Really quick, classic plain scones you’ll make again and again. Soft and fluffy insides, golden tops, serve them with copious amounts of jam and cream for the ultimate classic afternoon experience.
Perhaps the simplest of all baked goods in this entire world, the humble scone surely conjures up fond memories for every Aussie. Gatherings with family and friends, school bake sales, fundraising morning teas at work, a quaint little cafe in the Southern Highlands, or your grandmother’s kitchen.
Your grandmother, not mine. Mine lived in Tokyo and hated cooking. I would have died of shock if she ever baked anything. (Or refused to eat it out of suspicion 😂).
SCONES MADE EASY
This is how I make plain scones. They are soft and fluffy on the inside, with the signature “flaky folds” when you break it open, and a golden rustic-but-not-too-rustic top:
Food processor. Self raising flour and cold butter – blitz 8 seconds. Add milk – blitz 8 seconds until ball forms.
Turn dough out, knead lightly 10 times (no more), lightly roll across the top to smooth surface. Cut scones out, bake 12 minutes.
No egg. No lard. No cream. No sugar. Why complicate something that’s already perfect?
FOOD PROCESSOR, ALL THE WAY
“Food processor?”, I hear traditionalists gasp in shock.
Yes. (She says firmly). Food processor. Not only is it faster with literally zero effort, it eliminates a lot of “risk factors” when it comes to making scones and the dough comes together better. Softer and smoother, which means your scones will have a smoother top compared to handmade ones.
Here’s a comparison of the finger-rubbing method vs food processor. They are virtually identical in terms of rise and fluffy-factor, but the surface of the food processor scone is noticeably smoother.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a rustic top on scones. Scones are, after all, humble and rustic food, not intended to look like something from a Michelin star patisserie. 🙂
ELIMINATED RISK FACTORS
If you’ve ever ended up with scones so hard you were tempted to take them down to the baseball field, chances are either the butter in the dough melted before the scones got to the oven, or the dough was overworked.
The food processor makes the dough a 2 step process that takes less than 30 seconds and there’s no uncertainty about when the dough is done – it’s glaringly obvious because it turns from crumbs into a ball of dough.
No risk of the butter softening too much because
your my hot little fingers are taking too long to rub the butter in.
No risk of kneading the dough way too much because it’s taking foreeeever for the flour to incorporate.
No risk of pounding the dough into submission so you can cut scones out.
All you have to know is to take your finger off the BLITZ button the second you see a ball being blasted around in your food processor (watch the video, it’s helpful!) and your scones will always come out like THIS (minus the small chubby fingers of course):
THE FINAL WORD ON SCONES
It alarms me that I feel like I could write an entire essay on scones, so I’m restraining myself and summarising final tips for your new scone making life.
Resist the urge to twist – I feel like my hand always wants to twist when pressing the cutter into the dough. Resist the urge. Push straight down and pull straight back up. This will ensure your scones rise and they rise straight, not wonky.
Don’t smooth the sides once cut – For the same reason as above. So when handling the cut scones, minimise touching the cut sides.
Kneading – Many recipes strenuously say not to knead scones at all, saying it makes them tough. So for years, I followed that rule religiously and always ended up with extremely nubbly tops and quite often wonky scones.
Then one day, I decided to test it out. Turns out, scones can take kneading. I found that with 10 light kneads, this does not affect the fluffiness, rise or softness of scones at all. And they look sooo much nicer – smoother surface, more even rising.
So 10 kneads. That’s my rule!
No egg – Tried it with and without (side by side batch), a recipe from a very well known British Chef (whom I love dearly so will remain unnamed). No egg is considerably softer and fluffier inside. Which is to be expected – because egg binds but removes moisture from baked goods.
OUR scones don’t look like this! Errr…. guessing you’re from America or Canada. 🙂 What you know as scones are cut like pizza wedges from a round disc and are usually flavoured and often glazed. So no, your scones don’t look like ours. BOTH are delish!
Hang on…..but are these BISCUITS??? That’s biscuits, as they’re known in America. A southern classic, fabulous with grits, sausage gravy and eggs. And a comparison of this humble Aussie scone recipe with this New York Times biscuits recipe, it would seem they are indeed the same thing – just used for different purposes. 🙂
So how do you serve scones? With copious amounts of of jam and cream, with coffee and tea. I know not of any other way. 🤷🏻♀️
The great Aussie scone. Old fashioned comfort food that will never go out of fashion.
Interestingly, someone told me the other day that apparently there’s a Great Debate in the UK about whether jam or cream should be dolloped on first. The thought of cream first then dolloping jam on the cream never even crossed my mind!
Someone, please explain!! 😂 – Nagi x
Super quick and easy classic plain scone recipe made using a food processor (see notes for no food processor). No unnecessary extra ingredients, these are beautifully fluffy with a golden dome with an extra soft crumb because it's made without egg. Serve with copious amounts of jam and cream! Recipe video below.
- 3 cups / 450g self raising flour (Note 1)
- 80 g / 3 oz cold salted butter , cut into 1 cm / 2/5" cubes (Note 2)
- 1 cup / 250 ml milk, fridge cold (Note 2)
- Extra flour , for dusting
- Extra milk , for brushing
- Strawberry jam (or other of choice)
- 250 ml / 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Preheat oven to 200C/390F (standard) or 180C/350F (fan / convection).
Place flour in food processor, then butter. Blitz on high for 8 seconds until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Pour milk all over the flour (don't pour in one place). Blitz for 6 to 8 seconds on high until the crumbs turn into ball(s).
Transfer dough onto work surface, scrape out residual bits in the food processor.
Knead lightly no more than 10 times just to bring the dough together into one smooth ball, then pat down into a 2 cm / 4/5" thick disc. Dust with extra flour if necessary (I don't need it).
Optional: Lightly roll across the top with a rolling pin to smooth the top.
Dip a 5 cm / 2" round cutter into Extra Flour.
Plunge cutter straight down and back out into dough - do not twist. Repeat all over disc.
Remove excess dough from around scones, then carefully transfer scones onto baking tray, taking care not to smear / press the cut sides. (Note 4)
Gather together dough scraps and repeat. I get 10 scones in total.
Brush tops lightly with milk. (Optional)
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the top is golden and it sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove from oven, then transfer onto dish towel and wrap loosely (makes top soft).
Once cooled to warm (10 - 15 minutes), serve warm.
Tradition is to split the scone with hands (no knife!), slather with jam and dollop on cream.
Whip cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Makes 2 cups of whipped cream.
1. Self raising flour is just plain / all purpose flour with baking powder already in it. Make your own by measuring out 3 cups of plain flour, then remove 6 tsp of the flour and add 6 tsp of baking powder.
2. Or use unsalted and add 1/4 tsp salt.
3. Full fat is best, low fat ok, 0% fat not recommended.
4. This helps ensure maximum rise and also that they rise straight. Anyone else ever experience wonky scones? 🙂
KNIFE cutting: You could also shape dough into a square/rectangle and cut using a sharp knife instead of pressing out rounds.
5. NO FOOD PROCESSOR: Make this the traditional way by rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingertips or a pastry cutter, until it resembles breadcrumbs like in the video / photos. Then stir milk in using a butter knife - you will probably need an extra 2 tbsp of milk otherwise the dough is too dry.
6. Source: I'm not sure where I originally got the recipe from, probably Womens Weekly or taste.com.au, it's a pretty standard basic scone recipe. However, since that time, my steps, the instructions and tips are definitely my own, from baking many batches of scones over the years!
7. Scones are most definitely best served warm. Reheat in microwave - just 10 sec for 1, about 20 sec for all of them. For reheating in the oven, wrap in foil then bake at 160C/320F for 5 minutes.
8. Nutrition per scone, excluding jam and cream (because I cannot be held responsible for how much you pile on!)
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
Of course I didn’t give him an entire scone piled high with jam and cream…… I mean, that face? I can totally resist.