Scones are made using the biscuit method: you sift the dry ingredients together, cut in the fat (usually cold butter) and then add the wet ingredients and bring everything together gently until it forms a dough. Scone dough is only lightly kneaded until it comes together. If you overwork it, it will become tough.
Makes 12 scones (recipes doubles or trebles easily)
225g plain flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 oz (28g) caster sugar
2oz (60g) butter at room temperature
1 egg yolk
5 and 1/2 fluid oz (165ml) milk and cream mixed together (half-and-half)
Milk or egg yolk for glazing
Method for making scones
Preheat the oven to 220ºC /425ºF/Gas Mark 7.
1. Sieve the flour with the baking powder, salt and baking soda into a large bowl. Add the sugar to the bowl and stir.
2. Cut the butter into the flour mixture in small pieces. With cool hands, rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips, lifting your fingers and letting the flour drop as you go so you keep the mixture light.
3. Mix the egg yolk with the milk and pour into the flour mixture, keeping a little of it in the jug in case the mixture gets too wet. If you need it, use it. Using a palette knife, bring the mixture together in the bowl until it forms a dough. Pour the dough onto a floured board and knead it lightly to bring the dough together - don't over knead it, it's not pastry. If you do, the scones will be tough. The finished dough should be about 1 inch deep if you want them to rise sufficiently.
4. Cut out the scones using a circular cutter, rolling up any scraps of dough to make the last few scones.
5. Lay the scones out on a lightly oiled, floured baking tray or one you have covered with greaseproof paper leaving a gap between each. Brush with milk or egg yolk for a golden top. Bake for about 10 minutes or until risen and golden.
Tips for making scones
- If the butter is too cold, you will end up with lumps in your scone dough and it will be hard to rub in.
- Even though many recipes call for scone dough to be 1/2 inch thick, if you make it 1 inch thick, your scones will rise far better.
- You can add chopped black olives and/or 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan or cheddar to the mixture (just before your pour in the milk) to make savoury scones.
- Adding dried mixed fruit such as sultanas or dried chopped apricots or dried cranberries turn these scones into an afternoon treat.
- Scones can be eaten hot or cold. Store them in a tin or cover them in cling film and they will last for up to 2 days. To refresh them, halve and toast them. They can also be frozen successfully.