Whenever I pull out fresh scones from the oven it always amazes me how something so simple and quick can bring so much joy! With the resurgence and growing popularity of the High Tea culture, the humble scone is in demand more than ever! Scones can be created with so many variations and made sweet or savory which is great if you wish to experiment with different flavors and fillings!
While scones today are a single-serving quick bread, originally the scone was round, flat, about the size of a medium sized plate and made from unleavened oats. It was then baked on a griddle and cut into triangular sections for serving. Today it is common to call this large round cake a Bannock. Things changed for the Bannock when baking powder became accessible to the masses and people began to bake their scones as the oven-baked, light and fluffy treats we know today.
Today you can find scones in all sorts of shapes - round, square, triangles (my favorite) and even hexagonal. A little fact I found online is that scones can also be deep-fried and are called Puftaloons, sounds like something worth trying out!
A well made scone will be light and fluffy, with a tender crumb but a badly made scone will come out heavy, dense and doughy. Many years ago when I was just a child I had an experience where I used the wrong type of flour (plain instead of self-raising) and created perfect little rocks!
Over the years I have learned a few tips and tricks to create feather-light scones. The recipe I use is a basic scone and has just four simple ingredients. The original recipe did not have the added caster sugar but I like just a little sweetness in my scone. The recipe is so fast and simple that you can have them on your table in 25 minutes from start to finish!
AND NOW, (DRUMROLL PLEASE), THE SECRETS OF THE PERFECT SCONE...
Always keep your ingredients and bowl as cold as possible, this ensures a light result.
Work quickly and use your hands as little as possible as the heat from your hands can quickly warm the ingredients and make the end result “heavy”.
Arrange the scones close together, this will ensure a good rise and even baking.
If you live in a humid/hot climate it is recommended that you place the ready to bake scones on a tray and keep them in your freezer for 30 minutes before baking.
In the oven, heat is your friend! Make sure you scones go into a hot pre-heated oven that is up to the recipe’s specified temperature. Never ever place your scones in an oven that is not hot and up to temperature.
So now you know everything to make the perfect scone. Happy baking!