These brown butter peach scones highlight summer’s bountiful stone fruits. The brown butter glazed scones have a delicious crunchy crust!
Stone fruit season is here! My kitchen is overflowing with peaches, nectarines, plums, and cherries.
When you’ve had your fill of fresh peach, it’s time to bake with the remaining fruit! Sure, you could bake fruit to make cobbler or pie, but those fruits end up mushy and unrecognizable.
The peaches in these brown butter peach scones remain plump and juicy even after baking!
See those little specks of brown all over the top of the scones? That’s not cinnamon. That’s brown butter!
What is brown butter?
Water, butterfat, and milk solids make up butter. Brown butter is made by melting unsalted butter and cooking the milk solids.
Water evaporates from the butter as it melts. As the butter heats up, the milk solids separate from the butterfat. This process creates clarified butter.
As you continue to cook the clarified butter, the milk solids continue to “cook” in the fat. They eventually turn brown.
These little golden brown specks creates the rich, nutty, deep flavor is that brown butter.
The remaining mixture of butterfat and browned milk solids heightens and intensifies all baked goods. This is the power of brown butter!
As the brown butter cooks it smells like buttery roasted hazelnuts. It is an intoxicatingly delicious scent.
- Flour mixture (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar)
- Chilled butter cubes
- Wet mixture (milk, sour cream, egg)
- Semi-frozen fresh peach chunks
- Brown butter
Cold ingredients are best for scones
This is the case for scones, biscuits, pie doughs, and any other dough that require butter (or fat) to be cut into dry ingredients.
Take the extra step to chill all your ingredients. Toss the dry ingredients together with the butter cubes and let it sit in the freezer for about 15 minutes until cold.
Keep the wet ingredients (milk, sour cream, egg) chilling the fridge until you’re ready to mix.
The technique of “cutting” fat into dry ingredients produces that flakey texture associated with scones and biscuits.
The little pockets of butter melt and steam during baking, helping to leaven the scone, while also creating those flakey layers.
- I highly suggest using a pastry blender tool (also known as a pastry cutter) to cut the butter into the flour mixture. Otherwise, use two forks or simply work quickly and use your fingers.
- At this stage, the mixture should look like coarse, pebbled sand.
- Pour in the cold liquids.
- Add cooled liquid brown butter. Fold the dough gently using a sturdy spatula until dough reaches “shaggy mess” stage. (see image below)
The “Shaggy Mess” Stage
During the “shaggy mess” stage, the dough should not be well mixed. It should be a little lumpy and coarse.
This is the stage prior to kneading. During kneading, the dough will come together to create a butter marbled smooth and cohesive dough.
Why do the peaches need to be semi-frozen?
Ripe peaches are soft. It is best to semi-freeze the chopped peaches to give them strength and structure.
Semi-frozen peaches are easier to fold into the scone dough. At this stage, the semi-frozen peaches are strong enough to keep their shape. (This trick is also used in these white chocolate strawberry scones.)
Fresh room temperature peaches will smash and crush under the pressure of kneading the dough.
To prepare the peaches, simply lay chopped peaches in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the freeze for about 20 minutes until semi-frozen.
Don’t use store-bought frozen peaches for this recipe. Frozen peaches will leak out too much moisture, causing the baked scones to be mushy and soft.
The dough is dumped onto a lightly floured work surface and kneaded together to form the scones.
There are two ways to knead the dough: using your hands or using a bench scraper (dough scraper tool) like the orange one in the image above.
What is a bench scraper?
Also known as dough scraper, bench knife, or dough cutter, the bench scrapers is used for numerous applications.
There are various kinds of bench scrapers. Some are made with stainless steel, some made from rubber, or others made with plastic.
As it’s name suggests, a bench scraper is used to scrape off the dough that’s stuck to the work bench surface.
However, the bench scraper serves a multitude of purposes. In this recipe, the bench scraper is used to fold and knead the scone dough.
For those with “hot hands” or warm hands, the bench scraper is an insensible dough when working with dough. Be it a sticky, wet dough or a butter cut dough, the bench scraper makes kneading dough easier and cleaner.
Other bench scraper uses: cutting dough with its straightedge, scooping up chopped ingredients, transferring dough or cookies from pan to cooling rack.
Preparing scone dough for the oven:
Form the kneaded dough into an 8-inch circle with a thickness of about 1/2-inch. Divide the dough into 8 equal wedges. Alternatively, you may cut the dough into any desired shapes such as squares or rectangles.
Before baking, the scone wedges are brushed with liquid brown butter. (For extra buttery goodness, go ahead and brush the sides of the scones with brown butter!)
Then, a generous amount of turbinado sugar is sprinkled on top for a pop of sweetness and added crunch.
The scones are baked in a 375 degrees F oven until puffed and golden brown.
For the final touch, the warm scones are once again brushed with liquid brown butter.
The baked brown butter peach scones will be crunchy on the outside. But, the interior will remain soft and fluffy! Enjoy these scones warm, fresh from the oven for the best experience
Are these peach scones sweet?
The recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of sugar to make 8 scones. The scones are not very sweet. (I’d say 5 out of 10 sweet.)
Instead, it relies on the sweetness of the peaches. Use ripe sweet peaches!
Additional sweetness comes from the turbinado sugar sprinkled on top.
Since these scones are not very sweet, you may adjust sweetness by serving this with clotted cream or fruit jam.
Scone Storage and Leftovers:
Leftover scones may held at room temperature for up to a day.
For longer storage, keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. The peaches are not fully cooked or dried out during baking. As a result, they require refrigeration to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.
Simply reheat in the microwave or toasted oven, or enjoy chilled!
Brown Butter Peach Scones
- 2 ½ cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, cold
- 1 cup (170 g) chopped peaches, peeled and pitted
- ¼ cup (57 g) unsalted butter (to make brown butter)
- ½ cup (114 g) whole milk, cold
- 3 Tablespoon (43 g) sour cream, cold
- 1 large egg, cold
- turbinado sugar, as needed for sprinkling
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Toss in cubed butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Spread chopped peaches in a single layer over a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, until semi-frozen.
- In a small sauce pot, melt ¼ cup butter over medium heat. Once melted, swirl pot occassionaly to ensure even heating. Mixture will bubble, crackle, and foam as it cooks. The bubbling will be vigorous at first, but it will subside. Continue to cook until melted butter smells nutty. By this point, the milk solids in the butter will have turned golden brown in color. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-safe container or bowl. Be sure to scrape out as much of the browned milk solid bits. Set aside and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Set aside.
- Remove dry ingredients and peaches from the freezer. Using a pastry blender (pastry cutter) or two forks, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse sand.
- In a small bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream, and egg until smooth. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture. Add 1 Tablespoon of liquid brown butter. Fold to combine until mixture is a "shaggy mess." Gently fold in cold peaches.
- Dump coarse dough onto a floured work surface. Gently knead dough together using a bench scraper (or your hands). Pat dough into a circle with a diameter of 8-inches and thickness of about 1/2-inch. Cut dough into 8 equal pieces.
- Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, allowing at least 2-inches of space between scones. Brush scone tops with remaining liquid brown butter. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes until scones have puffed up and the tops are lightly golden brown in color. Rotate pan midway through baking to ensure even cooking. Let scones cool slightly on baking sheet. Brush once more with remaining liquid brown butter. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Serve scones warm or at room temperature.
Storage & Leftovers:
- Scones can be left out at room temperature for up to a day. Since the peaches are not fully cooked (or dried out) during baking, I suggest storing leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. Simply reheat in the microwave or toasted oven, or enjoy chilled!
- Peach measurement refers to peaches after they have been peeled, pitted, and chopped.
- If brown butter solidifies, simply reheat in the microwave to melt before brushing on scones.