British scones are a classic treat to enjoy as part of a ‘cream tea’ with jam and cream. They are easy to make, wonderfully soft and gently sweet. Delicious in every bite.
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We’re a little unusual in our house: I’m a Brit, the home of tea drinkers, but have always drunk more coffee than tea, and my husband is American and the reverse. Actually not even the reverse as he never drinks coffee, but he is at least more American in that he drinks more ice tea than hot.
However both of us will happily make the odd excuse to have a truly British treat of tea and scones, also known as a cream tea. The name comes from how you serve the scones, topped with jam and clotted cream. It’s a wonderfully delicious combination.
I’ll admit right now, these scones are not the healthiest of things, both in the scone ingredients themselves and the toppings. But, at the same time they are the kind of indulgence that needs to be done now and then.
A cream tea is a classic treat in Devon and Cornwall in the Southwest of England, though you’ll find it served in tearooms and cafes across the country. Just don’t get anyone in Devon and Cornwall in particular in to the debate on whether to put jam or cream on first. It can be a heated debate.
Traditional scones are very easy to make, being only a few ingredients. The trick is to work relatively quickly to help the dough stay light so that your scones get a good rise.
Tips for making scones
- Use cold butter, it makes for better scones. Cut it into small chunks before mixing into the dry ingredients.
- Handle the dough as little as possible – if you overwork it, they won’t rise properly. This means stopping mixing as soon as it all comes together. Personally, I don’t even knead it just press it together before flattening out gently, but not too thin.
- Try to cut them out straight rather than twisting the cutter – you can dust your cutter with flour to help avoid it sticking – then carefully remove them and place on a lined baking sheet. Press together any leftover dough to make additional scones. These ones may not be quite as regular or high, so try to cut as close together as you can in the first go.
See how they come together in the short video!
These classic British scones are lightly flaky, soft and buttery and the perfect vehicle to top with jam and cream. Traditionally it would be clotted cream, but whipped cream makes a decent alternative.
For me, enjoying a buttery scone takes me back to enjoying them with my parents, usually when friends were visiting. But whenever you enjoy them, they are a wonderful treat.
Like scones? Try these!
- Apple and bacon cornmeal scones
- Coconut mango scones
- Cranberry orange scones
- Gingerbread scones
- Plus get more snack recipes, both sweet and savory, in the archives.
Tools to make these scones
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline’s Cooking Amazon store.
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour 350g plain flour
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter 75g, cold
- ⅔ cup milk 150ml
- 1 egg
- Preheat the oven to 425F/220C and prepare a baking sheet with either parchment paper or a cookie sheet.
- Put the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl and stir to mix.
- Cut the butter into small chunks, add them to the flour mixture and rub them in with your hands by tossing the butter in the flour and rubbing the butter between your finger tips to break it into small pieces. Alternatively, use a pastry cutter. Either way, make sure you don't overwork the dough. You are looking for a breadcrumb-like texture.
- Save 1 tbsp of the egg and combine it with 1 tbsp of milk. Add the remaining egg and milk and mix in to the dough, ideally with a blunt knife or a spatula to just combine everything.
- Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and press it together so it sticks. Flatten it out to around ⅔-1in/2-3cm thick and cut out rounds, trying not to twist the cutter as you cut (around a 2 ½in/6cm cutter is good but you can make smaller if you prefer). Carefully transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet.
- Brush the top of the scones with the reserved egg and milk.
- Bake for around 10-12 minutes until gently brown on top.
This post was originally shared in June 2016 as a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Snapple. The opinions and text are all mine. It has since been updated including new photos and a video.