Ultimate scones

Ultimate scones

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(77 ratings)


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Cooking time

Takes 25-35 minutes

Skill level



Serves 5 - 6

Learn the secret of making perfect scones every time, with Angela Nilsen's ultimate recipe

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freeze only after baking
Nutrition info

Nutrition per scone (without the trimmings)

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  • 225g self-raising flour, preferably organic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g slightly salted butter, chilled, cut in small pieces
  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 4 tbsp full-fat milk
  • a little extra flour for dusting
  • strawberry jam and clotted cream, to serve

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  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C and lightly butter a baking sheet (unless you’re using a non-stick sheet). Tip the flour into a mixing bowl with the salt. Shoot in the butter, then rub together with your fingers to make a reasonably fine crumbed mixture, lifting to aerate the mixture as you go. Try not to overrub, as the mixture will be lighter if it’s a little bit flaky. Now stir in the sugar.
  2. Measure the buttermilk, then mix in the milk to slacken it. Make a bit of a well in the middle of the flour mixture with a round-bladed knife, then pour in most of this buttermilk mixture, holding a little bit back in case it’s not needed. Using the knife, gently work the mixture together until it forms a soft, almost sticky, dough. Work in any loose dry bits of mixture with the rest of the buttermilk. Don’t overwork at this point or you will toughen the dough.
  3. Lift the ball of soft dough out of the bowl and put it on to a very lightly floured surface. Knead the mixture just 3-4 times to get rid of the cracks.
  4. Pat the dough gently with your hands to a thickness of no less than 2cm and no more than 2.5cm. Dip a 5.5cm round fluted cutter into a bowl of flour – this helps to stop the dough sticking to it, then cut out the scones by pushing down quickly and firmly on the cutter with the palm of your hand – don’t twist it.You will hear the dough give a big sigh as the cutter goes in. Gather the trimmings lightly then pat and cut out a couple more scones.
  5. Place on the baking sheet and sift over a light dusting of flour or glaze if you wish. Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack, uncovered if you prefer crisp tops, or covered loosely with a cloth for soft ones.
  6. Serve with strawberry jam and a generous mound of clotted cream (Cornish people put jam first, then cream, Devonians the other way round). Eat them as fresh as you can.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, March 2003

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kiwilou's picture

HI, Just wondered if anyone knew where to located clotted cream in New Zealand - scones just aren't the same without it!

swoods's picture

I was making Muffins from a previous page, and had some buttermilk left.So I clicked onto this recipe. I was a bit dubious about no baking - powder, as I have always used it in scones. When I saw these little gems rising I had to keep looking through the glass door. They came out as light as a feather, I `m eating a hot one now, and wooo. They are GOOD.

briers's picture

just wondered is it ok to add fruit to the mixture, or will it ruin the receipe

junoboyle's picture
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I didn't find these as tasty as my old tried and tested recipe that I learned years ago in Home Economics class:
8ozs self-raising flour
Half teaspoon salt
2ozs butter (it has to be real butter)
1oz caster sugar
milk or egg for brushing.

With scones too much handling makes the dough tough.

dinnerparty's picture

I have never been very good at making scones, but when I made these they came out perfect. They are so light and tasty, they never last long in this house!
As I now live in New Zealand the thing I do miss to go with my scones is clotted cream!

lindaholloway's picture

A lovely light recipe. Lemon juice in ordinary milk works well. But you have got your Devonshire and Cornish muddled up! Devonians put the cream first then the jam (the sensible way!) The Cornish folk do it the wrong way round!

nanajill's picture
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Have been making scones for years,tried lots of recipes,these are superb.

kathryndonna's picture
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Excellent recipe, quick, easy and produced beautifully light scones. Wonderful with thick cream, fresh srawberries and a pot of tea!

hyuffx's picture
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Perfect texture, lovely and light, not too dense. I added a squeeze of lemon to milk to mimic buttermilk, as advised above. Worked a treat.

anne-laure's picture

Love the recipe. First time I tried making scones and they turned out gorgeous with my favourite strawberry conserve: Bonne Maman.

elizagil's picture
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Absolutely brilliant recipe, worked perfectly

purpleflufff's picture

I haven't tried this recipe yet. But am planning to.. I found this following tip on another scone recipe.. it might help.. Know-how
Adding a squeeze of lemon juice to the milk sours it slightly, mimicking sharp-tasting buttermilk, often used in scones but sometimes tricky to find. The slightly acidic mix gives a boost to the raising agents in the flour and baking powder.

zuraida's picture

I can't find buttermilk in the stores, what can I use as substitute?

redden's picture

This is a great recipe. I have used it often and it never lets me down! Thank you.

rmunro's picture

Absolutely the best scone recepie! A wonderful light airy texture and so simple the children enjoy making them.