Scones, is there a better vessel for your homemade jam? Originating from the UK, very likely from Scotland but let’s not open that can of worms or we’ll end up in a Pavlova-esq controversy. The scones of old were made with ground oats and cooked on a griddle until the introduction of baking powder which saw them begin to be baked in the oven and the form we are more familiar with.
A good scone should have a crisp crust but be soft and fluffy on the inside. One of the keys to getting a beautiful delicate texture is not overworking the dough. My other tip is to ensure the butter is very cold when working it into the flour. Finally in my bag of tricks is using yoghurt or buttermilk instead of milk as your wetting agent. The acidity in these reacts with the baking powder giving you a better rise and fluffier scone.
Once mastered scones are not only quick and cheap to whip up, the basic recipe can be transformed with an endless combination of flavours both sweet and savoury.
3 cups flour
5 tsp baking powder
75g butter, cold
1½ cups buttermilk or thin natural yoghurt*
Mix the flour and baking powder together. Grate the butter into the flour and then with your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until it is like fine breadcrumbs. If adding additional flavours add them now.
Mix in the wet ingredients and mix efficiently until just combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and cut into 6-8 scones. Place these on a lined baking tray with a small gap between each.
Note: They will expand as they cook. I like mine to end up touching once cooked resulting in softer edges. If you like crisper scones leave a bigger gap between them.
Bake at 200°C for 10-15 minutes.
*If you only have a thick Greek-like yoghurt on hand simply thin it down with half milk half yoghurt.
Currant and lemon – add 1 cup currants and the zest of a lemon
Date and orange – add 1 cup chopped dates and the zest of an orange
Classic cheese – add 1 cup of grated cheddar to the mixture and top the scones with an extra ½ cup before baking
Wholemeal and walnut – replace 1 cup of the flour with ½ cup wholemeal flour and ½ cup chopped walnuts
Super Quick Scones
This two ingredient recipe is easy to remember and what I pull out to make super easy scone scrolls, kids pizza dough or a topping for casseroles and of course you can add any number of flavourings from cheese to herbs, dried fruit to spice.
Simply mix 3 cups self-raising flour and 1 cup natural yoghurt. Roll, shape and then bake.