Lemon Poppy Seed Scones Recipe

There are breakfast foods, and then there are breakfast! foods. Breakfast foods are quick, easy, and uninspired. They can be thrown together and eaten in a few minutes before rushing off to work or a full day of errands. They satisfy hunger, but are rarely satisfying.
Breakfast! foods, on the other hand, are lots of fun. They’re for special occasions, and weekend brunches, and birthday mornings. They’re what you order when you go out to eat. They make ordinary days seem a little special.
Care to guess which category of breakfast foods these lemon poppy seed scones fall into?
These scones are my ideal breakfast! food. They’re indulgent but not too heavy. They’re sweet but not cloying, so I can eat several of them and not regret it. They take a little time but aren’t too complicated or fussy. And the lemon and poppy seed flavors pair perfectly with a dollop of jam, a side of fresh fruit, and your morning beverage of choice.
Lemon Poppy Seed Scones Recipe
yield: 8 large or 12 medium scones


  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp poppy
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 5 ounces cold butter, cubed
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream

For the glaze:


  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tsp milk

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Start by zesting the large lemons. Use a microplane if you have it, otherwise, use a grater with the smallest holes you can find, and chop the zest up finely with a sharp knife.
In the bowl of a large stand mixer, combine the flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Turn the mixer on low speed and run it for 20-30 seconds, until the dry ingredients are well-mixed.
Add the lemon zest and poppy seeds and mix everything again on low speed for about 10 seconds, until the zest and seeds disappear into the flour.
Add the cold butter cubes to the dry ingredients, and mix on low speed. Stay by the mixer and watch it carefully, as you don’t want to over-mix at this stage.
Mix everything together until the mixture is crumbly, and you have butter pieces ranging from the size of oatmeal flakes to the size of peas. Stop mixing when you still have chunks of butter–this will make your scones flaky and tender.
Now, with the mixer running on low, stream in the cold heavy cream and mix just until it’s almost incorporated. Stop the mixer when you still have some streaks of flour, and stir the last of the flour in by hand with a spatula, making sure to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
Turn the scone dough out onto a floured work surface, and knead it together gently. Don’t work it too much, or the scones will be tough. Press the dough into a circle about 3/4-inch thick.
If you have the time, chill the dough for 30 minutes. This step can be omitted, but it improves the taste and texture of the scones if you can manage to plan far enough in advance! Use a large sharp knife to cut the scones into wedges. This recipe will yield eight (very!) large scones, or twelve medium-sized scones.
Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream or milk, then sprinkle them with a generous dusting of granulated sugar. Bake the scones in the preheated 375 F oven for 22-25 minutes, until they are puffed, with a crackly top and golden brown edges.
Let the scones cool completely, then make the glaze. Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl, and squeeze the juice from one lemon over the sugar. Stir the sugar and juice together. The mixture will be very difficult to stir at first, but as you continue to stir it should turn into a thick liquid. Add 2 teaspoons of milk, and check the texture: it should drip in a thick ribbon from a spoon and hold its shape for a few seconds before running together. If it’s too thick, add another spoonful of milk, but resist the temptation to add lots of extra liquid: if it’s too thin, the glaze will run everywhere once you drizzle it on the scones.
Dip a spoon in the glaze, and drizzle the glaze over the scones in a criss-cross pattern. Let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes to set the glaze before serving the scones.
Enjoy these lemon poppy seed scones with a pat of butter, a little whipped cream, or your favorite jam or jelly. They’re best the day they’re made, but if you wrap them well, they can be stored for several days at room temperature.
All text and images (c) Elizabeth LaBau


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