Scones! Who would have thought this would be so difficult!
Earlier this week I was asked for a scone recipe … “Sure” I said … and then into the rabbit hole of scone making I fell!
I had some recipes in my “To Try” file which I resurrected, but when I took a closer look they were all so different. I knew I didn’t want to go down the path of the famous three ingredient scone recipe of cream, flour and lemonade. I have had those scones and know they are brilliant, but I can’t bring myself to use lemonade. I also wasn’t aware there was such a difference between the Aussie scone, English scone, and American scone (which is sometimes call a “biscuit”).
So when researching recipes from the CWA and Women’s Weekly as well as some of the great bakers I refer to in my world (Margaret Fulton, Maggie Beer, Belinda Jeffery, Anneka Manning, Mary Berry, Dorie Greenspan, Rose Beranbaum, et al), I became more confused: eggs in or out, butter in or out, cream in or out, water in or out, self raising flour vs plain flour with raising agent, etc. etc. The more I researched the more confused I got. So I starting trialling some recipes this week, and as time progressed I realised there was no wrong or right way to make scones, it really comes down to the texture and flavour that you like … that is what makes a good scone for someone.
After numerous attempts this week, this is the recipe I finally settled on … I wanted something light, something a little crusty, and something with flavour, although I know lots of flavour comes from the jam and cream used on top of the scone, as it is a wonderful vehicle for those toppings.
I do hope you like this recipe … many of my neighbours and friends have given it the thumbs up, as has the “man of the house” who loves a good scone, especially with jam and cream!
- 450g self-raising flour
- 60g raw caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 125g full cream milk
- 125g pouring cream
- 2 x 60g eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract, or vanilla paste if you don't mind the "dots"
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees fan forced, and place rack into middle of oven
- Line a medium baking tray with baking paper and put aside
- Have your cutter sitting in a small bowl with a little flour … I use a 6cm round cutter which should give you 10 decent sized scones
- Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a medium mixing bowl and stir together well with a whisk to combine
- Place the two eggs in a medium jug, and use the same whisk that you used on the flour to combine the eggs, remove 1 tbls of the egg mix and put aside to brush over the tops of the scones before baking
- To the jug with the eggs, add the milk, cream and vanilla of choice and whisk together
- Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture and use a knife to combine, gently stirring the knife around the edges of the bowl and through the middle of the mix until it comes together in a “shaggy” mass, the mix will still look a little dry but will come together on the bench
- NB: Don’t flour your bench at this stage (you do not want to incorporate more flour into the mix than is necessary) but do put some flour to the side on your bench for you to flour your hands with
- Place the mixture onto your bench top, and lightly combine with your floured hands, kneading it gently rolling over itself 5 to 6 times to bring together … if necessary use a dough scraper to scrape up any dry bits from the bench and incorporate that into the dough as you mix without adding extra flour ... if there are any sticky bits, just push them into the dough with a floured hand
- Once you have the dough into a single mass, use the dough scraper to help lift it into one hand, then with the other hand sprinkle flour over your bench and place the dough onto it
- Use your floured hands to bring the dough into a flattened disk no less than 3cm high … you can pat the dough into shape if you like, or you can use a rolling pin to go over the top if you prefer a more even surface which I like to do
- Dip your cutter into flour first before placing it into the dough and pressing directly down on it … don’t twist the cutter as you will “mesh” the sides of the scone dough together which can stop the scones from rising
- Cut out as many rounds as you can, placing them onto the lined baking tray as you go … have them sitting beside each other, but not pressed against each other as they will expand in the oven and you may end up with them joining together into one large scone (which is okay as you can just cut through them, but they will bake more evenly and are much nicer if they look a little more separate)
- Lift up the leftover dough and place onto an area of your bench where there is no flour, and gently gather it into a disk again with your floured hands ... place it back onto the floured section of your bench and cut out more scones
- Repeat this process one last time, and with the final small bit of dough left bring it into a ball and press it into the cutter to make a round shape then add it to the tray … that is the tenth scone which may be bigger or smaller than the others based on how big your scones were in the first place
- Lightly brush the tops of the scones with the tablespoon of egg, ensuring that you don’t let it drip down the sides which can stop the scones from rising
- Place tray into oven and bake for 10 minutes, turn tray around and continue for another 5 minutes, or until the tops are golden … they should sound hollow when tapped on the top
- Allow to rest on the tray for at least 15 minutes before removing and serving
Try to handle the dough as little as possible ... this will help stop the development of gluten which can give you a dense scone ... which is not what we are aiming for.
When cutting into the scone with your cutter, press directly down into the dough ... do not twist the cutter as that can "mess" the sides of the dough together which can inhibit the rising of the scones.
As you brush the tops of the scones with egg, try not to let the egg drip down the sides of the scones as that can also stop the scones from where where the egg has dripped.
Scones are best served warm on the day they are made, but can also be lightly warmed through in the oven the next day, or if you are like me I like to cut them in half and toast them in the sandwich toaster which gives them a gorgeous crust.