It took me years to gather the courage to even try baking scones. I’d heard so many people say how they had tried and failed so I figured it was best avoided. However, after years of being afraid I finally decided to have a go and I’m so glad I did!
Scones seem simple enough … take some fairly basic ingredients, mix them together and you get a beautiful, soft, fluffy scone. Well, that’s the theory anyway and, with a few simple tips passed on by my Mum, I managed to produce exactly that.
So, here are my top tips:
- Scones need a very light touch and should be mixed only until the ingredients are just combined and kneaded gently and quickly. The secret for me is to “cut” or mix the ingredients together with a knife. It sounds strange but you really need to just try it to see what I mean and, trust me, it really does work.
- The dough needs to be sticky but not dry. It’s a bit of a balance so add the water but have a little bit extra on hand just in case you need it.
- Place the cut scones close together in the cake tin so that when they rise, it’s up not out.
- Once the scones have been cut out and placed in the tin, put them in the hottest part of the oven. In my oven, that’s the centre of the bottom rack, however, that may be different for everyone depending on your oven.
- To test that your scones are cooked, tap the top of the scones with your fingers and they should sound hollow.
- Have a go and persist. If you don’t have 100% success on your first go, do try again because it will probably only be something small and simple that you’ll need to adjust to find success, like a little bit more or less water or an adjustment to your cooking time (all ovens are different). It will be worth it … I promise and nothing beats the satisfaction you’ll feel when you produce the perfect scone!
So, grab those baking ingredients, roll up your sleeves and give it a go. Here’s my Mum’s recipe that I’ve been cooking for years. I’ve enjoyed countless batches of yummy scones and I hope you do to.
- 2 ½ cups self-raising flour
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup milk
- milk, extra
- ⅓ cup water, approximately with a little extra, if needed
- Preheat oven to 200C and grease a round cake tin with butter.
- Sift self-raising flour, caster sugar and salt into a large bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, add the milk and the water. Using a knife, “cut” the milk and water through the flour and mix to a soft, sticky dough. Add some extra water only if needed.
- Knead the dough gently and quickly on a floured surface until smooth, usually only for a minute or two. Use your hand to press the dough out evenly to about 2 cm thickness.
- Cut as many 4.5 cm rounds as you can from the dough. Place the scones side by side, just touching, in the cake tin. After cutting the first few scones you will need to gently knead and flatten the dough again to cut the final couple of scones.
- Brush the tops with a little extra milk.
- Bake scones for about 17 – 18 minutes or until browned on top and scones sound hollow when tapped firmly on the top with fingers. Serve with jam and whipped cream.
So tell me, do you bake scones or do they scare you?