- 350g self-raising flour, plus more for dusting
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…
- 85g butter, cut into cubes
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 175ml milk
One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- squeeze lemon juice (see Know-how below)
- beaten egg, to glaze
The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…
- jam and clotted cream, to serve
Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder, then mix. Add the butter, then rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.
Put the milk into a jug and heat in the microwave for about 30 secs until warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, then set aside for a moment. Put a baking sheet in the oven.
Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and combine it quickly with a cutlery knife – it will seem pretty wet at first. Scatter some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat into a round about 4cm deep.
Take a 5cm cutter (smooth-edged cutters tend to cut more cleanly, giving a better rise) and dip it into some flour. Plunge into the dough, then repeat until you have four scones. By this point you’ll probably need to press what’s left of the dough back into a round to cut out another four. Brush the tops with beaten egg, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.
Bake for 10 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking, generously topped with jam and clotted cream. If freezing, freeze once cool. Defrost, then put in a low oven (about 160C/fan140C/gas 3) for a few mins to refresh.
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.
Scones are so quick to make that my mum would often emerge with a plateful before we’d even noticed she’d gone! I’ve borrowed her tip of using warm milk, and added a few tricks of my own for light scones that rise every time
For toweringly tall scones, always pat the dough out a bit thicker than you think you should. I say pat rather than knead because scones are essentially a sweet soda bread and, like other soda breads, will become tough when over-handled. Kick-start the scones’ rise with a hot baking tray and don’t leave the dough sitting around. If you like your scones with lots of juicy fruit, stir 85g plump sultanas into the mix at the same time as the sugar.