All I can say is WOW! Audax has made 16 batches and browsed through more then 200 recipes!! How crazy is that? Don't get me wrong, I armire him so much! He's provided us with so many useful pieces of advice and explained everything! Literally, I swear. He made scones sound so great I had to make them the moment I read the challenge for January which was on the first of January :) I've never baked any challange recipe this soon!!
Scone is a traditional small Scottish quick bread. They are usually made of flour, baking powder, butter, milk, salt and sugar. It's a basic component of the cream tea or Devonshire tea. A cream tea is a tea served with scones. clotted cream and jam usually in the afternoon. Scones are called biscuits in North America. This pastry is very popular in English speaking countries, e.g. Australia, the UK, America, Ireland etc.
The original scone was round and flat, usually the size of a medium size plate. It was made with unleavened oats and baked on a griddle, then cut into triangle-like quadrants for serving. Today, many would call the large round cake a bannock, and call the quadrants scones. In Scotland, the words are often used interchangeably. When baking powder became available to the masses, scones began to be the oven-baked, well-leavened items we know today. (Wikipedia.org)
Scones (biscuits) contain only a small number of ingredients they are fast to make, quick to bake, only cost cents per batch and most importantly are super FUN to eat. In England and Australia scones are eaten with jam and butter (or clotted cream) usually with cups of tea or coffee mostly as a sweet snack, while in North America they are usually eaten with meals as a savoury side. (Audax's notes)
Since I am a bit crazy when it comes to baking, too, I couldn't resist and make a research on my own :D I browsed a huge lot of websites and even books (though I don't think it was more than 200 :D) and found out the recipes for scones don't differ too much. I made one batch of scones using my recipe and one batch using Audax's recipe. My-recipe scones didn't have the smooth look, were rather airy than flaky but raised quite a lot. On the other hand, Audax's-recipe scones had the smooth look, raised a bit more and were flaky when cut through. For the ultimate comparison see Verdict :)
Now let's move to the ingredients. Try to use plain flour rather than all-purpose - the plain is more finely ground and produces lighter and well-raised scones though you'll get good results with all-purpose flour, too :) When it comes to fat, use butter, no exceptions! Nothing makes your scones as flavorful as real butter!
So here I have for you my recipe. I think I can dare to say it's traditional :) By the way, don't forget to come back! I've prepared one more scone variation I'm about to share with you soon :) And now let's make some divine scones :)
225g (1 3/4 cups) plain flour, sifted
35g (1/5 cup) caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
50g (1/5 cup) cold butter, cut into tiny pieces
150ml (2/3 cup) milk
1 egg for eggwash
Whisk together sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Rub the butter pieces into the flour mixture until it resembles very coarse crumbs. Now mix in sugar and pour in milk. Using a wooden spatula, mix until it just forms a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. Using your hands, knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. Roll out the dough into a rectangle 2,5cm thick. Using a well-floured 5 cm scone cutter (or cookie cutter), stamp out without twisting rounds, gently reform the scraps into another 2,5cm thick layer and cut more scones. Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the cookie sheet if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with eggwash. Bake in preheated oven to 200C for about 10-15 minutes or until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.
- Serve with either clotted cream or butter and homemade jam. The type of jam (or preserve) is completely up to you, but it tastes better with sourer types. I preffer red currant, apricot, raspberry or blackberry preserves :)
- Eat them as soon as possible otherwise they become tough and dry. My tip is freezing the leftover scones asap and lightly reheating them in oven when you want to eat them.
So, I tried both my version and challenge version. Even though I prefer the smooth look of Audax's scones, I find them a little bit on the dry side. They have wonderful butter taste and beautiful flaky texture but I miss some other flavor in the dough - I'd increase salt a bit and add sugar (the lack of it surprised me). As for mine, they don't look as good as Audax's, but they have crispy crust and very soft inside. They're quite moist (which is quite strange because the recipe uses much less liquid than the challenge one) with suble salty and sweet taste that makes nice contrast. The butter flavor is awesome :D To summarize it, I enjoyed both versions but prefer the more traditional recipe which I based on my own research. Anyway, they taste divine with butter and homemade jam or even Nutella :)