What better breakfast treat to serve with your morning cup of joe than a coffee scone? Made with a mix of espresso powder and instant coffee, these tender, buttery scones come with a bold dose of java flavor, complimented by a sweet coffee glaze on top. Rich brown sugar adds to the intensity, for a scone that's anything but boring! These are prepped in just 20 minutes, and can easily be frozen before baking.
These scones came about as the result of one question: "Can I eat and drink my coffee please? (Because that would be incredible.)" And as it turns out, yes, yes you can. If your morning latte just isn't cutting it, it's time to up the ante with a coffee-infused scone.
But just how do you manage to pack all the flavors of a shot of espresso into a humble scone? Here's the secret: instant coffee granules.
Now, trust me when I say that I would never recommend instant coffee over fresh beans unless it was absolutely necessary. But with a scone dough (which requires just the right amount of liquid, preferably in the form of heavy cream), coffee granules do the trick by adding that deep coffee flavor without adding moisture. (This is a trick I also use in my coffee banana bread recipe!)
The result is truly the ultimate coffee scone, with just the right amount of structure, a soft crumb, and a bold taste. In fact, this is one of my favorite scone flavors to date!
If you've made any of my other scone recipes, you'll notice that they tend to have a few staple ingredients across the board: flour, sugar, butter, cream, baking powder, and salt. This recipe takes that one step further with a couple of simple additions.
A few things to note:
- These scones can be made with regular or gluten-free all-purpose flour. If you're using gluten-free flour, make sure your blend contains a binding agent like xanthan gum or guar gum. Also - I beg of you to weigh your flour if possible, and to make sure you're measuring it correctly if not. If you use too much flour, your scones will be dry and crumbly, and nobody wants that!
- You can use light or dark brown sugar. Either one will serve two purposes: 1) keeping the scones moist, and 2) intensifying that rich coffee flavor. (Brown sugar also works wonders in pumpkin scones and date scones!)
- It might go without saying, but use the best instant coffee granules that you can find. It's important that they dissolve well in cold liquids AND have good flavor.
- I've been making my own espresso powder for years, but you can also buy it! Alone, it won't make your scones taste like coffee, but as an addition to this recipe, it's a great flavor enhancer.
- If you want light, tender, flaky scones, here's a tip: very cold butter is a must. I actually use frozen butter for this recipe, and chop it into cubes before adding it to my scone dough.
- You should be able to sub the heavy cream with regular or light whipping cream without an issue, but I don't recommend half-n-half or milk. That fat content is important for creating the perfect tender, crumbly scone, so we don't want to cut back on it too much. Your cream should also be COLD in order to keep your butter cold.
- Although it's definitely not manadatory, I like to garnish these with a hefty sprinkle of coarse sugar, like Demerara or sparkling sugar. The coarser the better here, since finer sugars will have a tendency to melt into the coffee glaze. Instead, you want the sugar to hold its shape in order to add that sweet, satisfying crunch to your coffee scones.
There are two parts to this recipe: the coffee scones and the coffee glaze. It's crucial that you wait until your scones are baked and (completely) cooled before you even think about glazing them, got it? Okay, let's do this!
Make the coffee scones:
Step one - Combine the dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt until they're thoroughly combined.
Step two - Cut in the butter. Add the (frozen! cubed!) butter to the flour mixture and cut it in with a pastry cutter until all of the pieces are pea-sized or smaller and dispersed into the mixture. (If you don't have a pastry cutter, I would recommend grating your butter in with a box grater instead, like I do for my blueberry scones.)
Step three - Combine the wet ingredients: In a liquid measuring glass or small mixing bowl, stir together 6 ¼ ounces (or ¾ cup) heavy cream, instant coffee granules, and vanilla extract until the majority of the granules have dissolved.
Step four - Combine the wet and dry ingredients: Add the coffee-infused cream to the flour mixture and fold it in with a spatula until partially incorporated. Finish gently working the dough together with your hands, adding another 1-1 ½ ounces (2-3 tablespoons) as needed to help it come together. As with all scones, the dough should be fairly soft - not dry but also not sticky. Avoid overmixing or overkneading.
Once you have a cohesive dough, shape it into a flat disc, about ⅞" thick. Wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it for at least 1 hour prior to baking.
Step five - Bake: Preheat your oven to 400ºF, and line a full-size baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Slice the frozen dough into eight equal triangles, pizza-style, and spread them apart on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake your coffee scones for about 18 minutes, or just until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Cool them briefly on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Make the coffee glaze:
Step one - Whisk all ingredients: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the water and instant coffee granules until the granules have dissolved. Add the confectioner's sugar, 1 tablespoon of cream, and salt. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, adding as much of the remaining tablespoon of cream as needed to make a glaze that drips slowly down from the whisk when lifted.
Step two - Glaze scones: Spoon the glaze onto the cooled scones (keep a sheet of parchment paper underneath for easy cleanup!), giving them a few minutes to set. Then, finish the scones off with a hefty sprinkle of coarse sugar before serving.
I tend to think scones are always best the day they're baked, but they'll still taste great for up to 5 days after baking. If unglazed, you can keep them in an airtight zip-top bag or container at cool room temperature. Once your scones are glazed, I'd suggest storing them in the refrigerator if you don't plan to eat them within 24 hours.
Absolutely! One of the best things about scones is that the dough freezes really well. After the initial 1 hour freeze, slice the scones into triangles and put them back in the freezer on a tray or baking sheet until they're solid. At this point, you can transfer them to a freezer-safe zip-top bag and freeze them for up to 6 months.
When you're ready to bake your scones, let the dough sit at room temperature while your oven preheats, so that they thaw slightly before baking.
Coffee drinks to serve with coffee scones
Coffee scones with coffee glaze obviously need to be served with... coffee! Here are a few of my favorite iced and hot variations:
Brown sugar and espresso powder add extra intensity to these tender, buttery coffee scones, made extra-bold with a sweet coffee glaze. Coffee and scones are a classic pairing, and this recipe combines them into a single package!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Chill Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 18 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 38 minutes
- Yield: 8 scones 1x
- Category: biscuits and scones
- Method: baking
- Cuisine: American
- 9 ½ ounces (2 ¼ cups, spoon and level) all-purpose flour (regular or gluten-free)
- 3 ¾ ounces (½ cup, packed) brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- slightly generous ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, frozen and cubed
- 6 ¼ - 7 ¾ ounces (12-15 tablespoons) heavy cream, cold
- ¼ cup instant coffee granules
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
- 1 tablespoon water
- 4 ounces (1 cup) confectioner's sugar
- 1 - 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- small pinch of salt
- coarse sugar, for sprinkling
- Combine dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt.
- Cut in butter with a pastry blender until all pieces are pea-sized or smaller and dispersed into the mixture.
- Combine wet ingredients: In a liquid measuring glass or small mixing bowl, mix together 6 ¼ ounces (¾ cup) heavy cream, instant coffee granules, and vanilla extract, stirring until the granules have mostly dissolved.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients: Add the cream mixture to the dry ingredients and fold in with a spatula until partially incorporated. Use hands to gently work everything together into a single ball of dough, adding the remaining 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) cream as needed. Shape dough into a flat round about ⅞" thick, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for at least an hour before baking.
- Bake: Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Just before baking, slice dough into 8 equal triangles and spread apart on baking sheet. Bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the scones comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before glazing.
- Whisk all ingredients: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the water and instant coffee granules until the granules have dissolved. Add the confectioner's sugar, salt, and 1 tablespoon of cream, whisking until smooth. Add the remaining tablespoon of cream as needed to make a glaze that drips slowly down from the whisk when lifted.
- Glaze scones: Spoon glaze over scones (for easier cleanup keep a sheet of parchment underneath), allowing it to drizzle down the sides of each scone. Let the glaze set for about 5 minutes before sprinkling scones with coarse sugar.
Ingredients Notes and Substitutions:
- Flour should be measured by weight, or using the spoon-and-level method. If using gluten-free flour, make sure your blend contains a binding agent like xanthan gum or guar gum.
- Heavy cream can be substituted with regular or light whipping cream.
- Unglazed scones can be kept in an airtight zip-top bag or container at cool room temperature. Glazed scones should be kept in the refrigerator, unless you plan to eat them within 24 hours of glazing.
Freezing Scone Dough:
- If you want to bake the scones more than a few hours after prepping the dough, take them out of the freezer after 1 hour, slice into 8 pieces as directed, and place on a half sheet pan. Return to freezer until firm, and then transfer to a freezer-safe bag or container to store until ready to bake (up to 6 months). Remove from freezer to thaw slightly while oven is preheating. Baking time may need to be increased; simply bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
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