Scones, those English and Australian afternoon-tea essentials, slathered with strawberry jam and whipped cream, are often the star of our afternoon snacks. From a young age, I would make scones for visitors. As soon as I could, I would slip away and leave them to chat with others in the house. I would head for the kitchen and whip up a batch of scones, bringing them out still hot from the oven to the delight of everyone who happened to be there at that time.
In fact, it takes only 15 minutes to produce a basket full of lovely hot scones that are feather light.
Sometimes you can eat them just with butter, or without sugar but with cheese mixed into the batter and sprinkled over the top before baking. Jam and cream is very traditional. Sultanas can be added to the dough. Pumpkin scones have a reputation in Australia but they are not something that I make more than once a decade. Or omit the sugar and add a little black pepper, and serve them with a large bowl of soup.
These favourites are not, take note, *not* the American scone, pronounced scoh-n, more like our biscuits than this light and fluffy delicacy. Ours is pronounced sco-n, a short “o”, as in pond.
this recipe makes 6 – 7 large scones (7 cm diam) or 9 – 10 smaller ones (5cm diam). I often double the recipe.
2 cups Self Raising flour
0.5 tspn salt
1 tspn sugar (or more, to taste – up to 1 Tblspn)
0.75 cup milk
Heat the oven to 230C – a little lower if fan forced.
Sift the flour and salt into a basin, stir in the sugar. Rub in the butter with your fingertips (or use a food processor) until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Make a hole in the centre of the flour and pour in the milk. Use a butter knife in a cutting action to mix the dough until a soft but sticky dough forms (add more milk if necessary to make the dough soft). Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly just until dough comes together.
Pat the dough out to approx 2cm thickness and cut into 5cm rounds with a cutter or glass dipped in flour, in swift movements without twisting the cutter. Place close together on a lightly greased or lined scone tray. They can also be packed in rows of 3, into a lamington tin.
Brush the tops with a little milk or sprinkle with a little flour. Bake for 10 minutes until golden. In a lamington tin they might take a little longer to bake.
Serve with butter or with jam and cream while still warm. They are still delicious at room temperature.
recipe notes and alternatives
Add 0.5 cup sultanas to the dry ingredients.
Add chopped fresh dates and grated orange rind to dry ingredients.
Scones with only a little sugar (or without sugar) go well with soup.
Smaller sized scones are nice,but I prefer the larger ones seen in the first photo.