Classic Scones

Camping in Devon; Wimbledon; beautiful walks in the countryside; sunburn. These are just a few things I will always associate with British summertime. But, of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without a quintessentially British cream tea – delicious scones with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry jam!

The ultimate tea-time treat, these scones are beautifully golden on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside, and will make your kitchen smell divine.

While this is an easy recipe to master, I do have a few important bits of advice to share when it comes to making scones, starting with cubing the butter. This makes it much easier to rub into the flour. I actually used to hate getting my hands in there to mix the flour and butter, but it’s the easiest way to get that fine crumbly texture.

It’s also important not to overwork your dough, as this will make your scones tough and chewy. The action of folding, mixing or kneading dough helps gluten to develop – the more you mix, the stronger the gluten becomes. You only need to fold your scone dough a couple of times until it’s smooth.

And finally, you don’t want to roll your scones too think. There are a few conflicting recommendations out there for how thick to roll out your dough, but after a little trial and error, I’ve found that 3-4cm thick is best.

It’s also worth noting that you can add dried fruit to your scones. Personally, I prefer my scones plain, but if you like that extra bit of sweetness in every bite, you can add in a generous handful of sultanas. Add the fruit into the dry ingredients before you pour in the milk.

INGREDIENTS

375g self-raising flour (plus extra for dusting)
1½tsp baking powder
75g caster sugar
¼tsp salt
100g butter
185ml milk
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp lemon juice
1 egg

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200°C (390°F, gas mark 7). Lightly grease a large baking sheet with oil and place it in the oven.

  2. Sift the self-raising flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour, then rub together with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

  3. Pour the milk into a glass or plastic jug and heat up in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds until warm. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice and give it a quick mix. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients. Using a cutlery knife or spoon, work the mixture into a soft, sticky dough.

  4. Dust a clean work surface with flour and turn out the dough. Sprinkle with a little more flour and knead gently, folding a couple of times until it’s nice and smooth. Gently roll or pat the dough into a 3-4cm round.

  5. Take a round 5cm cookie cutter, dip it into some flour and cut out rounds from the dough. Resist the temptation to twist the cutter – this will make your scones rise unevenly. Press down firmly, lift the cutter up and push the dough out. Re-roll the mixture until you’ve used all your dough.

  6. Crack the egg into a bowl and beat using a fork or small whisk. Arrange your scones on the hot baking tray (be careful not to burn your fingers) and brush the tops with the beaten egg.

  7. Bake the scones for 10-12 minutes until well risen and golden on top. Transfer to a wire rack until they are cool enough to eat, then serve with a generous helping of clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Scones are best eaten fresh out of the oven, but they can be frozen. Let the scones cool completely and add them to an airtight bag or box before freezing for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat them, let the scones defrost at room temperature before reheating in the oven for 5-10 minutes.

If you’ve tried my scone recipe, don’t forget to leave me a comment below!

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