Easy, Flaky, and Delicious Scones
South Africa was a British (and a Dutch) colony, so there is a lot of influence from the English in South Africa. The love for a simple scone is one of them!
I have to admit, making scones felt intimidating to me for the longest time. It seemed like scones are only for expert bakers, or those who have gone to culinary school. And it’s with good reason I felt that way—my first few attempts at making scones were a flop.
But no more! This scone recipe delivers a buttery, flaky, moist, delicious center with crispy edges.
And you don’t have to be an expert to do it either! Below are a few easy tips to follow so that you too can create scones that are deliciously addicting!
I also need to add that this scone recipe is based on the English scone recipes. That being said, it is sweet, but not super sweet. In my opinion, it’s the perfect sweetness but if you like it sweeter, feel free to add an additional ¼ cup (or so) of sugar.
Easy, Flaky Scone Recipe
Prep Time: 20mins | Cook Time: 25mins | Servings: 6-8 | Difficulty: Easy
2½ cups of all-purpose flour (For best results, use pastry flour or a combination of all-purpose and pastry flour.)
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons baking powder
½ cup (1 stick) frozen (or cold) butter
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⁄3 cup heavy cream (+ a little extra for brushing)
1⁄3 cup sour cream
Scone Recipe For Sweet Scones
- In a medium sized, chilled bowl, mix together your egg, vanilla extract, cream, and sour cream. Set aside while you prepare the dry ingredients.
- In a large, chilled bowl, mix together your flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
- Using a chilled pastry cutter or cheese grater, cut your butter into the dry ingredients. (A cheese grater makes the job a little easier.)
- Incorporate the butter into the mixture, but don’t overmix. You want to see pea-sized chunks of butter.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir in your wet ingredients. If you have scone add-ins (see below for examples), now is the time to add them.
- Dip your hands into the flour, then finish the process by kneading. Work the dough by folding it over itself a few times. You do not want to overwork the dough—overworked dough will result in tough scones.
- Add some flour onto a clean surface to create your work space.
- Working quickly, form 6-8 portions. You can use a knife or pizza cutter to create triangles. You can also create circles. Keep in mind—the thicker your portions, the taller your scones will be.
- Place them in the refrigerator to chill for 45 minutes, or in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- When it gets close to the end of the chill period, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees celcuis).
- Place the shaped scones onto a lined baking sheet. (You can line it with parchment paper or use a baking mat.)
- Position the scones at least 3 inches (7-8cm) apart.
- To deliver a nice brown color, brush the top of your scones with cream.
- Optional: For extra sweetness, sprinkle a little sugar onto each scone.
- Bake your scones for 10 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celcius). Do not open the oven, but turn down the heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 Celcius). Continue baking for 8-15 minutes until it’s golden brown.
- Do not overbake. Let it rest on a wire rack until it’s cooled down.
- Serve warm or completely cooled down.
Traditionally, we like to eat our scones with a little bit of butter and jam. You can even have it plain. However, this scone recipe is extremely versatile so you have tons of scone mix-in options.
To include scone mix-ins, you will need to fold in about 3/4 to 1 cup into your scone dough.
Here are a few sweet scone ideas:
- Chocolate chips;
- Dried apricots (chopped up);
- Toasted pecans.
You can also get creative and add combinations, like:
- Blueberries with lemon zest;
- Cranberries and orange zest or extract;
- Pecans with almond extract
- Frozen raspberry and white chocolate chips;
- White chocolate chips and macadamia nuts;
- Apple and cinnamon.
Helpful Tips For Baking Scones
- Use frozen (or very cold) butter. This delivers a better rise for your scones and a flaky texture.
- Think cold. The colder the better. For best results, put your mixing bowl and pastry cutter in the refrigerator before you start.
- Delay preheating the oven. By preheating the oven while you’re preparing the dough, the kitchen may warm up and therefore your scone dough.
- Don’t overmix. Mix your scone ingredients until the dough comes together, then stop.
- Lumps are good. You’re not looking for a smooth batter. You want lumps.
- Consider pastry flour. All-purpose flour is okay but pastry flour delivers a lighter scone. You can also use a combination of pastry flour and all purpose flour.
- Shape your scones, then chill them. While they’re chilling, you can preheat the oven. This final chill relaxes the gluten and yields a tender, flaky texture.
- Choose your scone add-ins wisely. If you are adding fruit, don’t choose fruit that is super juicy. Rinse and dry it well. If you are using frozen fruit, do not thaw it.
- Do not overbake. You’re not baking cupcakes.