Sometimes all you need is a warm, buttery, golden-crusted scone with a nice rise and a fluffy centre topped with cream and jam, or jam and cream, whichever way you prefer. These simple homemade scones are ready in just under 30 minutes, perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea.
The perfect scones for any occasion
There are so many variations of savoury or sweet scones; cheese, herbs, raisins, cherries or even cranberries. There are also many occasions when scones have to be on the menu; afternoon tea, rainy day, work fundraising events, Sunday afternoon, duvet days, and so on. I have made these scones numerous times and I have never had leftovers to enjoy at breakfast the next morning. These scones are great as part of a cream tea or even an afternoon tea, to celebrate special events like Mother’s Day or a birthday.
What are the main ingredients for plain scones
- Flour: Self-raising flour
- Baking powder: This is the raising agent that gives the scones added height.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter. It needs to be cubed cold when adding to the flour.
- Milk: It helps bring the dough together.
- Cheese: Use cheddar cheese or any mature cheese. You want it to taste cheesy.
- Chives or spring onions: To mix in the dough and for garnishing. It give the scones this mild oniony flavour.
- Dried fruits: Raisins or sultanas are most commonly used, however you can use any other dried fruit.
How to make the perfect scones
Start by sifting flour with baking powder. This will bring air into the flour, making the dough light. If you have an electric mixer use the paddle attachment to rub in the butter into the flour. Using an electric mixer keeps the butter cold for longer. Alternatively use the rubbing-in method to work the butter into the flour.
Now comes the important bit. Add your sweet or savoury filling and slowly pour the milk in the mixture. Keep mixing until the dough comes together. At this stage stop mixing. The dough should be soft but not too sticky.
Flour your hands and put the dough on a floured work surface. Use enough flour to shape the dough if it is wet. You can either shape the dough with a cookie cutter or a knife.
Place the dough on parchment paper. This will prevent the scones from sticking to the baking sheet. Brush with milk, all over the scones to give it a golden brown colour. Bake no more than 15 minutes, this is the absolute maximum baking time. After 10 minutes of baking check the scones regularly to see if they are done.
Important tips for the perfect scones
- If you want soft, crumbly scones, work the dough until it just comes together, kneading as little as possible.
- Use the rubbing in by hand if you are not using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Make sure your hands are as cold as possible to keep the butter cold.
- As soon as the dough comes together stop working it, otherwise it will turn out doughy.
- Dip the cookie cutter in flour before cutting the shapes to stop it from sticking to the soft dough. Alternatively use a knife to cut the dough into shapes.
- If you are making the dough in advance keep it in the fridge until it is ready to bake.
Easy Homemade Scones Recipe
- 200 g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder sifted with flour
- 50 g cold butter cubed
- 125 ml milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup grated cheese cheddar
- 1/2 cup chives or spring onions thinly sliced
- 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Mix flour and butter: Preheat the oven to 220c and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a mixer, rub the butter into the flour and baking powder until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar for sweet scones or salt for savoury.
- Add fillings: Add the sweet or savoury fillings to the mixture and stir in the milk until the dough comes together. Do not overwork at this stage as the scones will become doughy.
- Shape the dough: Turn onto a floured surface and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 3cm thick. Using a cookie cutter or knife cut the dough and place on the baking sheet. Bring the leftover dough together to cut more shapes. Brush the scones with milk, this will give a nice golden colour on top.
- Bake: Bake for 15 minutes.
- Serve: Serve warm with clotted cream and jam, or simply with a knob of butter.
- You can use plain flour, just add 1 tsp extra baking powder.
- Add more milk if the dough is too dry. If the dough is wet, add extra flour when shaping the dough before rolling.
- If making cheese scones, sprinkle extra grated cheese on top before baking.
- Leftover scones can be stored in a clean tea towel and reheated in the microwave for a few seconds.