Scones are an intrinsic part of both British and Irish cooking. The classic scone in this recipe has been mixed, baked and eaten on these islands for centuries and are as popular today as they ever were.
Making both sweet or savoury homemade scones for afternoon tea (or anytime you fancy a treat) is both quick and easy. To make the lightest scones, you may want to take a look at the hints and tips below as the success of making them light and tasty depends on working as quickly as possible and keeping all the ingredients as cool as possible.
Scones are always best eaten on the day they are made, though a gentle warming through in the oven (never the microwave, this make them tough) will freshen them up, though it is doubtful there will be any left, they are too delicious to keep.
- 400g (2 ½ cups) self-raising flour
- 55g (2 oz) cold butter
- ½ level teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 25g (1 oz) sugar (if you want your scones a little sweeter)
- 250 ml (½ pint) milk
- 1 large egg beaten
- Heat the oven to 205C/400F/Gas 6
- Grease and flour a heavy baking sheet.
- Sieve the flour into a roomy baking bowl then add the butter, baking powder salt and sugar if using.
- Quickly rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the centre and using a dinner knife, stir in the beaten egg and enough milk to make a soft, lightly sticky but pliable dough.
- Turn the mixture onto a floured board and knead very lightly until just smooth then lightly roll out to 2 cm / 3/4" thick.
- Cut rounds with a 7.5 cm / 3" cutter or cut into triangles with a sharp knife.
- Place on the baking tray and brush with the beaten egg and milk mixture. Bake near the top of the hot oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and well risen.
- Cool on a wire rack before eating.
Serve with butter, or lashings of jam and cream.
Variations of a Classic Scone Recipe
The recipe here is for a plain scone but these can quickly be changed to fruit, cheese and or any other flavor you may want to add, (think cherry, cranberry, lemon, orange and so on). So check out the notes below to find out how.
Add 55g (1/4 cup) sultanas, dried mixed fruit or chopped dates to the dry ingredients in the basic recipes.
Add 55g (1/2 cup) grated cheese and 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder to the mixture after rubbing in the fat and flour and continue with the basic recipe. Sprinkle the scones with 55g ( ½ cup) more grated cheese before baking the scones in the oven.