I have made a lot of scones in all my years of baking but the best recipe and tip I have found is Paul Hollywood's recipe for scones - he uses fine strong flour which makes them lighter and less doughy tasting. I wouldn't make scones with any other flour than strong now.
Scones are great - you can add all sorts to them - treacle, syrup, dried fruit,cinnamon, glace cherries, cheese, herbs, plain - the list is endless really. Then there is the filling - some like them plain but others have the clotted cream and homemade jam out...yum my favourite! Scones feel like a healthy treat as opposed to a cake and are on the savoury end of baking. They fill you up and are delicious. I always make them for Portobello Market and they always sell out.
Please give this a try - you won't be disappointed!
It is a messy recipe- or maybe that's just me - and you don't need a mixer - it is done by had - better by hand as it will get more air in meaning a bigger scone!
500g (but you need to only measure 450g to start with for the scones) Strong White Flour.
80g softened Butter plus a little extra to grease the baking tray.
80g Caster Sugar.
2 large Eggs.
5 tsp Baking Powder.
250ml Milk - you might not need the whole amount of milk.
1 Egg, beaten with a little Salt (for glazing) .
1. Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan assisted)/425F/Gas 7.
Lightly grease a baking tray with butter and line it with baking or silicone paper (not greaseproof).
2.Put 450g of the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. Rub the flour and butter together with your fingers till it looks like breadcrumbs.
3. Add the sugar, baking powder and eggs - folding in gently to combine. Make sure that you mix down to bottom to bowl to ensure it all incorporated.
4. Add half of the milk and keep turning the mixture gently with the spoon to combine. Then add the remaining milk a little at a time and bring everything together to form a very soft, wet dough. Remember you might not need all the milk.
5. Sprinkle most of the remaining flour (50g - but you might need more) onto a clean work surface. Tip the soft dough out onto the work surface and sprinkle the rest of the flour on top. The mixture will be wet and sticky.
6. Use your hands to fold the dough in half, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat. By folding and turning the mixture in this way (called 'chaffing'), you incorporate the last of the flour and add air. Do this a few times until you’ve formed a smooth dough. If the mixture becomes too sticky use some extra flour to coat the mixture or your hands to make it more manageable. Be careful not to overwork your dough.
7. Roll the dough out or just flatten it out with your hands till couple inches thick - I never use a rolling pin for it now - sprinkle flour onto the work surface and the top of the dough, then use the rolling pin to roll up from the middle and then down from the middle. Turn the dough by 90 degrees and continue to roll until it’s about 2.5cm/1in thick. ‘Relax’ the dough slightly by lifting the edges and allowing the dough to drop back onto the work surface.
8. Using a pastry cutter, stamp out rounds from the pastry and place them onto the baking tray. Dip the edge of the pastry cutter in flour to make it easier to cut out the scones without them sticking. Just press the cutter down firmly, then lift it up and push the dough out.
Once you’ve cut 4 or 5 rounds you can re-work and re-roll the dough to make it easier to cut out the remaining rounds. Any leftover dough can be worked and rolled again, but the resulting scones won’t be as fluffy.
9.Place the scones on the baking tray and leave them to rest for a few minutes to let the baking powder work. Then use a pastry brush (or your finger if you don’t have a brush) to glaze them with the beaten egg and salt mixture. Be careful to keep the glaze on the top of the scones. (If it runs down the sides it will stop them rising evenly.)
10.Bake the scones in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until the scones are risen and golden-brown.
11.Leave the scones to cool, then enjoy!
Val. (and Paul H).