3 November 2011

Baking up a tray of scones

Thank you all for the wonderful ideas that came rolling in yesterday about lunches. Reading what you wrote set me on the right path - I need to cook beforehand, portion it up and freeze. That will work well here. And now I have that in mind, I don't know why it wasn't clear to me before, because that is what I do with my baking. BTW Lis,  have you tried giving your teenagers wraps?  They take the same fillings, you'd just need to make or buy some tortillas or pita bread. It's worth a try.

I baked a few scones on the weekend. A large batch that I could divide up and freeze for later in the week. Hanno loves having a scone, slice or piece of cake with his coffee. I did about two-thirds mixed fruit scones and the other third with dates.  I LOVE date scones.  Scones are one of those things that our gramdmas would have said you need a "light hand" for. That just means that they're better if you don't handle the dough too much. Just mix, a quick shaping and cut - and Bob's your uncle. This batch of scones would have cost me about four dollars, had I left out the dried fruit, they would have cost about two dollars.

Scones are delicious hot, straight from the oven, but they also freeze well. I divided our batch up into four - we ate one lot fresh, and three went into the freezer. You can either defrost them on the kitchen bench or microwave them to get that just cooked warmth and when you spread some butter, it melts a tiny bit and runs over the side.  (Cough. Cough. Ahem.)

This is the way I make scones, it makes about 8 small scones. Double or treble the recipe if you want a couple of batches of scones to freeze.
  • 2 cups self raising flour OR plain/all purpose flour with one teaspoon of baking powder for each cup
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 30g (1 oz) butter chopped
  • 1 cup buttermilk or plain milk or half milk and half yoghurt
Plain scones, that you have with jam and cream or just with a little butter, are made using the ingredients above. If you want fruit scones like these, add an extra tablespoon of sugar, plus a cup of chopped and pitted dates or a cup of mixed dried fruit that you've soaked for at least an hour. Soaking the fruit in fresh orange juice gives a fantastic extra dimension.

  1. Preheat oven to hot, 200C. Get your tray ready by greasing it or adding baking paper.
  2. Sift flour into a large bowl. Add butter and rub in lightly with your fingers, until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  3. If you're going to add fruit, do it now.
  4. Pour in milk and mix in using a butter knife. You want a soft and sticky dough.
  5. OVER MIXING at this point will result in tough scones.
  6. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly for 15 seconds and shape the dough to about 2cm (1 inch) thickness. Cut into rounds using a cutter or floured wine glass. 
To make a large batch for a big group, you'll need 2 kg (5 lb) of SR flour, 125g (1 stick) butter to make up 50 scones.

For savoury scones, add grated cheese and chopped ham, cheese and chives or chopped up semi-dried tomato with basil.

Serve the scones hot from the oven, or rewarmed in the microwave, with a dab of butter, or with jam and a dab of cream. They don't store well so if you have any left over, store them in the freezer for later in the week.



  1. I can cook anything except scones Rhonda. It eludes me. They come out tough and chewy...and rock hard by the next day. My mother in law also tells me 'you need a light hand ' to make scones. What is a light hand and where can I get one?????? I don't think I am being rough with the dough...but I am not doing something right.

  2. Kim, if they're chewy, it sounds to me like you're kneading the dough and developing the gluten. They don't have to be kneaded like bread. Just mix, turn out on your board and shape into an oval or a square about an inch thick, then cut. You could also add lightness by sifting your flour. My mother said she couldn't make scones and mine were much better but I think that may have been a tiny white lie.

  3. I made scones/American biscuits today, too. One batch I added orange marmalade to for a sweet, the other has sharp cheddar, shredded, for savory. I freeze them individually for putting in lunch boxes along with soup, or for morning break with tea/coffee.

  4. i love Scones,made cheese and Olive ones last week-end,and Sultana,your's look delicious!

  5. I love scones warmed again in the microwave...butter dripping, not great for the diet of course but oh well!
    Scone making is something i too have never been able to conquer really well though, they taste light and yummy but never rise very high, i am always disapointed...have tried larger and smaller scones, not working them at all, higher and lower oven temps, you name it....in fact as i write this i think i may be a wee bit obsessed about never getting the perfect scone!
    I do like the recipe for pumpkin scones i use from Flo Bjelke Peterson's cookbooks though (Queenslanders will know who that is i am guessing, am a previous Sunshine Coast Gal myself Rhonda!)
    Thanks for your recipe Rhonda, looks similar to what i have been using but maybe i shall try again!
    Jode x

  6. You don't have to publish this one Rhonda but just caught your previous post and as i used that pants sewing pattern too i wanted to let you know that you may have to widen and lengthen the seat of the pants a little as i did to fit over a cloth nappy bum!Hopefully they fit for you first go but as i often have the girls in the old terry flats as well as mcn's i found i had to play with the pattern a little to accomodate.
    Jode x

  7. The recipe I use for sweet scones is expensive and 'naughty' but my scones are no fail EVERYTIME!
    I use 3 cups SR FLOUR, 1 cup lemonade and 1 cup cream. Mix until just combined, turn out on a floured surface and shape like your recipe above (barely at all). Cut into scone shapes (I use a turned up drinking glass) and bake for around 12 minutes in a hot oven. I use a recipe similar to yours Rhonda for savoury scones.

  8. Jode, I have two things you could try.
    1. instead of having your dough thickness at about 1 inch, try a thicker dough of 1.5 or 2 inches.
    2. add a teaspoon of baking powder to your SR flour. Your flour might just need a boost.

    Also, are you putting the scones into a hot oven? That makes all the difference.

  9. Thanks so much for this Rhonda. I have shied away from making scones because I made a batch some years ago and the big fellow said we should use them as door stops; they were like rocks. I'm going to try again with a lighter touch and see how it goes.

    Blessings Gail

  10. I've been using chef Gary Mehigan's (from Masterchef) recipe for lemon and date scones for some time now. I think it is his mum's recipe and it is such a time saver because it involves no rubbing in and it makes the best scones. Well, the best ones I have ever made anyway! Cream replaces the butter and it uses an egg which is a little unusual but any recipe that uses up eggs is good for me at the moment because our chickens are giving us a 'daily dozen'! They rise up light and fluffy and the family say they are very much like the ones from Baker's Delight but cost a lot less. The recipe is there at the MC site together with a video - just need to do a search for it.

  11. Like Hanno I love a scone or something good with morning tea coffee. No matter what I eat for breakfast I'm always hungry at morning tea time but not in the afternoon.

    As I passed Baker's Delight the other week I saw their scones were almost $2 each!

  12. Your scones look yummy. In the good old bad old days when we used to spend money it used to be our treat to have a coffee and scone whilst out shopping. The scones were never any good, homemade are so much better so now we have coffee and scone at home before we go.


  13. Rhonda I love date scones too! But my favourite would have to be a pumpkin and date scone with nutmeg....oh my goodness :) x Chrissy

  14. hey, how'd you know I just bought some chopped dates at close-out sale prices? I will definitely be back soon to take another look at (and make!) this recipe. thanks ever so much...I'd never have thought to put anything other than currants in scones. yours look particularly tender too!

  15. Oh yum... but I'm trying to lose weight!

    Scones are what I cook quickly when I make last minute arrangements or someone says they are coming round. With a food processor to mix the butter and flour, I can have scones on the table in 30 mins, and they're hot too! You can't easily serve cakes in that time, and they're not normally eaten hot either. So I keep a basic scone recipe in my head too :-)

    Try adding 1 tsp of mixed spice to your date scones Rhonda.... I got that from an Aus Women's Weekly recipe a while back. I'm not a massive fan of dates, or dried fruit generally, but this little bit of spice makes them all festive somehow. I totally agree about soaking dried fruit too. I usually halve the quantity of sugar in my ANZAC biscuits and replace it with half a cup of diced dried apricots that I've soaked in boiling water for 10 mins. Dried fruit is much more palatable that way and I'd rather eat half a cup of fruit than brown sugar :-)

  16. Rhonda
    I love your blog and it is my first stop every morning. It is amazing how many times your post is relevant to something that has been exercising my mind. Listening to "Life Matters" on Radio National last Monday morning, 31st Oct, I heard an interview with Annie Leonard who is an advocate for sustainability and campaigns against over consumption. There is a link on the Life Matters website to her short film "The story of stuff" If you have time it is well worth a look and puts the case for change in a very succinct manner.

    Helen H

  17. I make scones all the time in my food processor, they always turn out perfect- I have even won prizes at the local show for my scones!
    So those of you who need a light hand or hate rubbing in try using your food processor intead.

  18. I love your blog and the smell of this scones is so real!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for all the tips, Clara.

  19. Hi RJ

    Thank YOU! Wraps sound like a great idea. Think I might also make some scones (savoury) to freeze for lunches as well. My Mum taught me to make scones the same way using a butter knife to mix them and a glass to cut them out. The secret really is not to overmix them. I also bake mine in a slice tray with about one inch high sides as they seem to rise a bit more.
    Lis xx

  20. Baking time will depend on your oven - when they are golden and smell like scones, about 15 - 20 minutes.

  21. I am just making your scones now, after being inspired by your scone photos.

    However, i notice that the recipe doesn't mention when to add the salt and the sugar. I have added them in before the milk.

    they will be ready in a few minutes, and they smell delicious!

  22. Oh, how I love scones! I do, I do, I do! dates ones especially. Our oven has just recently been repaired and now you've inspired me to christen it with a batch of scones!

    Katie x

  23. Hi Rhonda. Loved the photos of your scones and decided to bake a batch last night, using my old recipe. Found I didn't have enough milk to do the job but remembered you mentioned using half yoghurt. Problem solved as I had a home made pot in the fridge. They rose higher than any I have made in the past. Might just be the yoghurt. Love your blog. Jean from Brisbane

  24. Hi Rhonda! I have already commented on this post but wanted to update you on my success with your recipe. My last attempt at scones made with similar ingredients failed, so I have made yours and succeeded 3 times! Yes...I am hooked on scones! We have our 4th batch in the oven right now and it made me think of you. Thanks for sharing and I am convinced that I must have 'over mixed' them in the past. I am certain this is the key to scone success!

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