Friday, January 18, 2013

First attempt at scones!

I have been off work this week due to stress and bereavement issues.  After 6 months of the roller coaster of Mom's health, I didn't really cope very well when she finally gave up her struggle.  It was the strangest reaction - I just couldn't stay awake!  I guess it could have been worse, I think I was just exhausted.  Luckily the system in the UK allows people to be off work with no hassles.  (as long as justified anyway) and I have terrific employers!  Add to this that my job is to help people make complaints to the National Health Service about their healthcare, and think of the pressure that would have put on me.  So a week off was just what the doctor ordered (literally) and I feel the better for it.

My long suffering husband has been a rock and such a wonderful person through all this. I don't know what I would have done without him.  Anyway, he mentioned once he would like to try to make scones, I had never done that either.  So on the last day of my "sick" leave, we decided to give it a shot.  In the early days of married life, we tried our hands at making fancy cakes, the most famous was a sandwich, complete with lettuce leaves (all icing of course), there must be a picture of that somewhere! 

Having never made scones in my life, we were on even ground.  I found a scone recipe in Nigella Lawson's "How to be a Domestic Goddess" and decided we could trust her!

I forgot how nice it was to bake with Alan, but I also had to remind myself this was a team effort and I was not the team captain!  Alan wanted to make the biggest scones possible and I thought maybe we shouldn' we compromised and used the second biggest cutter.  And we had to seriously discuss exactly how big 3cm is!  To the extent that Alan got a ruler out!  I still think that was too high.....

Here is the recipe and I will let you know our results following that! And I apologize - I forgot to find American equivalents while I was in the process of measuring and mixing.  So if and when we try this again, I will try to do better. 

This is Nigella's recipe copied directly from page 67 of the Domestic Goddess cookbook:

Lily's Scones

500g Plain Flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
4 1/2 tsps cream of tartar
50g cold unsalted butter, diced
25g Trex, in tea spooned lumps (or use
another 25g butter)   (Trex is just like Crisco and I actually used Crisco)
300ml milk
1 large egg, beaten, for egg - wash
6 1/2  cm crinkle edged round cutter
1 baking tray, lightly greased

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.

Sift the flour, salt, bicarb and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Rub in the fats till it goes like damp sand.  Add the mill all at once, mix briefly - briefly being the operative word - and then turn out onto a floured surface and knead to form a dough.

Roll out to 3cm (1 1/2 inches) thickness.  Dip the cutter into some flour, then stamp out at least 10 scones. You get 12 in all from this, but may need to reroll for the last 2.  Place on the baking tray very close together - the idea is that they bulge and stick together on cooking - then brush the tops with egg-wash.  Put in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until risen and golden.

Always eat freshly baked, preferably still warm from the oven, with clotted cream and jam.

Makes 12

Alan rubbing in the fats. (my nails are too long and it was fun to watch how he did this!!)
Here are the scones in the oven, yum!
As a result of using the second largest cutter we own, the recipe only made 7 scones, and they also did not cook as quickly or as well as I had hoped. We have agreed to try them again and make them a more normal size next time! 
The freeform one in the foreground was an experiment with the last remaining dough,  didn't work though!!
And why is it that any reference to American scones makes them triangular shape?  The only time I see triangular scones in Scotland is when they are soda scones, which are completely different.

Fresh from the oven works for me, and with no clotted cream, I made do with lowfat margarine!


Scrooge McDuck: I wouldn't miss this for all the scones in Scotland!
Movie Name: DuckTales: The Movie - Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990)


  1. My friend tried to post a comment and was not able to, she contacted me on Facebook and I am posting it for her. Some good suggestions I will look forward to trying! And it even answers my question about the triangular scones, thanks, Jill!

    Love this blog; may I add some ideas scone-wise?
    1. If you use a food processor instead of rubbing in, it's much quicker. Having used both methods, I believe there is no difference to the end result
    2. You can press the dough into a round sandwich tin instead of cutting; then slice it like a cake. They do this in Devon and Cornwall for their famous cream teas
    3. Add other ingredients; we love chopped stem ginger in our scones. Apple and cinnamon is lovely too.

    Happy baking, guys!

  2. Hi Pat! You picked the ONE THING that I loved best about Cornwall: Clotted cream, jelly, and scones. Nothing in the US compares! Joseph and I intend to make banana bread together today. Not our first banana bread, but our first efforts together. I usually cook, he usually eats! I hope you enjoyed your lovely scones!

  3. There is also nothing better than banana bread! I love it when my bananas get too old and I am "forced" to make either bread or muffins with them. Maybe I shouldn't tell you this, but we can get clotted cream in our local grocery stores now. I make it a point NOT to though! Our scones were delicious and I hope you and Joseph have the same level of success working as a team in your kitchen.

  4. Loved your blog! I've never attempted scones -- I shy away from anything that needs to rise because the few attempts I made never did! So, the bread maker gets that job! Yours looked great and even nicer that it was a joint effort -- as with Hjordis, hubby does the eating and I do the cooking -- I've seen the breakfasts Jim makes for himself and I think it's better this way!! I've seen so many recipes for scones and long to try one or another, so who knows, maybe some day I'll get brave!! (Tina Slown Faulkner)

  5. Tina, I don't make anything like bread because I have never had good luck with yeast....but this is just baking soda! I am seriously thinking about tackling a proper bread recipe, complete with yeast and no breadmaker! (mine died and never was replaced) Folks who make bread say it is easy. The few attempts of mine - well, you could build a house with the loaves! One day I will try again.