Classic English Scones Are My Favorite Afternoon Treat

SKIP TO RECIPE
By Alex Chung
Writer for Pro Home Cooks

There are tons of different varieties of scones out there but English scones are my favorite. They are simple, humble, plain little treats served with clotted cream and a fruit jam of your choice. For the most part, the scones themselves are plain. Sometimes, you can find them dotted with a few raisins but that’s as crazy as an English scone can get. After you crack into the scones, the innards are pillowy soft while the outside is slightly puffed up, craggly, and crusty. They are not too sweet and not too buttery because the best part of an english scone is the classic combination of clotted cream and sweet jam piled high right in the center. After all, a scone is part of a whole. They are really just a delivery system for the cream and jam. 

Splitting a golden brown, warm, fresh out of the oven scone in half and slathering it with cold clotted cream and piling it high with fresh jam is truly an experience everyone should try atleast once in their lifetime which is why it is my mission to convince you to try making some at home. A proper scone requires very few common ingredients. Flour, a hit of baking powder, some frozen butter, and some cream to bring it together. The technique, the quality and care of your ingredients are really what’s important when making a batch. Once you get it down, you’ll be cranking them out with ease for your sunday afternoon tea. 

Classic Vanilla Scones w. Clotted Cream & Jam 

8-3 inch scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups or 241g of cake flour or all purpose flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon or 5g of salt
  • 3  tablespoons or 37.5g  of sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon or 20g of baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons or 75.6g of cold butter
  • 1 cup or 242g  of half & half * 
  • 1/2 teaspoon or 2g  of vanilla extract
  • 1 egg for an egg wash or 1 tablespoon of whole milk 
  • Raspberry jam, for serving 
  • Clotted cream, for serving

Instructions:
  1. In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar, & baking powder then set in the freezer.
  2. Next, grate the butter on a plate then place into the freezer for 15 – 20 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, line a baking tray with parchment paper or silicone mat and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. You can also take the time to dust your work surface with some flour.
  4. Now that everything is cold, toss the butter in with the flour. Pour in the half & half and vanilla, mix to form a slightly sticky dough.
  5. Dump the dough out onto your already floured surface and pat dough into a rectangle (approx. 5×10 inches).
  6. Fold the top half down and the bottom half up. Then pat back down into a rectangle about 5×10 inch rectangle that should be about ¾ inch thick. Repeat the book fold two more times,
  7. Using a 3 inch cookie cutter, stamp out as many scones as you can. Roll the rest back up to about ¾ inch thick and stamp out as many more as you can. I got a total of 8 scones.
  8. Brush the tops with either an egg wash or leftover half and half. Stick them in the oven and bake for 15 – 17  minutes or until golden brown and puffed up.
  9. Let them cool down for 5 minutes and then pop one open and spread on some clotted cream and jam while they are still warm. Enjoy!  

Notes:

English scones are known to be max two bites. I used a 3 inch cookie cutter which made my scones 3 – 4 bites. I love a bigger scone but if you want a two biter, I would recommend using a 2 inch cookie cutter. Bake them at 450 F but lower the time to 11-13 minutes.

I know it seems daunting to have to wait until everything is ice cold but I promise you at the end of it, your scones will be nicely puffed and tender. There’s a method to my madness. 

My personal favourite flavor of jam to use is raspberry. It’s a  perfect mix of sweet & tart.  Feel free to use whatever is your favorite jam flavor. 

Scones are very forgiving with ingredients. If you don’t have half and half use milk or cream. If you don’t have cake flour, use some all purpose flour. Although cake flour really makes a light scone, all purpose will also work.

By Alex Chung
Senior Food Writer at Pro Home Cooks
2 COMMENTS
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  1. tara-5 says:
    tara-5

    Hi Alex, your scones look amazing. Being in Australia I’ve received many a scone baking tip passed down through our English heritage. I’m rather austere with my scones and use milk in the dough instead of cream. I also cut in chilled diced butter with a pastry blender for the flour mix until it resembles bread crumbs. I like your dough folding trick, I’m going to give this a go. One traditional and must do step which I didn’t see in your recipe, is to place your scones on a tray, closely grouped together and just touching eachother. This method gives maximum rise and prevents them from drying out, otherwise you end up with a flattish firm biscuit. A great flavour to add is soaked chopped dates and lemon rind. Or you can omit the sugar and make savoury pumpkin scones with cheesy tops served with sour cream and fresh chopped chives. And they must be eaten fresh or freeze them. Thanks for inspiration, I’m making some in the next few days!

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    • Alex Chung says:
      Alex Chung

      Thank you! oh brilliant! I need to try that baking technique next time. Love all your tips 🙂

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