Sunday, August 12, 2012

Basic Plain Scones

Basic Plain Scones
Home Cooking

Plain scones may seem like a lacklustre restart to my home cooking campaign. I was surprised to see that I hadn't already blogged a recipe for plain scones. I've done PLENTY of variety scones, including date scones, pumpkin scones, even cherry almond scones. But no recipe for a garden variety plain scone. I tried Nigella's recipe using shortening, and hated it. The quest for a go-to recipe resumed.

I think the problem is, I used to make scones a lot but simply by feel. You're welcome to do that of course, but for those who feel reassured by measured quantities, here's a reliable and easy recipe.

I credit this recipe to Woman's Weekly Bake, which is fast becoming my encyclopaedia of baking. I halved the recipe from the book, which was supposed to make 20 scones. I ended up with 12 smallish scones. I like keeping them petite because it's harder to overeat and regret it later.

Basic Plain Scones
Makes 10-12 (depending on size)

  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar (can be substituted with regular white sugar)
  • 30g butter, chopped coarsely
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) milk
  • 1/3 cup (90ml) water

1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Grease a rectangular tin.
2. Sift the flour and sugar together into a large bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingertips.
3. Make a well into the centre of the flour mixture. Add the water and almost all the milk. Use a knife to 'cut' the milk and water through the flour, mixing it into a soft, sticky dough.
4. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth (you don't need to knead it excessively, just until it comes together).
5. Press the dough out to about 2cm thickness.
6. Dip a 4.5cm round cutter into flour and cut as many rounds as you can from the piece of dough. Place the scones side by side, just touching, in the greased pan. Scrape together the remaining dough and repeat the pressing and cutting to produce more scones. Place in the same pan and brush the tops with the extra milk.
7. Bake the scones for about 15 minutes or until just browned and the scones sound hollow when tapped firmly with fingers.

It's hard to find a go-to recipe for basics and classics. With regards to scones, there are all kinds of variations with cream, soda water and so on. I'm going to forget all that. This recipe worked perfectly for me. It was easy to follow and milk and butter is something I always have in my pantry, whereas cream and lemonade are items I'd have to purchase especially.

Close-up texture shot

The scones were exactly as they should be. I had a couple whilst still hot and when pulled apart, a little puff of steam came out. Adorable. The texture is flight with just the right amount of doughiness that makes a scone, well a scone, rather than a breadroll.

I had these with cream and homemade strawberry and apple jam (recipe to come). There is no going past this winning combination. Some things don't require alteration and scones with jam and cream is one such example of a match made in heaven.

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