Scones are a great baked good to be able to master and with a bit of practice can be rustled up and baking in the oven in a matter of minutes. This is a recipe I took with me from Ballymaloe cookery school, although I have halved the recipe because I would eat all 20 or so otherwise! Check out the tips at the end of this recipe to ensure your scones are light and fluffy! Best enjoyed warm out of the oven with real Irish butter, raspberry jam (personal preference!) and a hot cup of tea.
Ingredients to make approx 8-10 scones
- 450g plain white flour
- small pinch of salt
- 25g caster sugar
- 2 level tsps of baking powder
- 90g real butter, cubed
- 2 eggs (leave a little aside for the glaze)
- 210ml milk
- a handful of dried fruit (eg raisins, cranberries, currants) (optional)
What to do:
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees centigrade.
- Sieve the flour, salt , baking powder and sugar into a large bowl.
- Rub in the butter.
- Make a well in the centre and add whisked eggs and milk and gently mix to a soft dough. (If you are using some dried fruit (sultanas or raisins for example, add them now)
- Turn onto a floured surface and bring together to shape into a round.
- Roll to about an inch thick and stamp or cut out your scones.
- Brush with a little whisked egg and milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar for a golden, crunchy topping.
- Pop onto an oven tray and into the pre-heated oven for about 9- 12 minutes (until golden on top – will depend on your oven and the size of your scones).
- Once ready let them cool on a wire rack. (You will know they are done if you get a hollow sound when tapping at the base of the scone).
- Scones taste best within minutes from the oven, with real Irish butter and raspberry jam.
A Few Tips in Mastering the Perfect Scone (and avoiding anything dense, tough, flat or doughy)
- Firstly, the less “man-handling” the better. If you over knead the dough you will wind up with tough scones. Scone motto can follow life’s motto – ‘less is more’. Avoid using the food processor if you can help it.
- When shaping the dough into a round, just pat the sides rather than compressing it.
- Use cold butter and cube it into small pieces. Cold butter helps the scones to rise.
- Don’t use all the liquid (eggs and milk) at first – add most of it and if you need more then you can add it
- Keep some flour in a bowl and dip your scone cutter in before stamping out the scone. The scone will come out much easier and cleaner.
- Push the floured cutter into the dough, rather than twisting it, as they are less likely to turn out lopsided.
If you don’t manage to eat all the scones in one day, they are best sliced in half and toasted the following day. Same applies if you pop them in the freezer. Still delicious!
Top Tip! Scones can be prepared in advance! If you know you would like to enjoy the scones in the morning with little time to prepare you can actually make the night before and leave them covered in the fridge. All you have to do the next day is pre-heat the oven and pop them in (this is what a lot of cafés do!)
Nothing is as good as homemade! I read a Food Standards Agency report recently that claimed some store-bought scones (in Ireland) have up to 750 calories and 39.2g of sugar in a single scone! That is the equivalent of eight teaspoons of sugar per scone. I am not saying this recipe is sugarless (they are ‘sweet scones’, after all) but fortunately you can monitor what you are putting into them and choose the size of the cutter you use.