Scone recipes are an essential part of all three traditional versions of
an afternoon tea party: Full Afternoon Tea, Light Tea, and Cream Tea.
They're not bad for breakfast or brunch, either.
Scones are typically served with butter and jam, or clotted cream and jam as are crumpets, another fine tea bread.
Any way you want. Just try to be neat about it.
If there is one proper way to eat a scone, no one really knows. Several reputable British sources all disagree, except on one point: No one else does it right, especially Americans.
So don't worry about it. Visualize a typical Victorian tea party with 78% less snobbery and go for it.
Typical English scones are light and flaky but not sweet. They are perfectly designed to accompany cream and jam. Our only real departure from that principle is, perhaps, the Chocolate Chip Scone Recipe below.
Basic Scone Recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk (approx.)
Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in the egg. (If you are using one of the variations below, this is a good point to add nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, cheese, etc.)
Gradually add the milk until a thick dough is formed. (It may take more or less than 3/4 cup.)
Turn out the mixture onto a floured board and knead lightly. Roll out the dough to 3/4" thickness and cut into rounds with a 2" cookie cutter. Gather the trimmings and lightly knead, roll, and cut them as well.
Place the rounds about 1" apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with a little beaten egg or milk. Bake in a preheated 450° oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.
Makes 12 to 16 scones, depending on the recipe version used.
Variations of the Basic Scone Recipe:
Raisin Wheat Scones: Our favorite. Substitute white flour with whole wheat pastry flour or half and half white and wheat. Use brown sugar instead of white and plain yogurt instead of whole milk. Add 1/2 cup raisins to the mix.
Buttermilk Scones: Substitute buttermilk for whole milk and add 1 tablespoon sugar to the basic recipe.
Walnut Scones: Add 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts.
Cheddar Scones: Add 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese and 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard.
Dried Fruit Scones: Add 1/2 cup raisins, currants, cranberries, or chopped dried apricots.
Chocolate Chip Scones: Add 1/2 cup white or dark chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon vanilla to the basic recipe.
Lemon Scones: Add the juice and zest of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon sugar to the basic scone recipe.