Tea and Scones

The quintessential treats that come to mind to enjoy with a cup of Tea are scones. Loved the world over and called by so many different names, they are nonetheless, delicious for Afternoon or Morning Tea. Whether you like to say Devonshire Tea, Cream Tea, Devon Cream Tea, Cornish Tea, Tea and Scones or High tea, follow these tips and recipes to make perfect light, soft and well-textured scones.

Scones are said to have originated in Scotland where they were made from oats. They were cooked over an open fire or on top of the fuel stove. The dough was called a ‘bannock’ that was cut into 6 or 8 pieces known as ‘scones’ and cooked on a griddle. Some of the legends around scones say that the word ‘scone’ has a link to the Stone or Scone of Destiny where the Kings of Scotland were crowned. Others say it is a Dutch word ‘schoon’ that means bread or ‘schonbrot’ from Germany meaning beautiful bread. It was not until the invention of baking powder that scones became the light, airy and leavened baked goods that we enjoy today.

The best thing about scones is that you can make them so quickly with little preparation time. So they are really easy to pop in the oven when guests arrive. The butter can be taken straight from the fridge and the oven will get hot by the time you’ve made them. They are quick to make and loved by everyone as the ultimate morning or afternoon tea treat.

Ten Tips for Good Scones

  1. Accurately measure the ingredients especially at first, until you get the hang of the ratio of dry ingredients to liquid. The ideal dough is soft and sticky with a ratio of one part liquid to three parts flour 1:3.

2. Use a glass measuring cups for liquids and metal for dry ingredients.

3. Always sift the flour or other dry ingredients to add in extra air.

4. Check the use by date of the self-raising flour because if stale the raising agent may not work.

5. Scones are best made with your hands, as lightly as possible, rather than using a mixmaster or food processor.

6. The butter must be very cold and all other ingredients at room temperature

7. Add the butter to the dry ingredients by cutting the butter into small pieces and gently rubbing it between your fingers to add air into the mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs, not a smooth dough.

8. Work fast when making scones once the liquid is added. The idea is to get them into the oven as fast as possible.

9. Once the dry ingredients are combined a ‘well’ can be made in the centre for adding the liquid ingredients. Use a metal spatula knife not a spoon. It is important not to over mix because it causes too much gluten to be developed in the dough that will result in tough, dry scones on baking.

10. Make sure the temperature is high and the oven is hot for making making scones.

My copper kettle whistles merrily,  And signals that it is time for Tea,
The fine china cups are filled with the brew, There’s lemon and sugar and sweet cream too, But, best of all there’s friendship, Between you and me,  As we lovingly share our afternoon Tea.

Marianna Arolin 

Buttermilk scones

Self-raising flour 3 cups

Castor sugar 2 tablespoon

Unsalted butter 40 grams

Buttermilk 2 cups

An egg mixed or milk for glazing the top

Thickened cream 300 mls

Strawberry or Raspberry jam 250 grams

Vanilla Essence 2 tps

Preheat oven 220 C
Grease a scone tray or line with silicon baking paper
Sift the flour and sugar ( 1 Tablespoon) together into a large bowl twice to add extra air in.
Rub in the butter with your fingertips very lightly and add air as you go by raising your hands up and sprinkling the mix into the bowl as you work. Form a well in the centre of the flour mix and gently add the buttermilk using a spatula knife not a spoon. Do not overmix just bring together into a sticky dough.

Rustic Country Scones

Cover your fingers and hands with some flour and gently knead mix slightly into a soft sticky dough. Work quite quickly.
Knead very lightly on floured surface until smooth enough to shape either with cutters or a knife. Place the scones close together on the tray.
Be careful not to overwork the dough
Gently knead any scraps of dough together and repeat process
Brush the tops with egg glaze or milk but be careful not to dribble it down the sides or it may cause the scones to not rise.
Bake about 10-12 mins or until scones sound hollow when tapped Remove from the oven and wrap in a dry clean tea towel Meanwhile beat the cream, vanilla and some caster sugar ( 1 Tablespoon) until soft peaks form.
Serve the scones, strawberry or raspberry jam and cream with your favourite fine china.

Lemonade Scones

Self-raising our 3 cups

Lemonade 1 cup

One cup of cream

A pinch of salt

Jam and thickened cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 200 C
Sift the flour into a large bowl.
Add the cream and then the lemonade.
Very gently combine the ingredients into soft sticky dough
The idea is to trap all the bubbles within the dough so handle it as little as possible.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and gently roll it out to a thickness of about 2 cm with a rolling pin or your hands.
Cut your scones out with a cutter or knife.
Arrange evenly on a tray close together and bake for about 10-15 minutes until golden.
Serve with jam and thickened cream

Date Scones

Full Cream milk 150mls or 2/3 cup

Pure Cream 150mls or 2/3 cup

One Egg

Self -raising our 3 cups

Caster sugar 2 tablespoons

Chopped dried dates 1 cup

Zest of one lemon

Whipped cream and jam

Preheat oven to 200 C
Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
In a medium bowl use a hand whisk to mix the milk, cream and egg until well combined.
Add the flour, sugar, dates and lemon zest and gently stir together with a spoon until mixed.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently form into soft dough. Press the dough out to about 2cm thick, gently.
Using a cookie cutter or glass to cut the scones from the dough and place onto the baking tray close together.
Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with some extra castor sugar. Bake for 12 or 15 minutes until golden brown
Serve warm with jam and cream.

The Scones from the CWA

  • Cream 3/4 cup
  • Milk 1 cup
  • Icing sugar, sifted 3 tablespoons
  • Self-raising flour, sifted 3 cups

With a rotary beater, beat together cream, milk and icing sugar for 1 minute. Add sifted flour and combine. Press onto a flat surface and cut into desired shapes. Place on a greased and floured baking tray and cook in a hot oven for 12–15 minutes.

Scone Etiquette

According to ‘Tea Etiquette Faux Pas Other Misconceptions About Afternoon Tea’ by Ellen Easton 2004

‘ It is not only improper to slice a scone, horizontally to be slathered in jam and cream it is considered very common behavior!

The correct manner in which one eats a scone is the same manner in which one eats a dinner roll. Simply break off a bite-size piece, place it on your plate, and then apply, with your bread and butter knife, the jam and cream.

Images and Content Di Baker 2020

Header Image art print courtesy of Wikimedia