I’ve never met anybody who doesn’t like scones.
Scones remind me of childhood winters, snug at home while the rain poured outside and the delicious aroma of freshly baked scones wafting from the kitchen. Soft, warm scones slathered in tarty fruit of the forest jam and topped off with a dollop of smooth cream.
Okay, well I know it’s the middle of summer here down under. I know it’s so freakin’ hot today that you think you’re going to die. I know that at the moment you’re more interested in ice-cream, ice-cubes and potato salad instead of warm, wintery scones.
But, here’s the upside. Scones are so dead-easy that you can indulge yourself, and your family with their yumminess and actually do minimal work- they’re the perfect hot weather snack because they take 20 minutes from oven to your belly. And everyone will think how wonderful you are because you slaved away in the kitchen, over a hot oven, to make them something yummy.
Everyone fights about scone recipes. Some swear by cream, others swear by buttermilk and ricotta and almond meal. Pooh, pooh. The secret ingredient is lemonade. Don’t argue with me, don’t pfft me, I am your friend and I wouldn’t lie to you. So you toddle off and go and by your bloody lemonade and then we’ll talk scones.
4 cups self-raising flour
300 ml cream or chilled milk
1 can lemonade (355 ml) Sprite or 7UP etc
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 220ºC.
Prepare a baking tray with some baking paper and spray with canola oil or similar cooking spray.
Mix all your ingredients in a bowl until it becomes a smooth dough.
Sprinkle some flour on your bench or board and knead it. Yes, get your hands in there. Plus, getting flour all over your hands and clothes makes it look like you worked really hard in the kitchen.
Roll the dough out flat (not pancake flat, but enough to allow them to rise a little bit without resembling little dinner rolls).
Use a round cookie-cutter or even the rim of a glass, bottle or jar of the appropriate size to cut out little circles. Flour the rim of the glass or jars so they don’t stick.
Place the scones on the baking tray, leaving a decent space between each of them so they don’t stick and all that.
Brush the tops with beaten egg or milk to give that lovely golden glaze.
Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until starting to colour pale golden.
Cool them on a wire rack when ready and perhaps cover them with a tea-towel to keep them soft and prevent them from drying out.
When they’re ready to eat, cut them in half, spread with jam and and top with a dollop of cream.
Eat as many as you can before they disappear.
Once in a while, someone thinks up a great idea to put a twist on the old-fashioned scone. Here are some variations I’ve tried, tested, read about and dreamt about.
· Add some dried fruit to the mixture. Fruits like chopped dates, sultanas and even dried cranberries. Glace cherries, dried figs, dried apricots- you name it, if it’s dry, you can add it.
· Add 1 cup of chocolate chips to the mixture for those with a sweet-tooth. Be prepared to double the quantities of the recipe to make enough because these go. Fast.
· If you outgrew your sweet-tooth when you were eight years old, try making some savoury scones. Try replacing the lemonade with soda water and add any of these extras or a combination of a few–
· 1 large onion, finely chopped
· 1 cup grated tasty cheese
· 6 rashers lean rindless bacon, or smoked ham, chopped
· 3 tablespoons chopped parsley or fresh herbs
· 1 cup chopped gherkins or pickled onions
Here are some other variations I found:
- Spiced Scones: Add enough cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice to the dry ingredients to total 1/2 teaspoon.
- Raisin Wheat Scones: Substitute white flour with whole wheat pastry flour or half and half white and wheat. Use brown sugar instead of white and plain yogurt instead of whole milk. A healthy take on a delicious treat!
- Buttermilk Scones: Substitute buttermilk for whole milk and add 1 tablespoon sugar to the basic recipe.
- Walnut Scones: Add 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts.
- Cheddar Scones: Add 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese and 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard.
- Dried Fruit Scones: Add 1/2 cup raisins, currants, cranberries, or chopped dried apricots.
- Vanilla Chocolate Chip Scones: Add 1/2 cup white or dark chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon vanilla to the basic recipe.
- Lemon Scones: Add the juice and zest of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon sugar to the basic scone recipe.
Image Source, top left.