(Scottish quick teacakes)
This simple, lightly sweet quickbread is descended from a type of dense Scottish oatcake. Over time, the scone has come to incorporate baking powder as a leavener and nowadays is usually based on wheat flour.
Scones are also popular in England, other Commonwealth countries and the United States. They form an essential component of a Devonshire or Cornwall cream tea when served with strawberry jam and clotted cream, a cooked and reduced heavy cream.
In Devon, the clotted cream is traditionally spread first on a split scone, then the jam. In Cornwall it's the other way around. Serve with whipped cream or butter if you don't have clotted cream.
Scone is pronounced "skawn" in Scotland, the north of England, Australia and Canada. In southern England, Ireland and the United States, it is more commonly pronounced "skohn" with a long "O."
Makes 9 to 12 scones
- Flour -- 2 cups
- Sugar -- 1/4 cup
- Baking powder -- 2 teaspoons
- Salt -- 1/4 teaspoon
- Butter, cut into small cubes -- 5 tablespoons
- Eggs -- 2
- Milk or heavy cream -- 1/4 cup, plus more for brushing
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment.
- Mix the dry ingredients well in a large bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour with your fingers until the flour gets mealy. It's fine if a few larger chunks of butter remain.
- In another bowl, beat the eggs and milk or cream together until smooth.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Use a fork to mix the dry and wet ingredients together to form a loose, slightly sticky dough. Add a little more milk or cream as needed to bring the dough together. Take care not to overmix or your scones will turn out tough.
- Remove the dough to a well-floured work surface and knead a few times to make the dough come together. Pat the dough out into a round about 3/4 inch thick. Use a biscuit or cookie cutter to cut the dough into 2- or 3-inch rounds.
- Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheet and brush the top of each with a little cream. Sprinkle with regular or sanding sugar if you like.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or just until the tops begin to turn golden. Remove from the oven and serve immediately. Split in half and spread with jam and clotted cream or butter.
Scone Notes and Variations
- Fruit Scones: Add 1/3 cup raisins, dried currants or sultanas (golden raisins) to the flour mixture after you work in the butter.
- Cheese Scones: Reduce sugar to 2 tablespoons. Add 1/3 cup good quality grated Cheddar cheese to the dry ingredients in Step 2.
- Treacle Scones: Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of treacle or molasses to the milk and egg mixture. Proceed with the recipe as instructed.
- Lemonade Scones: Eliminate the eggs and use 1/3 cup heavy cream and 1/3 cup lemonade for the liquid ingredients.
- All-purpose flour is fine for scones, but using cake or pastry flour will make them extra light and tender.
- You can eliminate the egg for a more crumbly scone. Increase the amount of milk or cream in the recipe to 1/2 to 2/3 cup.
- Some people like to bake scones in a triangular shape. Pat the dough out into a 3/4-inch thick round and cut into pie-shaped wedges. Pull the wedges apart to separate slightly and bake.