Scones are a key component of the quintessential British afternoon tea (besides the tea, of course). However, I am loathe to pay the exorbitant prices at posh tearooms, not when I can easily whip up a steaming pot of Earl Grey and a plateful of fresh scones. And you can as well.
This scone recipe is pretty much a blank canvas. It will produce you a slightly sweetened, buttery and fluffy scone. Choice of filling is really up to you, although I’m quite partial to the traditional dried fruits like raisins or dried cranberries.
- 250g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 125g butter, cold and cubed
- 75g caster sugar
- 80g your favourite filling (e.g., small pieces of dried fruit or chocolate chips)
- 1/2 cup sour cream or yoghurt
- 1 egg
- A little milk for brushing over the tops
Makes about 16 small round scones or 8 wedge-shaped scones.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Line your sheet trays with baking paper. (Two should suffice.)
Step 2: Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cubed butter to a large bowl. With a couple of forks or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a pale yellow, sandy mixture.
You can even use your bare hands to do this if they’re not too warm. Just rub the butter and flour in between your fingers – it’s the same method used in making crumble, just that the mixture is going to be a lot drier.
Step 3: Add in the sugar and your filling, and stir those in with a fork. In a bowl or small jug, beat the egg and sour cream/yoghurt until combined.
Step 4: A word of caution before mixing the liquid ingredients with the dry: Do not add all of the liquid at once. It’s likely you won’t need all of it. If you do dump in all the liquid, you’re going to get a sopping wet dough that’s impossible to work with.
Start by adding only half the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon. Keep adding more liquid by the tablespoon until large clumps begin to form. I’m usually left with about half to one-third of the liquid, just about enough to make another batch of scones at another time.
Step 5: Toss a little flour on your work surface and dump the dough clumps onto it. Sprinkle a little more flour on top. Now press the clumps together until you get a nice large ball. Then, pat the ball down into a rough circle about 1-inch thick.
At this point, you can simply use a sharp knife to cut the dough circle into 8 slices, just like a pizza. Then transfer the slices to your baking tray. (One tray should be large enough). Brush the tops with a little milk to help with browning and bake for 20 minutes. Your scones will look like this:
Or, if you own a round cutter, 5 cm to 7 cm in diameter, then you can use it to cut out the scones from the dough.
Just squish the left over bits together, dust with flour again if it feels sticky, then cut out more rounds. Also brush the tops with milk and bake for 20 minutes.
Scones are traditionally served with clotted cream and jam. A personal favourite is to split a scone, spread with butter, and drizzle honey over.
You may want to have some cucumber sandwiches and a Victorian sponge on the side to complete your very English tea. And don’t forget piping hot tea as well!
And of course, feel free to personalise this recipe! I sometimes add chocolate chips and a little vanilla extract for chocolate-chip scones. A little lemon or orange zest with dried cranberries make another great scone. White chocolate-chip scones with raspberry jam are heavenly too. For savoury scones, you can cut down the amount of sugar and use some grated cheese and chopped herbs as your filling. Perfect for dipping in soups!
Baking Adventures is a collaboration between Basic Bakes and QuirkyChic. QuirkyChic is a Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle blog by Caroline & Ruth. To find out more about them, click here. Expect a new Baking Adventure every second Friday of the month!