One of my absolute favourite things to eat is a beautiful light, airy scone smothered in clotted cream and jam. Washed down with a jolly good cup of tea. It’s so darn British of me but it doesn’t get much better than that in my eyes! I swear, half my meals out last year were afternoon teas. Last April, hubby and I found this really secluded little tea barn in Wales that had scones as big as a fist and they were still hot from the oven, with fresh clotted cream and homemade jam…it was heaven.
I have tried making scones before from a very basic recipe and they were okay, but not great. Certainly not by the ever-rising standard I’ve been setting by researching all these afternoon teas (it’s calorie-free if it’s research!). So when I found myself with some left over buttermilk this week, I decided to try a slightly different recipe for the classic scone. What a coincidence it turned out that way, huh?
Luckily, hubster loves scones just as much as I do, so as a little Valentine’s treat, I put together a little afternoon tea for us in the comfort of our own living room! We got the TARDIS teapot clean, the cow print cups and saucers out of the loft, and made the tough decision of which of my cake stands to use. If we weren’t watching Breaking Bad it would be downright classy! (But damn if Breaking Bad isn’t one of the best TV shows ever amiright?)
I haven’t gone so far as to make my own jam and cream or anything as impressive as that, but I think I nailed the scones. Of course, I had to do heart-shaped ones with it being Valentine’s day, I’d be dumb not to! With only two of us eating them, I chose to make them nice and big so I didn’t have loads left that would go to waste! Two for today, two for tomorrow! Mmmm…
These classic scones are so easy to make, and much nicer than the recipe I have used in the past – although I probably overworked them before too, this time I restrained myself! A light hand is key. Overworking will lead to a dense scone that most likely won’t bake in the centre, leaving you with lumps of doughy yuckiness, which is what happened to me in the past. So with each step, particularly the combining of the wet and dry ingredients, and the kneading later, work until everything has just come together. Try and keep as much air in the dough as possible.
I also found that the buttermilk gave the scones more flavour compared to regular milk. Just that extra little bit of oomph that takes it from “meh” to “more!”
- 250g self-raising flour
- 50g caster sugar
- 50g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
- A good pinch of salt
- 1 medium egg
- About 100ml buttermilk, or buttermilk alternative made with milk and lemon juice or vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 220°C and grease your baking tray or trays with butter
- Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and toss to coat in the flour, then rub the butter between the tips of your fingers. Lifting your hands and letting the crumbs fall through your fingers back into the bowl will make your scones lighter. Continue until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs – it doesn’t have to be too fine, as any flakiness will just add to lightness of the scone
- Beat the egg into the buttermilk until thoroughly combined. Stir into the crumbs with a round bladed knife to form a soft (but not wet or sticky) dough. If the dough is dry or won’t come together properly, add a little more buttermilk, a teaspoon at a time. Don’t overwork it, or add too much buttermilk. It needs to stay dry, and have a rough, shaggy kind of texture to it
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few seconds just to bring the dough together so it looks smoother. Pat and press the dough to about 3cm thick and cut out shapes with a cutter, then press the trimmings together and cut out more. Using a 6cm round or fluted cutter you should get about 8 scones (I used a 10cm heart cutter and got 4 scones though)
- Set apart on the baking tray and bake for about 12 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool and then tuck in!
You can add 50g sultanas or raisins to the dry ingredients before the egg mix for fruit scones.
Recipe from The Great British Bake Off Big Book Of Baking. And for a special Valentine’s day treat, today’s photography is by my wonderful husband!