Who doesn’t love a Cream Tea, a Devonshire Tea or freshly baked scones with Tea? No matter what you call them, scones and Tea are a delicious treat.

Scones 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. 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. 

Making scones is very quick because there is little preparation time so easy and pop in the oven when guests arrive. If you have the ingredients on hand you will always have something to make for an impromptu or planned Afternoon Tea. The butter can be taken straight from the fridge or freezer and the oven will reach the correct temperature while you are making them.

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 afternoon Tea

Marianna Arolin

Scone Making Tips 

The most important aspect of scone making is to be light-handed, and not handle the dough too much. The aim is to add extra air to the flour and this is done by firstly sifting all the dry ingredients and aerating the flour as you mix in the butter.

Make sure the self-raising flour is fresh and not out of date.

Don’t use a mixer just your fingertips as lightly as possible.

Use very cold butter and a hot oven.

Alternatively, freeze the exact amount of butter and grate the butter into the flour then rub together between the fingertips.

Do not to over mix the scones because it causes too much gluten to be developed in the dough that results in tough, dry scones on baking. Work quickly.

Use a metal spatula knife, not a wooden spoon.

Place scones close together on the baking tray, almost touching so they will have soft sides

Always wrap the hot scones in a clean tea towel straight from the oven to keep them soft.

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 in half and place it on your plate, and then apply, with your bread and butter knife, the jam and cream.

Ellen Easton
High Tea in Dubai

Plain Scones

  • Self-raising Flour 3 cups
  • A pinch of salt
  • Baking powder 1 teaspoon
  • Butter 50 grams very cold cut into chunks
  • Milk 3/4 cup
  • Vanilla 1 teaspoon
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • A beaten egg for the glaze
  • Jam of choice
  • Fresh cream

Preheat the oven to 220 C
Sift the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl.
Add the cold butter and rub in with your fingers until it becomes a very fine crumb-like mixture. Aerating the flour and butter as you go.
Put the milk into a jug and add the vanilla and lemon juice to sour the milk and set aside.
Make a well in the flour mixture, then add the milk and combine it quickly with a large spatula knife. It will become very sticky. I use my fingers towards the end to gently form the mound of dough.
Spread some flour onto the bench ( preferably marble) and tip the dough out gently.
Cover your hands with flour and gently form the dough into shape ready to cut into scones. Be careful not to handle it too much.

Smooth it out and cut out the dough with a cutter or just cut the mound up into even-sized pieces with a knife. Immediately place on a baking tray and brush the tops with the beaten egg or milk.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until scones sound hollow when tapped lightly and are light golden brown. Remove from the oven and wrap the scones in a clean tea towel Meanwhile whilst the scones are cooking beat the cream until soft peaks form and serve with strawberry or raspberry jam and TEA

Buttermilk Scones

  • Self-raising our 3 cups
  • Castor sugar 2 tablespoons (optional)
  • Unsalted butter 40 grams
  • Buttermilk 2 cups
  • Buttermilk extra 2 tablespoons
  • Thickened cream 300 ml

Preheat oven 220c.
Sift the flour and sugar together into a large bowl
Rub in the butter with your fingertips until light and crumbled.
Add buttermilk using a knife to cut the buttermilk through the flour then mix gently into a soft, sticky dough.
Knead lightly on a floured surface until smooth.
Be careful not to overwork the dough and handle as little as possible.
Press the dough out to an even thickness.
Place the scones close together on the tray and brush the tops with the extra buttermilk, or plain milk or you can use an egg glaze.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until scones sound hollow when tapped lightly and are light golden brown. Remove from the oven and wrap the scones in a clean tea towel Meanwhile whilst the scones are cooking beat the cream until soft peaks form and serve with strawberry or raspberry jam and TEA

Nana’s Lemonade Scones

  • Self-raising our 3 cups
  • Lemonade 1 cup
  • Cream 1 cup
  • Pinch salt
  • Jam and thickened cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 200c
Sift the flour into a large bowl.
Add the cream and then the lemonade.
Very gently combine the ingredients into dough
The idea is to trap all the bubbles within the dough so handle 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.
Arrange evenly on a tray close together and bake for about 10 -12 minutes until golden.
Serve with jam and thickened cream

Sage and Cheddar Scones

  • Sifted self-raising flour 225 grams
  • English mustard powder 11⁄2 teaspoons
  • Chopped cold butter 50 grams
  • Mature cheddar, grated 100 grams
  • Finely chopped sage 1 teaspoon plus 8 small leaves
  • One beaten egg
  • Buttermilk 100 mls.

Heat oven to 220 C In a large mixing bowl add the flour, mustard powder, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of fresh ground black pepper. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles the crumbs and stir in half of the cheese and the sage.
Mix together the egg and buttermilk in a separate bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour in all but 1⁄2 tablespoon of the buttermilk mix.
Mix with a metal spatula until the mixture forms a soft, spongy dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth.
Roll out to about 3 cm thick square and divide into scone shapes evenly.
Place the scones on a floured baking tray and brush with the remaining buttermilk.
Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and top each with a sage leaf. Bake for 12-15 minutes serve warm with butter.

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 200c
Line a large baking tray with silicone 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 a soft dough. Press the dough flat until 2cm thick.
Using a cookie cutter or glass cut around the scones from the dough and place onto the baking tray.
Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with some extra castor sugar. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Wrap in a clean tea-towel to keep soft and warm.
Serve warm with jam and cream.

Apple and Cinnamon Roses

  • 2-3 Pink Lady Apples
  • Juice of one Lemon
  • One sheet of Puff Pastry Thawed Out.
  • 50g Melted Butter
  • 2 tbs Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 tbs Castor Sugar
  • Icing Sugar for Dusting

Set the oven on 180C, Line a 6 muffin tin with paper cases or silicon paper Cut each apple in half and remove the core keeping the halved apple in tact.

Thinly slice the apples with a sharp knife or use a mandolin.

Put in a microwave safe bowl with the lemon juice and cover with cling wrap.

Microwave for 1 or 2 minutes to soften then leave the apple slices to cool. Place the pastry on a lightly floured board and cut lengthways into 6 even strips.

Brush with melted butter then sprinkle with cinnamon and caster sugar.

Begin on one end of the pastry and place the apple slices halfway across the pastry (so that you can fold the pastry over later) with the skin poking over the pastry edge. Overlap the slices slightly and leave a small space at the end to stick the pastry together.

Fold over the bottom half of the pastry and roll from the end you began placing the apples on Press the excess pastry to seal together

Put the apple roses in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden and risen. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Lightly dust with icing sugar to finish. Thanks to pink lady apples UK for the recipe