You cannot beat scones for ease. I have even knocked up a batch with a killer hangover on a Sunday morning. It helps that I live with a North American and we buy in bulk, so I always have the ingredients to hand. But you don’t need much and you don’t need a North American in residence.
Here’s one of the easiest things you’ll ever bake (in my opinion) core scone recipe from Daniel Stevens in the River Cottage Bread Book.
Scone ingredients list:
- 300g plain flour – usually white but often I use brown and it still works with the recipe.
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 75g unsalted butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 medium egg
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 120ml double cream but I use milk
- Dan’s recipe instructions say to use a food processor to combine dry the ingredients and butter – this is useful for something like scones as you don’t get the butter too warm when working it.
- If you don’t have a food processor, hands are just fine and dandy – keep it old school and all – just make sure you don’t over work the butter and flour when rubbing it between your fingers. It just needs to be that well-known consistency – that is, of breadcrumbs. Add the sugar after the flour, baking powder, salt and butter is combined if doing it by hand.
- When the dry ingredients are combined, beat the egg, vanilla essence and cream/milk (depending on how bad that hangover is) and then add this to your breadcrumb-like remaining scone ingredients. Bring together by hand into a soft dough – again don’t over work it here – then turn out onto a floured surface and knead a couple times.
- Keeping that surface floured, pat or roll your pastry until it’s about 4cm thick and begin to cut out the scones with the pastry cutter of your choice. Dan recommends 6cm – 7cm pastry cutter and says this will make around 8 scones – mine must be much smaller because I’m sure this recipe made closer to 12 scones for me.
- Pop all the scones on a lightly greased baking sheet – sometimes I just lightly dust with flour – and pop in the oven until browning on the top and cooked right through. Dan brushes milk over the top of her scones in the recipe, I never do this though they obviously look darned good if you do.
- Scones should take around 15 minutes to cook, depending on their size. Check with a cocktail stick, or whatever you have to hand along these lines – stick it in one and it should come out clean. I don’t actually ever do this I forget every time, though the 15 minutes has always done the trick.
Eat hot with good butter, homemade jam and, of course, a cuppa tea.
Fortunately I am lucky enough to have said North American in residence who likes to make jam. The scones here are served up straight out of the oven, with lashings of butter (no one said these were healthy) and strawberry and pepper jam.
We almost always make our jam from recipes out of the River Cottage jam book – with the occasional moment of inspiration (like the pepper). Pam the Jam’s recipes are awesome.