Tea and scones are a tremendously wonderful combination. There's something so comforting and joyous about slicing into a freshly baked scone, particularly when it's soft and buttery, breaking into tender, fluffy pieces with just the gentle touch of a knife.
It can be tricky to master the perfect scone, so today, we're sharing a handful of nifty tips and tricks for creating a classic scone that you can be truly pleased to bite into. First, we cover the fundamentals, and then comes the fun part! We share a handful of delicious flavour combinations that will make you want to pop your oven on. Bright and colourful bursts of fruit, melty chocolate chips, fresh and fragrant herbs, a touch of spice, or flecks of lemon or orange zest. The possibilities are endless!
With this recipe, you can have a batch of scones arranged on a pretty plate in about half an hour. Let's get stuck in, shall we?
What are the secrets to making buttery, flaky scones?
Start with very cold butter; even frozen works tremendously. If it's particularly warm in your kitchen, you might like to pop your scones in the fridge for ten minutes before baking. This chills the butter again, producing a lighter and fluffier scone.
When it comes to mixing, ensure you don't overdo it. The dough should be sticky and slightly messy to handle. Smaller and larger chunks of butter throughout the mixture are a good thing!
If you're adding fruit, don't use anything super juicy. Frozen fruit doesn't need to be thawed beforehand, and If necessary, pat dry with a paper towel first. If the fruit is in big pieces, you might like to slice it into smaller chunks to improve the distribution.
When placing the prepared scones on your baking tray, we recommend you keep them cosy and place each scone only 1-2 cm apart. This way, they support each other while rising instead of spreading on the tray.
Here are a few ways to enhance this simple scone recipe:
Add 2 tbsp finely chopped herbs and 1/2 cup grated parmesan (pictured).
Bring a little heat with 1/2 tsp black pepper or cayenne pepper.
Grate the zest of one orange and combine it with 1/2 cup of chopped dates.
Zest a lemon and add 2-3 tbsp poppy seeds for a pretty flecked texture.
Fresh or frozen berries are delicious; about 1 cup works well.
Fold in chunks of fresh strawberries and combine with 2 tbsp chia seeds.
Chilli and cheese is a classic combination; about 1 tbsp chilli flakes add plenty of heat.
Make them more substantial with sliced ham and 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese.
1 cup of chocolate chips goes particularly well with cherries or berries.
Sprinkle with coarse sugar before baking for a sweet crunch.
Ready to bake? Here's what you'll need:
(Makes 6 large or 8 small)
2 cups self-raising flour
4 tbsp sugar (half for savoury variations)
1/2 tsp sea salt
115g chilled butter
1/2 cup cream, plus extra for brushing
1 free-range egg
Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and sea salt in a large bowl. Grate the butter, then rub it into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
Whisk together the cream and egg, then pour over the flour mixture. If using any additional flavours, you can add them now.
Stir the ingredients together until you have a ragged dough, being careful not to over-mix.
Transfer the dough onto a floured bench and press together gently to form a large circle disc, about 3cm thick. Using a sharp knife, cut into 6 or 8 wedges.
Place scones close to each other on a tray lined with baking paper, then brush with a little extra cream or egg wash. You could also sprinkle with coarse sugar for a delightful crunch.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges.
Best served warm, buttered, and with a cup of yours truly.