Flaky, buttery vanilla cardamom scones made with buttermilk and vanilla are the perfect treat for breakfast, brunch, or your afternoon cup of tea.
I adapted this fragrant vanilla cardamom scone recipe from my original recipe for soft scones. These scones have a golden crisp crust on the outside and flaky, fluffy layers on the inside. They hold their shape well during baking for a hearty, multi-layered breakfast treat all week long.
Serve these scones for breakfast with a warm cup of coffee or for brunch with a hot cup of tea and cardamom cookies. Treat yourself to a fabulous breakfast scone!
Why this recipe works
- This recipe uses cold ingredients and chills the dough before baking to help the scones retain their shape and as many buttery layers as possible.
- Vanilla and cardamom making a delightfully warm flavor pairing that doesn’t overwhelm the palate.
- The dough is enriched with egg, buttermilk, and butter, so it has staying power. You can store the cooled scones in an airtight container for several days or freeze them for a handy on-the-go breakfast treat.
Vanilla cardamom scones recipe
These scones are made with the classic scone baking method. You’ll combine simple dry ingredients in a mixing bowl first. Then use a pastry blender or your hands to quickly work in cold butter to make a shaggy, crumbly dough.
Bring the dough together with tangy buttermilk and shape your scones before chilling and baking to golden perfection. The scones are easy to make and full of gentle cardamom flavor you’ll love.
- All-purpose flour. This variety of flour has the perfect amount of protein (gluten) to give your scones structure without too much chew.
- Granulated sugar. Adds a hint of sweetness without turning your breakfast into dessert.
- Baking powder and baking soda. These chemical leaveners give your scones lift and rise in the oven.
- Salt. To enrich the flavor and tenderize your dough.
- Ground cardamom. This is the secret to uniquely fragrant, flavorful scones to pair with your favorite warm drink.
- Vanilla: A whole tablespoon of vanilla adds sweet vanilla flavor.
- Unsalted butter. Make sure it’s very cold and cut into small pieces before you add it to the dry ingredients. If you only have salted butter, just omit the salt.
- Buttermilk. For tang and to bring the dough together. You can also use regular milk if you don’t have buttermilk.
- Egg. This enriches the dough and adds structure from protein.
- Heavy cream. A dab on top of each scone before baking adds a toasty, golden glow.
To make these scones you’ll need:
- Pastry blender: Use a pastry blender to work the cold butter into the batter. If you don’t have one, two knives or your fingertips can also do the job.
- Bench scraper: Use a bench scraper for scraping the dough off your work surface and slicing it into even scones.
- Baking sheet: You’ll need a parchment-lined baking sheet to cook your vanilla cardamom scones.
How to make vanilla cardamom scones
Follow a few simple steps in a mixing bowl and on a work surface to produce a shaggy, sticky scone dough scented with cardamom and vanilla. Then shape, chill and bake your scones to golden, flaky perfection.
Step 1: Make the dough
First, combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the butter pieces and use your pastry blender to break them into coarse, flour-coated crumbs.
Next, combine the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla in a glass measuring cup. Add the liquids to the flour and butter mixture and mix just until a dough forms.
Use only as much buttermilk as is necessary to make a shaggy dough. You don’t want the dough to be too wet or the scones will spread during baking.
And be careful not to overmix the dough, which will result in tough scones.
Step 2: Shape the scones
Place the dough on a floured work surface and knead just four or five times. Then shape it into a 7-inch circle.
Use your bench scraper or a sharp knife to divide the dough into eight even-sized wedges. Place them on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes to firm them up.
Step 3: Bake
Before baking, brush the top of each vanilla cardamom scone with a drizzle of cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar for crunch and texture. Bake the scones at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden on top and bottom.
Enjoy your scones fresh out of the oven. They’re so buttery and moist, they won’t need anything else!
Tips for success
- Keeping the dough as cold as possible prevents the scones from over-spreading when they bake. When scones spread too much during baking, they lose the moist and flaky texture. Plus, they’ll flatten out instead of rising. The easiest way to avoid this is to use cold buttermilk, egg, and butter.
- Another tip to ensure the dough is as cold as possible is to place the shaped dough in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking.
Storing & Freezing
To store: Unbaked scones can be refrigerated overnight.
Baked scones will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
To freeze: Seal unbaked scones in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Add about 2 minutes to the baking time when baking from frozen.
Scones can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat as desired.