When I was 17 I went to England to visit family friends. I saw the town my family is from (and shares my maiden name), I went to the gorgeous Stratford-upon-Avon, and rode the Tube. I also had my first British scone, and it was NOTHING like the importers that American coffee shops had been trying to sell the huddled masses for $4 a piece at home. These were SO GOOD! They were flaky, and moist, served with lashings of clotted cream and jam, and if you were really lucky… they would be WARM when you bit into them. Having strong English and Scottish roots, I believe tea truly solves all, and leave it to the masters of tea, to come up with the perfect accompaniment.
In the theme of Pandemic Pantry – these scones are quick, easy, use basic stuff you have in your pantry, and in my opinion are the one of the world’s greatest luxuries paired with a hot cup of black tea (or coffee…. you do you).
These mix up fast, with very few dishes to do after (aka the BEST kind of baking).
To start, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda. You can also sift it together, but as this is a lower precision recipe, I find whisking to be faster, easier to clean up, and gets the same results.
Take off your rings – things are about to get real! Cut your butter into small chunks (in about half inch cubes), put the cubes into the flour mixture. Work the butter and flour mixture between your fingers (rubbing between your fingertips) until the mixture resembles coarse meal with small lumps of butter.
Create a well in the dry mixture, make sure to make the walls of the well tall enough to contain the milk and egg. Add the milk and egg to the well. Break the yolk of the egg, and slowly begin to mix the wet ingredients with the flour mixture on the inner edge of the well, taking in more dry ingredients on each rotation of the spoon.
The goal is to mix the wet and dry ingredients until they are just barely combined. Overworking the dough will reduce how flakey they are and make the scones a bit tough. It’s okay if there is a bit of flour left in the bottom of the bowl when the dry ingredients are combined; just give the dough a few quick kneads in the bowl to mix in any of the remaining flour.
You can roll and cut with a cookie or biscuit cutter, or you can shape them into patties with your hands. Despite the leavening agents, they do not raise much, so plan thickness accordingly. I typically make mine about an inch thick.
This step is the most important! Put the scones onto a baking pan or plate and put them in the refrigerator for at least a half hour (up to overnight). Preheat your oven to 425 while the scones are chilling. Move the pan directly from the fridge (onto a baking pan, if you chilled on a plate) to the oven. Chilling the dough before putting it into a hot oven, makes the water in the butter evaporate more quickly, and it leaves little pockets in the scone, which become those flakey bits that are so delicious! It’s not safe to put your rings back on again.
When they are evenly dark golden brown, remove from the oven and serve warm, with jam, or lemon curd, or butter – being a good Midwestern girl, I even like mine with a bit of maple syrup. The choice of topping is yours, but don’t skip the cup of tea, for ultimate comfort.
(adapted from Jane Brocket’s recipe in The Gentle Art of Domesticity)
6 Tbl Cold Butter (preferably salted)
2-3 Tbl Milk
2 Tbl Sugar
1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
¼ tsp Baking Soda
1 Cup Flour
Whisk together Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Cut butter into small pieces and work into flour mixture, until mixture resembles coarse meal with some larger chunks. Make a well in the flour and butter mixture and add milk and egg to the well. Mix until just combined. Form into 4 evenly shaped scones. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes on baking pan. Bake in a 425 degree oven approx. 12-15 minutes until uniformly dark golden brown. Serve warm with toppings of your choice.
Makes 4 Scones
Notes: These will keep for up to three days in a sealed container at room temperature. Pop into a 350 degree oven for a few minutes to reheat.
Do you have something in your pantry and have no idea what to make with it? Or are you looking for the perfect recipe for one of your favorite dishes? Drop me a note in the comment and I’ll help you cook your way through the Stay at Home order.