I love a scone, it's such a simple and delicious thing - great with cream, butter, jam or anything you fancy. It's a staple in Scotland and in the west of England.
When I go into a cafe I usually order a scone and a coffee or a scone and a nice cup of tea. Of course if it's some dreadful coffee chain they won't have them, but lots of independent places make their own because it's so easy!
Here's a recipe from Jacqui at Inverewe gardens in NW Scotland where we had some particularly good ones.
8oz of self-raising flour
an egg and some milk
2oz of softened butter or some other full-fat spread
1oz of caster sugar
a pinch of salt
add 2oz of fruit if you want fruit scones
or 3oz of grated cheese for the cheese version
Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor (the metal blade works for me) and drop in the butter in small pieces whilst the machine is running.
Whisk up the egg and about the same amount of milk in a bowl then tip it into the food processor with it running. Leave it running and pause to see if the mixture balls up and whizzes round the outside of the processor bowl, if not add a little more milk until it does, thus becoming a lump of dough that looks like raw pastry. Stop the machine and spread the dough out on a floured surface. Add the fruit or cheese (these are optional - you can leave the scones plain if you want) and fold it over and over until well distributed.
Flatten out the dough to about one inch thick and cut out the scones with a cookie cutter or a knife. A couple of inches diameter is fine.
Place the scones on a lightly floured baking tray and pop into a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees c (350 F) or gas mark 4 for about 15-20 minutes when they should have gone a bit brown on top.
Allow them to cool on a rack for a few minutes if you can resist, but they are best served warm with butter and jam.
Scones can be kept in a tin for a few days and rejuvenated by splashing them with cold water and popping them into a hot oven for five minutes. They come out just as good as if they were freshly baked! (works for bread rolls too...)
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