Scones are a classic British tea time treat, and one of the easiest to bake. They are also incredibly versatile, and can be made sweet or savory with the addition of ingredients like dried fruit or cheese.
There are two main ways of pronouncing scone; one that rhymes with “tone” and one that rhymes with “gone”. There are debates about the right way to pronounce the word, and how you pronounce it perhaps betrays whether you originate from the north or south of the UK. I say the word as rhyming with “tone”, however most of my friends think it should rhyme with “gone”! According to the English Oxford Dictionary, the first use of the word was in 1513.
Scones are a British (probably Scottish) invention and remain immensely popular. They are one of my favourite treats and they are always on the menu in teashops where they are often paired with a cup of tea to form a cream tea. They are traditionally served with clotted cream and jam (usually strawberry). Here we come to another debate: do you put jam on first and then cream? Or is it cream first and then jam? It is said that your preference depends on whether you have Cornish or Devonian roots. I don’t think I have roots from either Devon or Cornwall, but I prefer to put the jam on first! But whatever your preference you’ll love these scones.
The original scone was large, round and flat and was baked on a griddle, but these days they are cooked in an oven. Originally they also contained oats and were often baked into a round cake, scored into slices before baking. Today they are made with flour, and although they are most commonly shaped into a circle, they can be made in a variety of shapes.
Scones are also a very versatile food; they can be left plain (and then eaten with jam and cream) or they can have other ingredients added in to spruce them up and alter their flavour, whether it be sweet or savoury. Two of the most popular adaptations are adding in raisins to create fruit scones and grated cheese to make cheese scones. All are delicious!
- 200g plain flour
- 3tbsp baking powder
- 45g butter or margarine
- About 125ml milk
- Pre-heat oven to 220c and grease a baking tray
- Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar into a bowl
- Rub in the margarine/butter until it resembles fine bread crumbs
- Add enough milk until the mixture forms a sticky dough
- Roll out on a floured surface to about 1 ½ cm thick
- Use any sized cutter to cut out shapes
- Place on baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes
- Storage: Store in an airtight container. Best eaten fresh.