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While most people enjoy scones for their light and flaky texture, stale scones can be a putt-off.
However, that doesn’t mean you should throw stale scones out. In fact, there are a few ways you can bring them back to their glory.
So, what to do with stale scones? Keep on reading this article to find out!
Generally, freshly baked scones can last 1-2 days when stored at room temperature before starting to dry out.
The reason scones or most pastries become stale is that they contain flour. Flour contains starch and wheat proteins that, upon kneading, form a gluten network.
When you take your scones out of the oven and leave them to cool, the starch molecules form a crystal structure by reacting with water that they get from gluten.
The water causes the gluten network to change its structure, creating a new stale status.
Yes, you can eat stale scones, but they probably won’t taste as delicious as scones served fresh from the oven.
If you expose your scones to the air for a long time, you should check if there’s an off-putting smell, mold, or any discoloration to know if they’ve gone bad before eating them.
While bakery products generally don’t spoil as fast as other food, they often get moldy and rancid, especially if they’re stored in high humidity.
What to Do With Stale Scones
There are several things you can do to freshen up stale scones, like re-heating or incorporating them into other recipes, so you can re-enjoy those light, buttery pastries once again.
Remember when we said scones dry out because of the crystallization of starch molecules and changing the gluten network? Well, the good news is this can actually be reversed by heating your scones.
This begs one question: how to re-heat stale scones? You can heat your scones in the microwave, a pan, or by toasting them.
Let’s dive into each method to know its pros and cons:
Microwaving scones can be a little tricky. If you microwave the scones for too long, it’ll suck the moisture out of them, drying them out.
Even when done properly, re-heating scones in the microwave will make them lose their crunchiness and become mushy.
To prevent scones from losing moisture upon microwaving, here’s what to do:
- Place the scone on a microwavable plate
- Wrap them in a paper towel
- Set your microwave to low power and microwave for around 20 seconds
While using a skillet to re-heat scones may be unconventional, it can help soften stale scones. However, you’ll still lose the crispy outside layer. To heat scones in a pan:
- Heat your pan to medium-low heat
- Place your scone in the pan. You may cut your scones in half if they’re extra puffy
- Add some water; just a small amount, to help create steam and cover the skillet
- Remove the scones after a few minutes so they don’t burn
Toasting your scones may be your best option if you want to maintain their crunchiness. All you have to do is slice the scones in half and put them in a toaster.
The downside is that it can get messy because scones will leave crumbs in your toaster, and they may burn if you leave them for long.
You don’t have to eat stale scones; instead, you can turn them into different delicious recipes. Here are a few ideas to enjoy stale scones:
- Use them with stale bread to make bread pudding
- Use them as a cobbler topping
- Crumble them over fruit pies
- Turn them into crispy croutons
How to Store Scones So They Stay Fresh
Knowing how to properly store scones can be a game-changer to keep your leftover scones just as tasty.
Here are two ways to store your scones and prevent them from going stale:
If you have a couple of leftover scones that you plan on eating within a few days, you can store them on the counter.
Below are a few tricks to help scones stay as fresh as possible:
- If your scones are warm, wait until they cool down before placing them in the container to prevent condensation.
- In an air-tight container, fold a paper towel or napkin and place it at the bottom of the container. Paper towels help absorb extra moisture out of your scones, so they don’t become mushy.
- Gently stack your leftover scones in the container. Avoid pressing them down, so you don’t end up with mushy treats.
- Place a second paper towel on top of your scones and close the lid.
Before digging into how to freeze your scones, let’s first answer a question that may have popped into your mind: can you store scones in the fridge?
Generally, you shouldn’t store scones or baked goods in the refrigerator—unless they have some type of dairy fillings or frostings.
Refrigerators provide a cold and dry environment, which is desired to prevent bacteria from growing rapidly and spoiling food.
However, these dry conditions will not serve your scone well and will end up drying them.
What’s more, if you open your fridge frequently or have a faulty fridge door, that’ll cause the warmer atmospheric air to make its way inside your fridge and condense, eventually moistening your scones.
That’s why you should store scones in the freezer if you want to extend their shelf life while maintaining their freshness.
Here’s how to freeze your scones:
- Stack your scones in an air-tight freezer bag or container
- Place parchment paper between scone layers to prevent them from sticking together
- You can also wrap your scones separately if you want to grab them one at a time
- Lastly, press any extra air out of the freezer bag before sealing it. If you’re using a container, make sure to close the lid tightly.
What to do with stale scones? You can do many things, like re-heating them to bring the moisture back.
You can also include them in other recipes, such as bread pudding, or you can revamp your scones and turn them into delicious croutons.
Whatever you choose to do with your stale scones, one thing you should always keep in mind is to check to make sure they’re not spoiled before savoring them.