These traditional British scones differ from American scones. They use less butter, have a tender crumb, and just a hint of sweetness.
I tasted my first scone from a coffee cart during my freshmen year of college and the attraction was instant. As you may recall, in April I experienced traditional English Afternoon Tea at Fortnum & Mason and completely and utterly fell in love with the Afternoon Tea tradition and British scones. British scones are not the same as American scones. The differences are discussed in great detail in this article from Cook’s Illustrated.
I completely floured myself and my kitchen while making these scones. Last week, I had to undo hours of unpacking because our pantry shelves were starting to pull apart from the walls and needed to be fixed. I haven’t had a chance to put everything back yet, so my kitchen ingredients have been sitting in boxes, much like when we first moved in.
Well, the flour container on my kitchen island was nearly empty, so I went to refill it. We buy the Costco sized bags of flour since I bake so much and of course Mr. K had buried it underneath everything else in a really tall box. So when I reached to grab it out, the top opened … you can imagine the rest. It was like I had walked through a snowstorm.
But the important thing is, the scones got made and they were good. I do want to test out a few other recipes before I give any final opinions, but these took me back down memory lane. I only wish I had a fancy tea set to go with the scones.
Looking back at my photos from Fortnum & Mason, they dusted the tops of the scones with powdered sugar, which gives them an even softer appearance. I’ll have to try that next time.
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
1. Preheat oven to 500F and place rack on the upper-middle position (this will help give the scone tops a golden color).
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 425 F and bake scones for about 12-15 minutes, until tops are golden brown.
Recipe from Cook's Illustrated