggs and butter are well-chilled. Don’t take them out of the refrigerator in advance.
- When you brush the formed scones with beaten egg prior to baking, brush the tops lightly only–if the wash coats the sides, they will not rise as much.
- Use a sharp biscuit cutter so that it does not compress the sides when you cut the scones.
- Do not over-handle the dough–bring the dough together quickly, shape it quickly–no kneading or over-working the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Whisk together in a large bowl all of the dry ingredients so that all ingredients are well combined.
- Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or with your hands and fingers, if you which is my preferred method. Stop when the mixture has pea-sized clumps.
- In another bowl, beat the milk, 2 eggs and vanilla with a whisk and then add to the butter-flour mixture. Stir just until combined, and if it appears too moist, add additional flour a tablespoon at a time. I found that I needed ¼ cup additional flour.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured sheet of parchment and flour your hands. Just bring the dough together and shape it into a circle ¾ inch thick.
- Cut with a sharp, floured 2 inch round biscuit cutter.
- Brush the tops only with a beaten egg.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 400, and place the sheet pan onto a center rack in the oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes and check them. They should appear golden and puffed, somewhat firm to the touch when done.
I glazed the scones with 1 and 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, whisked with a teaspoon of vanilla, 1 Tablespoon honey, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and enough half and half to achieve the proper consistency for drizzling or spreading. I glazed them while they were slightly warm.
These scones puffed beautifully, are sufficiently sweet to balance the spices, and are very aromatic. The chai spices are warm, exotic, leave a bit of buzz on the tongue. They are moist and tender, with a nice slight crunch on the top created by butter and sugar content.
Make a batch, and please let me know how you like the flavor and texture, using the Comments box below the post. You can alter the recipe to your taste, emphasizing those spices that you love most. This is going to be a very spicy Autumn this year! Look for a post featuring my Pumpkin Scones and my Double Ginger Scones soon!