Scones are easy easy easy to make, highly variable and really yummy.
Turn the oven on to "almost as hot as it gets" - that's 230°C (which is 450°F- Thank you m_turner) in my oven.
Put about a cup of self-raising flour into a mixing bowl.
Put a big blob of margarine or softened butter in there too.
The fat must not get warm enough to melt. That's the only even slightly tricky thing about scones. Mix in a cool room and don't put the bowl on your lap.
Using the back of the wooden spoon, squish the margarine through the flour until it looks like rather rough
bread crumbs, If it's wetter then bread crumbs, bung in a little more flour. If it's drier than bread crumbs, put in a bit more marg.
This is where you decide what flavour you want your scones. Add a handful of any of:
along with a tablespoon of sugar
a handful of any of:
along with a handful of grated cheese, if you like cheese. And who doesn't like cheese? :)
Or you can make them plain - either with just flour, fat and water (or you can use milk) or with those plus a tablespoon of sugar.
Mix it all up till it looks all mixed.
Turn on your cold water tap. Adjust it till there's a tiny but smooth trickle of water running.
Let a little splash of water come into your mixture. Mix it in till it looks all mixed again.
Keep doing that till the mixture is wet enough to stick together, but not all gluggy.
Sprinkle a large handful of flour (I use SR again, but plain is fine at this stage) all over the bit of clean bench where you are going to work.
Plop the mixture out on the bench.
Squish it down with your hands - but remember, your hands can be quite warm, so don't squish for too long.
If you want to use a rolling pin, rub flour all over it before it touches the
mixture. If you don't feel like washing yet another thing up when you have finished, just make the mixture nice and flat by
hand-squishing. You want it to be about... Um... 2cm thick?
Get a large, flat metal tray. Either rub a fine layer of fat all over it, or cover it entirely in
Aluminium Foil. Put it next to your mixture. I put it on my right and I am right handed.
You don't have to use a cutter unless you want to. If you don't, take a bread-and-butter knife and cut the scone mixture into strips, then squares. They should be no larger than 1/4 of a CD cover... and even that is almost too large.
If you have and want to use a cutter, put its cutting surface down into some of the flour on your bench. Swirl it round while it's pressed down so the whole inside gets a little flour on it. Press it down on the smoothed out mixture, lift it up quickly and you should have a little circle of scone.
Transfer this to the flat tin. If it didn't come up with the cutter you will need to slide a bread-and-butter knife underneath and lift it up with that.
Place the scones on the tray with an about-1/2-their-own-width-sized space between them.
If you used a cutter, you will have a large, holey, bit of scone mixture on the bench. Wash your hands in cold water, dry them, and squish it all up together again. Squish it flat. Cut it again. Repeat till it's almost all used up. -
But he more times you re-squish, the less "light" your scones will be.
When your tray is covered with scones, open the oven only as much as you have to to get the tray in without either dropping the scones
(drop scones are quite different:) or burning yourself.
Slip the tray in on a shelf in the top half of the oven, set a timer for seven minutes, close the door and put all your dirty mixing stuff into the sink. Clean down the bench. Get out a wooden board to protect the bench from the hot tray (actually, I put the hot tray on the
stove top, so the heat doesn't matter).
Don't open the oven till the seven minutes are up.
When the timer goes off, open the oven just enough to look at the scones.
If they are a pretty golden colour on top and quite tall they are probably
Take one out (use an oven glove) and break it in half. Is the mixture nice and
cooked-looking? If so, take the tray out (If you have another tray full to cook, keep the door opening to a
minimum, otherwise, open it as wide as you like).
If it's not cooked, you can put it back for another minute or so before checking again.
Put the scones onto a plate. Plain scones like some jam and thickened cream. Savoury scones like
butter or margarine, or to be served as a side dish with roast meat.
Scoff 'em down.