Scone [skohn; Br. Skon]
This Scottish QUICK BREAD is said to have taken its name from the Stone of Destiny (or Scone), the place where Scottish kings were once crowned. The original triangular-shaped scone was made with oats and griddle-baked. Today’s versions are more often flour-based and baked in the oven. They come in various shapes including triangles, rounds, squares and diamonds. Scones can be savory or sweet and are usually eaten for breakfast or tea.
The original scone was round and flat, usually as large as a medium-sized plate. It was made with unleavened oats and baked on a griddle (or girdle, in Scots), then cut into triangular sections for serving. Today, many would call the large round cake a bannock, and call the triangles scones. In Scotland, the words are often used interchangeably.
When baking powder became available to the masses, scones began to be the oven-baked, well-leavened items we know today. Modern scones are widely available in British bakeries, grocery stores, and supermarkets.
Scones sold commercially are usually round, although some brands are hexagonal as this shape may be tessellated for space efficiency. When prepared at home, they may take various shapes including triangles, rounds and squares. Baking scones at home is often closely tied to heritage baking. They tend to be made using family recipes rather than recipe books, since it is often a family member who holds the “best” and most-treasured recipe.
British scones are often lightly sweetened, but may also be savoury. They frequently include raisins, currants, cheese or dates. In Scotland and Ulster, savoury varieties of scone include soda scones, also known as soda farls, and potato scones, normally known as tattie scones, which resemble small, thin savoury pancakes made with potato flour. Potato scones are most commonly served fried in a full Scottish breakfast or an Ulster fry.
Other common varieties include the dropped scone, or drop scone, like a pancake, after the method of dropping the batter onto the griddle or frying pan to cook it, and the lemonade scone, which is made with lemonade and cream instead of butter and milk. There is also the fruit scone or fruited scone, which contains currants, sultanas, peel and glacé cherries, which is just like a plain round scone with the fruit mixed into the dough.
In some countries one may also encounter savoury varieties of scone which may contain or be topped with combinations of cheese, onion, bacon, etc.
RECIPE (English SCONE)
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cane sugar
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp softened butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes (either soften at room temperature or microwave for about 20 seconds)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 500F and place rack on the upper-middle position (this will help give the scone tops a golden color).
- In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and pulse until combined. Add butter to dry ingredients and mix until butter is incorporated and no large chunks remain. The mixture should resemble sand. Add the flour and butter mixture to a large bowl.
- In small bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Reserve 2 tbsp of egg milk mixture to brush on tops of scones later. Pour remaining milk egg mixture into the dry ingredients bowl, mixing with a wooden spoon until just incorporated. The dough will be very sticky.
- Heavily flour your pastry board (about 1/2 cup flour). Knead dough 25-30 times, until the dough forms a smooth ball. Add more flour if needed (I needed more for mine). Roll dough out with a floured rolling pin until 1 inch thick. Using a round pastry cutter 2 1/2 inches in diameter or the rim of a round glass that is of the same size, to cut out scones. Re-roll dough scraps and repeat. Place scones on baking sheet, brushing tops with milk mixture.
- Reduce oven temperature to 425 F and bake scones for about 12-15 minutes, until tops are golden brown.
Serve with whipped cream and jam
SCOTTISH SCONE RECIPE:
- 8 oz (120g) Self-Raising Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 2 oz (55g) Margarine
- 1 oz (25g) Superfine Caster Sugar
- 1/4 Pint (150ml) Milk
- Set oven to 425 F – 220C
- Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl, rub in margarine using your fingers – or cut it into the dry ingredients using two knives/pastry blender.
- Stir in the sugar, then add milk a little at a time while mixing to a stiff dough with a fork. Be careful not to overmix as that can make the scones ‘tough’ (not soft and crumbly as they should be).
- Turn dough onto a floured surface and roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into rounds (the traditional Scottish scone shape) using a cookie cutter or into triangles if you prefer.
- Place on baking tray/cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until scones are risen and golden.
Scones are at their very best when served warm with butter and jam/preserves (jelly).