Monday, July 7, 2008

Scones

Scones are what I make when I want to bake but don't have any eggs. They have the further appealing attributes of being very quick to make, and best eaten warm from the oven. It occurs to me that scones would be a good thing to make with children: easy, always reliable, fun to stamp out and out of the oven so quickly that their interest won't wane first.

The recipe below is for plain scones - just add a handful of your dried fruit of choice and reduce the sugar by half or leave out completely for fruit scones. Whichever you make, they are best eaten still warm with a layer of jam and a layer of whipped (or clotted) cream. Bliss!

Makes about 8 smallish scones:
  • 8oz self raising flour
  • good pinch of salt
  • 2oz butter (straight from the fridge)
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1/4 pint of milk

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease and flour a baking sheet. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, sieving first if you have a strong perfectionist streak. Cube the butter and then rub in with your fingers until you have a fine sand. Stir in the sugar and fruit if desired. Add 2/3 or so of the milk and mix in with a knife or metal spoon. You are aiming for a soft, springy, but not sticky, dough, so add more of the milk if necessary. Conversely, if you are a bit heavy handed with the milk, just throw in a spoonful or two of extra self-raising flour to compensate. Roll out on a flat surface to about 2cm thick and cut into rounds with a straight or fluted cookie cutter (though I did have a housemate at university who just cut squares with a knife). Place on the baking sheet and brush the tops with a little milk. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 mins, until risen and golden on top. Split, smear thickly with jam and cream and eat, with a cup of tea alongside, as soon as they are cool enough to handle.

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