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How many of you cater brunch parties? How many of you get requests from clients for easy breakfast treats?

My friend, San Diego chef Vivian Hernandez-Jackson, is a first-generation Cuban American, born and raised in Miami, who infuses her Cuban heritage into a variety of pastries and sandwiches, which she sells at her popular Ocean Beach eatery Azúcar. I spent some time with her in her kitchen and learned how to make these crazy delicious scones.

Initially I was confused. Why would scones–traditionally British fare–figure so prominently on her menu? Then I learned that while attending Le Cordon Bleu in London, she worked at Claridges and made hundreds upon hundreds of scones. They became as much a part of her repertoire as the other pastries she learned to make.

Back in the States, Vivian figured out ways to give a tropical, Cuban flair to traditional pastries–adding coconut and macademia nuts to Florentine Bars, and key limes, mojito mint, mango, Cuban rum, and passion fruit to her many other sweets–and to improve the ingredients of the Cuban foods she grew up enjoying. So, no lard or margarine are in her doughs; it’s good butter. And her pastries are baked in real time.

How does she do it? Well, this is why I thought you’d enjoy learning the recipe. She prepares the dough in advance, scoops it into individual scones, and puts them on trays raw in the freezer to be baked first thing the following morning and throughout the day as needed. It alleviates the stress of making and baking early in the morning and reduces waste. Plus, customers get freshly baked treats throughout the day. On major holidays, like Thanksgiving, Vivian sells the frozen scoops of scone dough, with the icing and instructions, to customers the day before so they can bake them off the day of the holiday to have fresh, hot pastries.

How does this relate to you? Well, not only can you make these in advance of cooking for a catering gig, but you can make the dough for clients and leave them with baking instructions. It’s not at all complicated, as you’ll see, and the scones can easily be baked to order in just a toaster oven (as I did with the ones Vivian gave me).

Trust me, you’ll thank me for this!

Key Lime White Chocolate Scones
from Vivian Hernandez-Jackson, Azúcar
Makes 9 large scones

For scones:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter cold diced
3/4 cup buttermilk
zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons key lime juice (You can find containers of Nelly & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice at major supermarkets.)

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1/2 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
Baking spray
Granulated sugar

For key lime icing:

1/4 cup key lime juice
1 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325˚.
2. With mixer on low speed and using paddle attachment, combine dry ingredients. Add the cold diced butter and blend until the mixture resembles wet sand and no large pieces butter remain.

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3. Pour in the buttermilk, zest, and juice. Mix until all are combined, then gently mix in white chocolate chips/chunks.

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4. Scoop scones onto a sheet pan with parchment paper that has been sprayed with baking spray. Place about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar before baking.

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At this point you can freeze them and bake off when needed.

If baking fresh: 25-30 minutes
If baking frozen: 30-35 minutes

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When scones come out of the oven, drizzle with key lime icing. If you have leftover scones the following day, reheat them briefly in the microwave just to warm them inside before eating.

Lime and white chocolate scone

What’s your favorite pastry to make for clients? What’s your strategy for preparing them in advance?

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Caron Golden


Founder of premier organization of personal chefs inspires students to follow their dreams of culinary entrepreneurship.

Candy Wallace, executive director of the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA), today was recognized by Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies as its 33rd Distinguished Guest Chef.

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