Scones aka Tea Biscuits

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Whatever you call them, these simple baked treats are very useful on all sorts of occasions.  Hot from the oven, dripping with a bit of butter, they’re delicious just as they are.  A simple bowl of soup ramps up to a new level when it has a  biscuit to accompany it.  Add some raisins to the dough and viola, the perfect tidbit for afternoon tea.

Years ago as a baker-in-training at technical college, biscuits were the very first thing we learned to make properly.  It seemed like a very odd choice to me back then, but now I see the wisdom in it.  Learning the skills you need to produce a batch of tender biscuits (as opposed to hard, dry lumps) lays a great foundation for all baking.  It’s a matter of learning what the dough should feel like to produce the best results;  how much flour to dust the rolling surface, how much kneading before it’s too much, measuring ingredients accurately.

This recipe makes a very soft dough, so it’s best to keep handling and rolling to a minimum.  I like the rustic look of just patting the dough into a rough rectangle and cutting into 12 pieces, plus it’s the quickest way to get them in the oven.  When you have more time to fuss, a neat way to bake the biscuits is to roll the dough into a circle and then cut into 12 wedges and roll up as you would for a crescent roll.

Scones

3 cups flour

6 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

3/4 cup butter

1 1/2 cups milk

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the butter and rub till mixture is crumbly.  Add the milk and stir to make a soft dough.   Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead gently just until dough is ready to be rolled.  Roll or pat out to about 3/4” and cut shapes as desired.  Place biscuits on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for about 18 minutes.  Makes 12 generous scones.  For a shiny crust, beat an egg with 3 tbsp water and then brush each biscuit before baking.

The variations are only limited by your imagination.  Here are just two:

Buttermilk Scones:  reduce baking powder to 3 3/4 tsp and add 3/4 tsp baking soda.   The buttermilk makes a heavier biscuit, but adds flavor.

Fruited Scones:  stir in a 3/4 cup of raisins or other dried fruit (blueberries, cranberries, etc) that have been rinsed  and drained.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Janet
    Feb 16, 2013 @ 18:56:36

    Perhaps I need a lesson in biscuit making. They seldom turn out well. I have a scone recipe that works though.

    Reply

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