Friday, September 23, 2011

Another of Her Majesty's Faves - The Scone

Now I happen to be a fan of recipes originating from the United Kingdom, and I'm generally referring to England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland; not all the other countries that were invaded, annexed, etc while the Brits were out conquering the world. Many times I have heard that the food from these countries is boring and bland, but I don't happen to agree. One huge mistake many Americans make when traveling to foreign countries is to compare "American food" with that country's food. It's a big mistake because what we refer to as American food is a mixture of so many cuisines, so how can we really judge our food against the common food of another country. I have even met people who refuse to eat the food when in a foreign country and will only eat "Americanized" food prepared in their hotels. Ridiculous! They might as well have just stayed at home and gone to the local diner for vacation, and saved the money on airfare.

I have a friend who would make authentic scones for us whenever we visited her. How were they authentic? She's from Yorkshire, England, so I believe she knows what she's doing in the respect of English cooking. I'm also a big fan of many of the British chefs, so not only do I have cookbooks, but I watch their shows intently to make sure I get a recipe correct.

So, onto scones which originated in Scotland, were made from unleavened oats and cooked on a griddle. With the invention of baking powder, scones could now be baked; and the Brits sweetened them up a bit with the inclusion of sugar and fruits. Nowadays, scones can be sweet, savory, herbal and/or cheesy; they can be served at any meal, or just make a handy little snack. The traditional wedges are still popular, but they can also be baked much like a drop cookie; they aren't as pretty as the wedges, but still taste wonderful.

I'm going to be giving you a basic recipes for scones including a few ideas for different flavorings. What you do for your tastes is exactly that; for your taste, so play with the basics and enjoy the results.


Basic Mix


2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk


Preheat oven to 400F; spray a large baking sheet with nonstick baking spray; or use a nonstick baking sheet.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking salt and salt; work butter, with fork, pastry cutter or hands, into the dry ingredients until it becomes crumbly.

In a small bowl, mix together the egg and milk; make a well in the dry ingredients and pour liquid into the well. Mix together thoroughly until the dough can be shaped into a ball.

On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough to ½” thickness; cut out scones with a knife, pastry or biscuit cutters. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 12 scones.


Add ½ tsp ground black pepper and a ¾ cup of shredded cheese (Fontina, Cheddar or Swiss) to the dry ingredients.

Sun-Dried Tomato
Add ½ cup diced sun-dried tomatoes and 1 Tbsp Italian herb mix to the dry ingredients.

Chocolate Chip
Add ½ cup chocolate chips and 3 Tbsp light brown sugar to the dry ingredients.

Mary Cokenour
September 1997