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How to Make Perfect Scones
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Scones are very simple and quick to make using store cupboard ingredients. You can have a batch of warm scones on the table within half an hour. The main thing to remember is that the dough needs very light mixing and it should be soft, much softer than pastry. In fact it is better to have the dough a little too soft rather than too dry. Also, it is important to place scones into a hot oven to cook so that they can start rising straight away. Preheat your oven for a good 15 minutes. Scones are best served the day they are made, ideally warm from the oven, but can be reheated for a few minutes, if necessary. Alternatively, freeze in an airtight container for up to three months
Glazing the Top
The basic recipe will give a lovely crusty top to the scones. If you like a light shine, brush with a little milk and sprinkle with caster sugar. For a high glaze brush the tops with a beaten egg.
Varying the Flavour
Buttermilk - replace the milk with 175g buttermilk for an even lighter texture and slightly sweeter flavour.
Stir in 50-75g dried fruit of your choice (try chopped apricots or mango) and 1 tsp ground cinnamon with the sugar.
Omit the sugar and stir in 75g grated mature Cheddar instead. Add 1 tsp mustard with the milk. Brush the tops of the scones with milk and sprinkle with a little more grated cheese before baking.
Replace half the flour with self raising wholemeal flour. You may need an extra tablespoon of milk for mixing. Use light muscovado sugar instead of caster sugar.
Mixing bowl, sieve, round-bladed knife, baking sheet, rolling pin, 6cm pastry cutter, pastry brush, kitchen scales.
This recipe was first published in June 2001.