Who can turn down scones and tea? They are popular in Scotland, England and Ireland as well as in the Americas.
The Food Timeline says the term scone in print dates to 1513. The Welsh used to bake small round yeast cakes known as “bara” [bread] “maen” [stone] on stones. Early scones were made from a combination of barley-meal, oats or flour, salt and water. Richer scones included butter rubbed into the flour and milk. The resulting stiff dough was rolled out thin and cut into rounds that were baked on a girdle or in a frying pan. They were served, as they are today, hot, split open and slathered with butter.
The recipe changed through the years and so did the means of baking scones. Baking soda, buttermilk, baking powder and eggs were added to different versions of the recipes in the 1800s. They were often baked in an oven instead of on a girdle or in a frying pan. Around 1900 the recipes were very similar to our biscuit recipes today.
Modern scones contain eggs, sometimes cream instead of milk, some sugar and raisins or other fruit. Cinnamon is a common spice to add. They are either cut round or into triangles or wedges. One way of shaping them is to roll the entire ball of dough out to about ¾ of an inch and then cut partly though in wedges. The scone tops are often brushed with an egg yolk or milk and sprinkled with sugar. Serve them with butter, a selection of jams and jellies, honey and hot tea.
If you can make biscuits from scratch, you can make scones.
Plain Sweet Scones
• 2 cups of flour
• 2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon of sugar
• 4 tablespoons of butter or margarine
• 1 egg
• ¾ cup of cold milk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until you have particles the size of peas, as you would with biscuit dough. Beat the egg into the milk and add all at once to the dry ingredients. Toss the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and form into a round. Put the round on the baking sheet and pat or roll the round ¾ of an inch thick. Using a sharp knife cut almost through to the baking sheet to mark wedge shapes. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle on a thin layer of sugar. Bake 15 minutes or until the top is browned. Finish cutting through the wedges and serve hot with butter, honey or jams.
Use your imagination. You can use part oatmeal or cornmeal with the flour.
Cheese scones, add 1/3 cup grated cheese to the flour and omit the sugar.
Cinnamon scones, add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the dry ingredients. Add more sugar if you want these sweeter.
Fruit scones, add ¾ to 1 cup of dried fruit, such as raisins, to the dough. Add with the wet ingredients. Lemon rind improves these. You can add 1 cup of fresh berries instead of the dried.
Honey scones, use honey instead of sugar. Decrease the amount of milk by about 1 tablespoon.