Ultimate Guide to British Scones

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Are you wondering what to serve at your next coffee or book club meeting? Look no further. Use this guide to find out how to make the best English scones. In the UK, these are served as a ‘cream tea’ in the late morning, or with afternoon tea. These scones are the best and super easy to make – they’re a fun treat to complement dinner or serve as a between-meal snack with a refreshing drink.

Should I be adding an egg to my english scone batter? What does it do?

Whether or not eggs are added to the scones is entirely a matter of personal preference. Adding an egg to your scone batter will change the texture of your scones, creating a richer, denser result. This recipe will work either way, the eggs are completely optional and don’t need to be replaced.

What is the difference between English scones and biscuits?

English scones use more leavening and less butter than traditional biscuits. They are also made with cream. They end up denser than American scones or cookies, but less sweet.

You’ll be using grated butter to make a cookie-like dough, but you’ll be using cream in the dough and brushing on top. These scones are great with traditional biscuit or toast toppings such as apple butter, jam, honey butter or plain savory butter.

Grated Butter vs. Pastry Cutter vs. Food Processor

Scones require a pastry technique where you cut the fat into the flour mixture to create a sandy gritty texture. This process evenly distributes the cold fat in the recipe. When baked at high temperatures, this fat expands rapidly, creating a flaky, layered texture in baked goods. There are a few different ways to accomplish this. You can grate the butter with a cheese grater or a pastry cutter for the traditional manual method, or you can use the S-blade on a food processor to churn the fat.

Can I make the dough ahead of time?

Yes. This dough freezes well and can be made later. Make the dough and cut into wedges, then wrap in parchment paper and seal in freezer bags. To make, thaw dough and bake as directed.

Choice of flavors for scones

  • Blueberry Scones (1 cup blueberries + 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • Chocolate Chip Scones (1 cup mini chocolate chips)
  • Cranberry Orange Scones (3/4 cup dried cranberries + 2 tablespoons orange zest)
  • Pumpkin Scones (replace half the heavy cream with 1/2 cup pumpkin puree + 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
  • Cranberry Scones (1 cup dried cranberries + 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • Lemon Scones (substitute 1/4 cup heavy cream with 1/4 cup lemon juice + 2 Tbsp lemon zest)
  • Cinnamon Scones (substitute brown sugar for white sugar + 1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon)

Service suggestion:

English scones are served with jam and butter, clotted cream, honey butter and applesauce. The most common fruity addition in the UK is raisins or golden raisins. You can add a variety of fruits and berries to change the flavor or sweeten the scone a bit.