Conquering the Scone

Scones are easy, right? Most kids can bake them. I couldn’t.

For some reason every time I’ve tried to bake scones in the past, it has been a complete disaster. They always came out hard and dry or cakey. The texture was never right. I had pretty much given up and resigned myself to a life devoid of homemade scones until a miracle happened, and these came out of the oven.

I think buttermilk in this recipe helps keep them flakey and moist, and the trick seems to be to handle the dough as little as possible.

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Buttermilk Scones
Makes 6 scones

225g self-raising flour
40g sugar
75g butter, at room temperature
1 medium egg, at room temperature
4 tablespoons buttermilk*
pinch of salt
1/3 cup raisins

*If you don’t have buttermilk, use 4 tablespoons of milk and add a few drops of lemon or cider/white wine vinegar. Let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes and use.

Preheat oven to 220°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Sift the flour and the salt into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour using your fingertips until everything resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and raisins and mix well.

In a smaller bowl, beat the egg with 2 tablespoons of buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until everything begins to come together. Finish mixing with your hands, but work the dough as little as possible. If the mixture seems a bit too dry, add just enough buttermilk to bring everything together, one tablespoon at a time. As soon as the mixture comes together, form into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Pat down to about 2.5cm thickness and cut using a round cookie cutter. Do not twist the cookie cutter when bringing it up as this will prevent the scones from rising in the oven.

Place the scones on a baking sheet and lightly brush them with the remaining buttermilk.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Best eaten on the same day. Can be frozen.

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