There are a million fancy ways to bake scones, from the somewhat reasonable (including additional ingredients like buttermilk, eggs, cornmeal, or oats) to the decidedly un-British (tropical dried fruit, chopped nuts, herbs, cheese). And while at work I sometimes experiment with crazier varieties (like a bacon, dried fig, and black pepper iteration), at home I like to keep it traditional: a plain, no-egg scone, maybe dotted with dried currants (and if my mom has sent me a care package from Trader Joe’s, then their dried blueberries), and slathered with warm butter and some jam. That’s it. These scones, with their absence of eggs and any kind of electric mixer, are so easy to make at home, and I like to whip them up when I have some half-and-half perishing in the fridge. I have a loose recipe memorized (which I believe I originally poached from an old Gourmet cookbook), and the proportions go something like this:
(Note: Scones bake at a much higher temperature than normal pastry; because of this, I like to use the convection function of my oven, which allows for the scone to get crisp and golden on top. No one likes a scorched scone).
1 C AP flour, sifted
2 T white granulated sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
4 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
6 T half and half (plus more for brushing dough)
1/2 C dried currants (soften with boiling water if really hard)
Preheat oven to 400 and line a pan with parchment.
Stir flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
With fingers, quickly work in the cold butter, until semi-incorporated into flour (small peas of butter is good!).
Slowly drizzle in half and half, stirring bowl with a fork, until dough comes together into shaggy ball.
Turn dough onto counter and shape into a disc about 1/2″ high.
Cut into 4 wedges, and move to parchment-lined pan.
Brush scones with remaining half and half, and sprinkle with sugar (turbinado, if you have it!).
Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
The next time you have someone over for tea or a coffee, offer them these. They will not be turned down.
(Unrelated query: how do you stash your cookbooks? For me, they have to be in plain sight, because I use these selected few all the time. But they also look a little weird leaning against the refrigerator, no? I’m looking for an elegant and simple solution that doesn’t mean hiding them in a drawer somewhere.)