Pretty Little Picnic

My sister spent her 20th birthday at this beautiful oasis of a park someone recommended to us. I’ve lived in Tucson seventeen years and never had any idea this place existed! While not exactly lush, it boasted two very un-desertlike features I couldn’t stop drinking in–abundant shade from the many palm trees, and a large and glossy lake. It was the ideal spot for a real, old-fashioned picnic like I’d been longing to have for forever. It was wonderful. Our spread included blueberry iced tea, turkey tea sandwiches, spinach and swiss quiche, and strawberry scones with whipped cream and fresh berries. This last one is the recipe I’m going to share today.

Recipe from: The Gibson Girls. Some one of them or other shared this recipe years ago on this old forum (back when I actually ate scones that weren’t gf), and I decided it was the definitive scone recipe. For our picnic I spruced it up by adding strawberry chunks and cropping the dough with a biscuit cutter.

Simple Scones


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick of butter, frozen
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Using a cheese grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture and combine with your hands until a coarse meal forms. (You want there to be some chunks of frozen butter left unincorporated.) Stir in some chopped frozen strawberry pieces, about 3/4-1 cup worth. (Be careful chopping the strawberries–knife accidents are easy with hard little rocklike berries.) Finally, stir in the egg and sour cream, then just dig in with your hands until completely combined and a soft, sticky dough forms. Drop this damp dough wad onto a lightly floured surface and pat out until you have a circle about 3/4 in. thick. Slice this circle into eight pizza-like slices and carefully transfer each to a parchment-lined cookie sheet (or not if you don’t have parchment handy), spacing about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar and bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.

This recipe can be made with any variation you like–blueberries and lemon juice/zest, dried cranberries and orange juice/zest, raisins and cinnamon, dried cherries and almonds, currants, chocolate chips and coconut, or anything that suits your fancy.


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