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Best scones recipe

Best scones recipe


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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Bread
  • Scones

After much trial and error, I've come up with this basic scone recipe which rivals the best.

Angela Martini

381 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 250g (9 oz) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 125ml (4 fl oz) milk
  • 2 tablespoons milk

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:25min

  1. Preheat oven to 220 C / Gas 7. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Sift the flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.
  3. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and enough milk to mix to a soft dough.
  4. Turn onto a floured surface, knead lightly and roll out to a 2cm thickness. Cut into 5cm rounds and place on the prepared baking tray. Brush with milk to glaze.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack. Serve with butter or clotted cream and jam.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(268)

Reviews in English (224)

Altered ingredient amounts.used self raising flour instead of plain half tsp of baking soda and 1tsp baking powder 30z of milk makes 8 Perfect scones enjoy-01 Aug 2010

by NINGENSUKI

I don't know how the other guys handle the dough in this recipes, but I choose it anyway, despite the bad reviews because of the low fat content. Couple of tips for this recipes:1)Do not "overub-in" the butter. Yes! please use butter for the flavour, instead of the margarine.2)Make sure everything is extremely cold.3)Do not knead the dough for more than 8-10 times, even when there are crumbs left behind, just pat them onto the dough when you shape it out on the cookie sheet.4)Instead of cream of tartar and baking soda, add 2 tsps of baking powder.I made many many scones before, but never ever cut any of them into circles as suggested in recipes. Instead roll the dough out into a 6" circle and scour the circle into 6 triangles is my favourite method.-08 Oct 2001

by AnnaG

This is the only scone recipe you need! These turn out perfect every time and they're not loaded with fat like some scones. I make these with butter instead of margarine and I usually use 3 tablespoons of sugar instead of 2 (1/8 cup). Good additions are 1 tablespoon of orange zest and dried cranberries or 1/2 cup frozen blueberries.-20 Sep 2002


Ultimate scones

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C and lightly butter a baking sheet (unless you’re using a non-stick sheet). Tip the flour into a mixing bowl with the salt. Shoot in the butter, then rub together with your fingers to make a reasonably fine crumbed mixture, lifting to aerate the mixture as you go. Try not to overrub, as the mixture will be lighter if it’s a little bit flaky. Now stir in the sugar.

Measure the buttermilk, then mix in the milk to slacken it. Make a bit of a well in the middle of the flour mixture with a round-bladed knife, then pour in most of this buttermilk mixture, holding a little bit back in case it’s not needed. Using the knife, gently work the mixture together until it forms a soft, almost sticky, dough. Work in any loose dry bits of mixture with the rest of the buttermilk. Don’t overwork at this point or you will toughen the dough.

Lift the ball of soft dough out of the bowl and put it on to a very lightly floured surface. Knead the mixture just 3-4 times to get rid of the cracks.

Pat the dough gently with your hands to a thickness of no less than 2cm and no more than 2.5cm. Dip a 5.5cm round fluted cutter into a bowl of flour – this helps to stop the dough sticking to it, then cut out the scones by pushing down quickly and firmly on the cutter with the palm of your hand – don’t twist it.You will hear the dough give a big sigh as the cutter goes in. Gather the trimmings lightly then pat and cut out a couple more scones.

Place on the baking sheet and sift over a light dusting of flour or glaze if you wish. Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack, uncovered if you prefer crisp tops, or covered loosely with a cloth for soft ones.

Serve with strawberry jam and a generous mound of clotted cream (Cornish people put jam first, then cream, Devonians the other way round). Eat them as fresh as you can.


What is a Scone?

Scones are one of our favorite breakfast treats!! There are so many varieties to choose from and today we wanted to share a simple scone recipe that can be customized any way you want.

But, what is a scone? The scone differs depending on where you live. For some reason people who live in Utah make a sweet scone that is very similar to fry bread , but for the rest of the world a scone is very similar to a biscuit .

A scone differs from a biscuit in the amount of sugar and fat as well as uses both sweet and savory ingredients to flavor. A more traditional scone is fairly plain and often topped with butter, jam, or clotted cream. This scone recipe uses blueberries for extra flavor. Keep reading for more delicious flavor variations you might like to try.


Reasons Your Scones Don’t Rise

As stated above, there are a number of reasons scones don’t rise. Unfortunately, some batches just don’t rise like they should, even if you seemingly did everything right.

Some things that can affect the rise of your scones are:

  • Altitude and humidity – higher altitude helps with rise
  • Letting the dough sit out too long before baking
  • Using warm or melted butter
  • Too wet or too dry dough
  • Not mixing in the butter with the flour properly before adding the milk
  • Using old baking powder or flour
  • Overkneading the dough
  • Twisting the cookie cutter when cutting out the circles
  • Putting them into the oven before the precise temperature has been reached

You can see that making scones is rife with problems. If you’re counting on a super fluffy and well-risen scone, you may not get that on your first try (or every time you make these).

The good news is that even when the scones don’t rise, they are still really tasty and are usually still fluffy inside. While I have times when the scones don’t rise, they are always still fluffy and light. The only time they won’t be is if you overmix them.

Adding Fruit to Scones

There are many different ways you can change up these scones, if you want. Some of our favorite additions are:

  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Blueberries
  • Lemon zest
  • Chocolate chips

If you decide to add fruit to this recipe, it’s best to use dehydrated fruit, like raisins or dried cranberries. Fresh fruit, with the exception of berries, usually contains too much water, which will change the consistency of the scones.

Mixing in chocolate chunks also adds a sweet twist to this classic. Just make sure to take into account the sugar content of the chocolate and add less sugar if you don’t want a super sweet scone.

Can I Freeze These Scones?

The dough of this recipe freezes well. Once all ingredients are combined you can freeze it in a sealed plastic bag. Make sure that when bringing the dough back up to temperature that you do not use a microwave as this will compromise the texture of the dough.

It’s also possible to freeze the already baked scones. Make sure they’ve cooled completely before sealing them into a freezer bag with all the air squeezed out. They’ll keep for up to a month.


  • Large mixing bowl
  • Small bowl
  • Whisk
  • Baking tray
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie Cutter
  • Wire Rack and spoons

If you’re looking for a traditional, authentic, and flat-out simple Irish scone recipe, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how you make them (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below) :

  1. Flour power! Add self-raising flour to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Frozen butter : Grate the frozen butter into the bowl. Frozen butter is my secret ingredient here, and I explain why in the next section.
  3. Add your fix-ins. Stir in raisins, baking powder, and sugar.
  4. Milk and eggs. Whisk the eggs and milk in a separate small bowl, add into the mixing bowl, and stir until a soft dough is formed.
  5. Press and cut. On a floured surface, press the scones and then cut them out with a cookie cutter. Combine the leftover dough and repeat until you’ve used it all up.
  6. Baking time! Place the scones on a parchment-lined baking tray. After bringing the oven to 425 degrees, bake before cooling on a wire rack.
  7. It’s time to eat! Once the scones are cooled, add butter, jam, and fresh cream.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Freeze Scones?

Yes, you can. You can freeze them after they are cut into wedges on a parchment lined baking sheet. You can then bake them right away or store them in a Ziplock bag for up to 3 months.

Can I Use Other Dried Fruit?

Yes, of course you can. You can make this recipe your own by adding dried cranberries, golden raisins, chocolate chips or fresh berries.

You can also combine two or three dried fruits together to make scones.


How to make the perfect scone

It's a quintessential part of the British way of life, and it's under threat. Felicity Cloake sets out in search of the perfect scone recipe. Join the cause, for if it vanishes, it's scone forever .

Scone with butter and jam. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Scone with butter and jam. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

A h, the great British scone. Such an innocuous looking little thing – plain really, in comparison with the overblown cupcake, or the gaudy macaron – yet how much more precious than these more fashionable baked goods? The honest scone has no sugary icing or exotically-perfumed ganache to hide behind – it stands or falls on its absolute freshness, which is why it's impossible (and please correct me if I'm wrong) to purchase a good example on the high street.

Twee tearooms are similarly unreliable, because scones should be enjoyed straight from the oven, with only the briefest of pauses for the requisite toppings (at the risk of losing a few of you right here, I'll admit now that I'm a clotted cream denier) – making them ideal fodder for home bakers. The problem is that sub-standard scones can be disappointing indeed – dense little curling stones barely worth the effort of buttering – yet without our support, the brave wee thing is in danger of extinction. The following findings are my own humble contribution to the cause of their conservation.

Every scone maker aspires to the towering triumphs of the soufflé – the miraculous transformation of lumpen flour and fat into a billowing cloud of fluffy dough – but all too often ends up with stubbornly flat biscuits instead. The raising agent is clearly all-important, yet cookbook writers are divided over which gives the best results. I've always used baking soda, but I find recipes calling for baking powder, self-raising flour, cream of tartar – and a combination of all of the above.

Cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

Although I'd like to think I have a good grasp of basic cookery, at this point I have to stop and look up the difference between these familiar ingredients. Bicarb, I learn, is an alkali that reacts with acids (buttermilk is my habitual choice, but cream of tartar or lemon juice can also be used) to create the carbon dioxide that causes the mixture to rise. Baking powder is simply a mixture of bicarb and cream of tartar, and self-raising flour has already had baking powder added to it. So, in theory, all three should give pretty similar results.

In theory. But these things should always be checked. So I line up my raising agents, dust off my pinny, and embark upon the baking equivalent of Iron Man. First off, it's my usual recipe: Sophie Grigson's buttermilk scones, which call for plain flour and bicarb. I then make the Leiths recipe using just self-raising flour, and then a Rachel Allen recipe with bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. Finally, there's Marcus Wareing's take on the perfect scone, which over-eggs the pudding with both self-raising flour and extra baking powder (a method also favoured by Gary Rhodes, I notice: these cheffy types never know when to leave well alone).

I make them all in exactly the same fashion: sieving the flour, raising agent and salt into a bowl, quickly rubbing in the cold butter, stirring in the sugar then adding the liquid (buttermilk, milk, or milk and eggs depending on the recipe) and mixing it all together to make a dough. This is then shaped into an even thickness, cut out, brushed with a little milk and baked at 200˚C for 12 minutes.

Several pleasant hours later, I have 24 scones cooling on a rack, as cute as baked buttons (you can see a picture of each of the results in this gallery). The Sophie Grigson buttermilk scones have an almost grainy appearance, while Marcus's and Rachel's are a deep golden colour, presumably thanks to the eggs in their recipes. Refusing to be distracted by frivolous details, I break out the tape measure. Towering magnificently above the rest (by a good couple of millimetres) are the scones of the fragrant Rachel Allen (bicarb and cream of tartar). Not far behind are Marcus Wareing's (self-raising flour and baking powder), followed by Sophie Grigson's (bicarb), and lastly, looking slightly stumpy, are the self-raising flour scones from Leiths. There's only half a centimetre between these and the winners, but in scone terms, that makes them a failure.

Upwards by recipe: Rachel Allen, Leiths with 00 flour and Leiths with self-raising flour. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

This gets me wondering about the role of the other ingredients. Rachel's recipe also called for the Italian 00 flour also recommended by master-baker Dan Lepard – could that have been responsible for their feather-light texture? I decide to make another batch of the Leiths scones as a test, substituting 00 flour and baking powder for the self-raising flour in the original recipe. The results are more impressive than the initial batch, but not as tall as Rachel's, which suggests to me it's the combination of raising agents (bicarb and cream of tartar) and extra-fine flour which has made the difference here.

Having enjoyed many a decent fruited number in their various tearooms over the years, I can't pass over the National Trust's Traditional Teatime Recipes book, although I'm surprised to find it calling for lard as well as butter. (I know pig fat makes a beautiful, flaky pastry, but it seems an odd ingredient in something more bready like a scone.) They're lovely though – as the author, Jane Pettigrew points out, "despite containing no eggs, this recipes makes light, well-risen scones": crumbly, feather-light and definitely nudging Rachel and Marcus in the height stakes.

In the course of my research, I've come across several other claims regarding the ultimate scone: down at River Cottage, for example, baker Dan Stevens reckons it's all in the preparation. "The real secret of scones" he says, "is to work [the mixture] as little as possible." Delia, meanwhile, thinks the real test of a scone-maker's mettle comes at the very last minute: "don't roll [the dough] any thinner than 2.5cm" she cautions, "and push, don't twist the cutter." Some purists even condemn the use of a rolling pin for exerting unnecessary violence upon the dough.

So, in the course of my baking marathon, I split all the batches in half. With some, I stop meddling the minute they come together into a dough, while the remainder enjoy an extra five minutes of kneading. I pat a few gently into shape, and merrily roll the rest. With the help of my trusty tape measure, the tallest top 3cm and the smallest are half that height. I even make valiant efforts to stop twisting the cutter, which turns out to be harder than it sounds.

In every single case, the overworked dough produces a denser, less well-risen result, and the scones that started off flatter remain so. Those which have been freed from the tyranny of the rolling pin are perhaps slightly better risen in general, but have a wild, unruly look, while the batches that have benefited from a more careful use of the cutter are all slightly lop-sided – thanks to the fact that I had to push the dough out using my fingers.

But the real test was in the eating, painful as it always is to tuck into a scone without a comfort blanket of fat and jam. Sophie Grigson's recipe has a familiar tang of bicarb which seems rather bitter and soapy beside the sweetness of the flatter Leiths scones. The texture of both is denser than the others, although not unpleasantly so. Marcus Wareing and Rachel Allen's recipes are both rich and eggy, with a moist, golden crumb – delicious, but to my mind, more like a cake than a scone. The lard versions, which contain no sugar, are pleasingly puritanical, as befits the scone's Scottish heritage, crumbly – and utterly delicious once they've been rewarded with a dollop of raspberry jam. I'm a convert to the National Trust recipe:

National Trust recipe scone - click the image for a bigger picture. Photograph: Felicity Cloake

350g self-raising flour, sifted
50g butter, softened
50g lard, softened
100-115ml milk

Preheat the oven to 190C. Grease two baking trays. Rub the fats into the flour, working as quickly and lighty as possible with cold hands. Add enough milk to give a soft, bread-like dough. On a floured board, roll out to a thickness of 1.5cm and cut into rounds with 6cm cutter. Place on the prepared trays and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden and well risen. Remove from the oven and lift on to a wire rack to cool.

They rose well, had a beautifully light texture, and, with the addition of just a pinch of sugar, suit my sober tastes perfectly. Those of a more decadent bent would do well to try Rachel Allen's version: rich, light and sweet, they're good enough to eat on their own, and of course, even better topped with jam. The secret, I think, whatever your preference, is not to skimp on the raising agent (self-raising flour alone doesn't seem to do the job), to work the mixture as little as possible – and make sure you don't roll it too thinly before cutting.

What are your secrets for a superb scone? Do you add cream and then jam – or is that heathen upcountry nonsense? And finally, the big question: is it a skon or a skoan in your household?


Step 1: Make the Dough

You will need a LARGE bowl and a 2-cup measuring cup.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In the large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Zest a small lemon into the dry ingredients (use only the yellow part, not the white pith) then thoroughly mix the zest into the dry ingredients.
  4. Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter into the dry ingredients. Using your fingers, blend the butter into the dry ingredients till it looks like course cornmeal. Leave a few pieces of butter the size of small peas—this makes your scones flaky.
  5. In the 2-cup measuring cup, mash the peeled banana and stir till it is liquified.
  6. Divide the yolk and white of the egg. Add the yolk to the WET INGREDIENTS and put aside the egg whites (you&aposll use them in a minute).
  7. Add the juice of HALF of your lemon.
  8. Pour in enough buttermilk to make 1 cup of liquid. Depending on the size of your banana, you may be adding a couple of teaspoons up to a few tablespoons. The goal? To have a full cup of wet ingredients.
  9. Stir the liquid ingredients thoroughly.
  10. Now, ALL AT ONCE, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a fork, stir just until the dry and wet ingredients have come together. You&aposll be tempted to continue stirring, but don&apost. Once the last of the flour in the bottom of your large bowl has been moistened, then stop. This only takes about a dozen-ish stirs with your fork.

Really, it’s quite simple. Here are the 8 secrets I have learnt over the years to make great English scones.

  1. Preheat the oven to a very hot temperature – 230°C/450°F
  2. Start with cold ingredients and keep everything cold.
  3. Grate the cold (even frozen) butter into the flour and rub in but leave little “pebbles” of butter for extra flakiness
  4. Add the cold milk all at once and mix quick with the blade of a dinner knife.
  5. Turn out on a VERY lightly floured board and knead briefly…by that I mean count quickly to 30 and stop.
  6. Resist adding more flour – this dough is meant to be sticky.
  7. Use a floured cutter and DON’T twist the cutter. Simply press down to cut. (Hint: use a floured glass if you don’t have a scone cutter)
  8. As soon as the scones come out of the oven wrap in a clean tea towel to retain the moisture.

As with any scones, it is really best if they are eat warm from the oven. And, I mean, who could resist that? But, even though this is the best English scones recipe ever, you may have a few left over.
You can keep the scones in air tight container for the next day but warm in the microwave before splitting and topping with jam and cream.
However, it is best to FREEZE any leftover scones so that they don’t dry out. I like to wrap each one individually in plastic wrap then pop all of them into a zip lock bag.
To defrost, simply remove the plastic wrap and defrost for 20 seconds in the microwave, turning over halfway through. Is it like a fresh scone? No, nothing beats a freshly baked scones but at a pinch, I think it’s fine.

You can make your own quite easily! It takes just two ingredients – plain or all purpose flour and baking powder. Just remember that different brands of baking powder perform differently. So it is adviseable to check the instruction on the box of baking powder you are using.
In Australia to make self raising flour you will need 2 teaspoons of baking powder to each cup of plain flour. However in the United States, you will only need 1 ¼ teaspoons of baking powder per cup of plain (all purpose) flour. In other countries, please check your brand of baking powder.


Cinnamon-Eggnog Scones

Wondering what to do with that quart of eggnog. besides drink it, of course? Use it to make these delicious eggnog-scented, cinnamon chip-studded scones.

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups (326g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons (113g) butter, cold, cut into pats or small cubes
  • 1 cup (156g) cinnamon chips or cinnamon sweet bits
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon eggnog flavor
  • 3/4 cup (199g) cold eggnog

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.

Stir in the cinnamon chips.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla or other eggnog flavor, and eggnog.

Perfect your technique

Baking with eggnog

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface a silicone rolling mat works well here.

Divide the dough in half each half will weigh about 18 ounces. Roll and pat each half into a 6 1/2" circle about 3/4" thick.

Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges. Alternately, use a 2 1/4" round cutter to cut each circle into 6 to 8 rounds, gathering, re-rolling, and cutting the scraps. Or cut one circle into wedges, the other into rounds.

If you've made wedges, transfer the circle of wedges to a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.

If you've made rounds, transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet, placing them close together leave about 1/2" between them.

Brush each scone with some eggnog, and sprinkle with sparkling white sugar, or cinnamon-sugar.

For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Bake the scones for about 20 minutes, or until they're golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the say through the edge shouldn't look wet or unbaked.

Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they're completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.

Tips from our Bakers

Why freeze the scones before baking? Because 30 minutes in the freezer chills and hardens the butter, which will ultimately make the scones a bit flakier.