Springtime is brunchtime. When the warm weather hits, just about everyone wants to spend their weekend mornings sipping coffee at a sidewalk café, lounging in the park with a picnic, or relaxing on their front porch with a breakfast straight from the oven. Not to mention all the brunch-friendly holidays coming up, like Easter.
For this week's Mixed Review, I tested two fresh-flavored, Spring-friendly scone mixes: Crate & Barrel's lavender version ($6.95), and Sticky Fingers lemon poppy seed ($5.99). The major difference? The Crate & Barrel mix calls for a cup of heavy cream—no substitutions—while the Sticky Fingers mix uses only water.
Would the addition of all that delicious dairy fat yield a far superior taste? Or would the lighter scone win out in the end?
While the Crate & Barrel mix had only a few discernible flecks of purple lavender, the aroma was distinctly floral. I suspect the makers may have incorporated lavender extract. While fantastic for baking, lavender extract can be rather pricey. Another option is to steep lavender buds in whatever liquid your recipe calls for. (Just heat everything gently in a saucepan and then strain out the solids.) Your final dish will have a delicate, perfumey flavor, without the chewy, seedy bits.
To prepare the mix I stirred in almost a full cup of heavy cream, working the dough until it just came together in a ball and was tacky to the touch. Then I turned it out onto the counter, patted it into a disk, and cut it into eight wedges.
Exactly 22 minutes later my scones emerged from the oven with crunchy golden edges and pillowy centers. The smell was positively intoxicating—like bakery crossed with massage spa. They tasted pretty fabulous as well: the lavender was pronounced but not overwhelming, and with each bite my scone dissolved into buttery crumbles. They were perfect with a drizzle of honey, and, though I didn't have any on hand, I bet they would be great slathered with a bit of fresh ricotta.
In contrast to the uniform powder of the Crate & Barrel mix, the Sticky Fingers mix was filled with different textures—not only tiny black poppy seeds, but also little chunks of candied lemon zest. To prepare the mix, I added 3/4 cup of water and stirred until the dough formed a ball. It was so sticky when I turned it out that I ended up added several tablespoons of flour just to make it workable. Then I cut the disk into wedges and slid them into the oven. The package said to bake the scones for 18 to 20 minutes, but mine were done just shy of 15: browned on the bottom with domed, pale yellow centers.
The Sticky Fingers scones were drier than the Crate & Barrel scones, but not necessarily in a bad way. The consistency was like a thick wedge of shortbread: tender and crumbly. While the citrus flavor was a bit lacking overall, it came through whenever I got a bite with the candied zest. Less sweet than the lavender scones, the lemon poppy seed scones would be perfect with a cup of afternoon tea.
In the end, neither version won out over the other. They were both truly solid mixes that I would recommend wholeheartedly.
It's really a matter of taste: if you like your scones sweeter and richer, go for the Crate & Barrel mix. If you like them cakey and crumbly, the Sticky Fingers mix is your best bet. Just be sure to have plenty of butter, honey, and jam on hand for slathering.
All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.