Maybe it's the English side of my upbringing (my dad is a Brit), but I just love scones. And yes, as a good little Kiwi/ Brit mix I do pronounce them "Skons", not "Skoans" - after all, the title of this post would make no sense the other way :).
Savoury, sweet, pinwheel, iced, plain, with cream & jam, without - doesn't matter to me. As a bonus scones really are one of the most easy and quick things you can whip up in the kitchen.
So, as a homage to this amazing baking staple, I announce my "Scone-a-month" project. Here I will take one basic plain scone recipe and tweak it twelve ways for the next twelve months. I will try to use seasonal ingredients, a good balance of savoury and sweet, and I hope there will be something for everyone.
So today we start with the basic recipe. I love this one as it contains no butter and so there is no cutting in required - this means no tired fingers or food processor bowl and blade to be cleaned.
(These are neither sweet nor savoury, it just depends on what you put on them at serving time).
Makes 12 - 18, depending on the size you cut them into.
4 cups self-raising flour (or 4 cups plain/cake flour with 4 tsps baking powder added if you don't have any SR flour)
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbs white sugar
1 cup (250ml) un-whipped cream
1 cup (250ml) milk
Preheat the oven to 220ºc.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together.
Measure the cream and milk and pour over the dry ingredients.
Mix gently into a dough with your fingers until the liquid is absorbed into the flour, but don't mix any further. Overworking the dough means it won't rise as well.
Turn out onto a floured surface and press down gently until the dough is about 3.5cm thick (no thinner). You can use a rolling pin to smooth the surface off if you like, if presentation is particularly important.
Dip a round cookie cutter, or small glass, in flour and cut dough into circles. Try to press the cutter directly down and not twist it.
Place on a lightly floured baking tray and brush the tops with milk or beaten egg.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden.
Eat straight away if possible! Let's dress this one up, shall we? How about a little strawberry and rhubarb jam...
And then a dollop of whipped cream:
Oh what the heck, let's sandwich this baby together...
The science of scones:
Simple they may be, but there are a few tricks to ensure that they turn out just right. Use fresh self-raising flour and baking powder (raising agents do age and lose their effectiveness over time).
Always sift the dry ingredients and never overwork the dough or roll it out too thin. Avoiding these things should give your raising agents a good opportunity to do their thing.
Some purists believe that plain scones shouldn't contain any sugar however I have found that just one tbs doesn't alter the sweetness as such, but helps to take the edge off the flour taste.
Everyone makes them differently so if you have a favourite recipe that always works, stick to it! Oh, and please send it to me, I love to try new things!
Do you love scones? What are your favourite toppings and most importantly, are they "skons" or "skoans"?