Most of you have probably heard of scones, and some of you have probably already enjoyed them in a tea or coffee shop, but do you know why scones became a staple for traditional afternoon tea?
In England during the early 1800's, Anna the Duchess of Bedford asked her servant to bring her various treats for her strict 4:00pm afternoon tea time. Among these treats was a traditional Scottish sweet bread which was then known as Skones. The Duchess was extremely delighted by these biscuit like pastries that she ordered them to be served during every afternoon tea session.
Fast-forward to 2016 and these sweet scones are not only served during afternoon tea, but they are also served for breakfast with a fresh bowl of fruit. Serving savory scones have also become a popular lunch item, especially while served with a side of warm soup.
The smell that emerges from a scone shop is undeniably comforting and it gives you that instant mouth watering reaction. For some reason, last night I had this intense craving for the smell and flavor of freshly baked scones and inevitably decided to whip up a fresh batch. I dug up a recipe that I had used a few times before and it has never failed to satisfy my scone cravings. Check it out!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease with cooking spray; set aside.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until largest pieces are the size of small peas.
Using a fork, whisk together the cream and eggs in a large glass measuring cup. Make a well in the center of flour mixture, and pour in cream mixture. Stir lightly with fork just until the dough comes together (do not overmix).
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured hands, gently pat dough into a 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch rectangle, about 3/4-inch thick. Using a floured 2-inch round cutter, cut out 8 to 10 rounds, and transfer them to lined baking sheet. Brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake scones until golden brown, 16 to 20 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Voila! Freshly baked scones to enjoy alone (guilt free) or with friends.
I am by no means a scone master (yet), but this recipe is a great way to learn the basics. The scone toppings are very important for a traditional afternoon tea experience. I highly recommend serving these scones with a side of whipped cream (or clotted cream if you're feeling brave) and your favorite berry jam. If you're serving the scones with hot tea, I recommend pairing them with a strong black tea. The bold flavor of a black tea such as an organic Assam, a traditional organic English Breakfast, or Zesty Earl compliments the sweetness of the scones extremely well. Enjoy, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!