Ultimate scones

Ultimate scones

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(83 ratings)

Takes 25-35 minutes


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: per scone (without the trimmings)

  • kcal262
  • fat9g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs42g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre1g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.9g
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  • 225g self-raising flour, preferably organic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 50g slightly salted butter, chilled, cut in small pieces



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 125ml buttermilk
    Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



    There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

  • 4 tbsp full-fat milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • a little extra flour for dusting



    Flour is a powdery ingredient usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As…

  • strawberry jam and clotted cream, to serve



    Once available in Britain for just a brief period during the summer, strawberries are now a year…


  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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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swiftsmith's picture
12th Oct, 2012
Oh dear! Just made these and they didn't rise at all, they spread out instead. My oven isn't the best but it can usually do cakes well enough, not sure what happened here... (they still tasted nice though).
11th Oct, 2012
I love this recipe! Always get perfect scones.
23rd Sep, 2012
Made these yesterday but as I didn't have any buttermilk I squeezed a little lemon juice in full fat milk (as suggested by Devonshire girl)and it worked a treat. I hadn't made scones since my schooldays and was wondering how they would turn out. They were delicious with home made strawberry jam and whipped cream. Will definitely be making them again in double the quantity!!!
22nd Sep, 2012
Sorry forgot to rate the recipe. I give it a full 5. Brill, crunchy on the outside, soft & fluffy on the inside.
22nd Sep, 2012
Just made a shed load of scones for the Macmillan coffee morning I'm hosting. They have come out perfect, the best I've ever done. Even with the heavy hands of my dear 5 year old daughter helping. Just hope that they freeze well, for the big day on Friday 28th Sept. Any tips on the re-heat. Do I cook from frozen or defrost first?
4th Sep, 2012
Mine haven't risen at all! I followed the recipe, hardly worked it at all and they are the same size as they were when I put them in the oven! Has anyone got a suggestion??
27th Sep, 2013
Paulandsuzanne- maybe you used plain flour instead of self-raising flour?
4th Aug, 2012
Lovely light, moist scones everytime - so quick and easy to make in the mixer wth the addition of a teaspoon of bicarb, but remember not to overmix. I always make double the quantity which makes 10 proper ones and a sort of odd shaped one with the scraps - for the cook :-D These scones freeze really well and taste just as good with a blast in the microwave. Jam first, cream on top - and I'm in Penzance!
14th Jul, 2012
My ones didnt rise.. I don't understand what went wrong there, followed the steps exactly and have made scones successfully before. The only thing that I did differently was that I swapped golden caster sugar for normal white sugar as I didn't have the golden one at hand. Also, I don't think I overworked it.. anyway they taste fine but not fluffy and light. Anyone has any idea what could have gone wrong? Would like to try this again.
27th Jun, 2012
Made a english cream tea for some French friends of mine, and used this recipe, they were all really impressed by the 'gateau anglaise' and wanted the recipe. I could not get buttermilk over here but used natural yoghurt and they looked and tasted amazing. Ultimate is really the correct word for this brilliant recipe!!


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