Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Favourite Scones

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It's always interesting when you move to a new country that speaks the same language as you, but seemingly in an entirely new way. I'm still slightly amazed that after five years in Sydney, my own American-influenced English hasn't changed a bit, and I'm often told by old friends and family (in almost accusatory tones) that I still sound the same. I have, however, learned to adapt locally where necessary. For example, data (day-ta) became dah-ta, and scones (rhyming with 'own') became sco-h-nes (rhyming with 'on'). If you've followed me for a while, you'll probably also notice spelling discrepancies - I realized while editing this post that I switched between 'favorite' and 'favourite' about four times. Once out of Australia, however, my habits slip back to what it used to be. Maybe some subconscious part of my mind is just adamant against change?

But anyway, that's my little random ramble for today. More to the point of this post are these scones, however you'd like to pronounce the word, which are delicious. This is my favourite scone recipe. They taste like the scones you'll get if you go eat high tea at a fancy five star hotel, baking up tall and golden and surprisingly light, soft with a buttery crumb. This recipe is completely foolproof and only has 4 ingredients.: flour, sugar, butter and buttermilk. Buttermilk is what really transforms the flavors here as well as adds to the texture of the scone, so I'd really advise against replacing it with anything else.

The mention of scones always reminds me of Britain. I picture scones with clotted cream and jam, alongside a cup of milky tea, on a flower-patterned tablecloth. I also inevitably think of Enid Blyton - hence the quote above - who was one of the most influential writers of my childhood. What stuck with me most about Blyton's books wasn't all the incredible magical adventures or tales of girls' boarding schools, but her descriptions of food. Coincidentally (I swear I did not plan this), tomorrow would have been Blyton's 116th birthday - so these scones are in honour of her and a little piece of my childhood.

Buttermilk Scones
Adapted from GoodFood Magazine's 101 Cakes & Bakes
Makes 1 dozen

Note: If you can't find buttermilk (although I would really urge you to look for it, because buttermilk is what makes these scones good), then you can also replace it with an equal amount plain yogurt. I don't like my scones too sweet because I like to spread it with jam and cream, but if you prefer your scones plain or simply with butter, you can increase the sugar to 1/2 cup.

2 1/2 cups (350g) self-raising flour (or 2 1/2 cups plain flour, replacing 3 tsps of flour with baking powder)
1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar (see Note above)
6 tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (175ml) buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 180C/356F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Rub the butter in with the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk, then using a spoon (or your hands), lightly stir the mixture until a dough starts to form.

Dust a surface with flour and quickly bring the dough together (do not overwork it!). Press it out to about 1 inch thick, then cut out rounds with a cookie cutter. Roll the dough out again and keep going until you've used up all the dough. 

Place the scones on the baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

These'll keep for about 5 days in an airtight container, but they never last that long. 


  1. I've always wanted to try making scones but I thought they wouldn't be so easy! This recipe looks great, and so do the scones. Must try, thanks for sharing! x

  2. can you put the recipe in cup measurements? thanks!

    1. Whoops, I guess I seem to have switched between measurements systems halfway through the ingredients list! Sorry, I've added in the rest of the converted measurements now.

  3. I just used this recipe as a basis for cranberry and rose water scones. The texture is simply amazing!!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed them! Cranberry and rose water sounds like a really interesting combo. Thanks for visiting my site!


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