Back-to-basics baking is often the best, and light, fluffy scones will always deliver. Whether you prefer yours savoury or sweet, these three recipes are the perfect low-maintenance snack.
It’s easy to forget that some of the tastiest baking recipes are also the simplest. But light, fluffy scones – best known as an afternoon tea staple – require just a handful of ingredients to make, all of which you’ll probably have already in your store cupboard. Within 20 minutes of weighing out your flour and milk, you’ll have a batch of freshly baked scones on the table – with hardly anything in the way of prep.
Once you’ve mastered a classic plain scone recipe, you can get to work adding a whole variety of extras, from berries and dried fruit to savoury cheese and herbs. There really are no rules – especially not when it comes to eating them, because a warm scone is entirely appropriate whatever the hour and whatever the weather.
With that in mind, we’ve got three very different – but equally delicious – recipes for you to road-test at home. Fans of a traditional scone will love Bread Ahead’s classic mixture, while Cutter & Squidge have created a savoury twist on the original with smoked cheese, parmesan and black pepper. Amelia Freer’s gluten-free almond scones, meanwhile, make a sweet, nutty treat that everyone can enjoy.
Nothing left to do but boil the kettle, call your friends, and let the age-old jam-and-cream debate begin…
Gluten-free almond scone recipe by Amelia Freer
Amelia says: “Simple pleasures at their best. The joyful charm of a scone and jam. Best consumed straight from the oven, or freeze on the day they are made.”
Makes 12 small scones (gluten free)
- 100g ground almonds
- 200g gluten-free plain flour
- 120ml milk (of your choice), plus a little extra for brushing over the top
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil (don’t use extra virgin – you don’t want to taste the olive oil)
- 200g raspberries or strawberries, mashed to a pulp with the back of a fork*
- 200g coconut yoghurt
- almond butter (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Mix together the ground almonds, flour, milk, egg, baking powder, 2 tablespoons of honey and the olive oil in a large bowl to make a sticky dough.
Using damp hands, roll out 12 rough balls. Press the tops down slightly to flatten, and place on the baking tray. Brush with milk, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly risen.
Mix the mashed berries with the remaining tablespoon of honey.
Allow the scones to cool slightly, then slice in half and top with a dollop of the berry mixture and some coconut yoghurt (or a little almond butter, if you like).
From Simply Good For You by Amelia Freer (£22, Michael Joseph), out now
Classic scone recipe by Bread Ahead
Makes 22 scones
- 500g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 80g cold unsalted butter diced small
- 250g buttermilk
- 90g full fat milk
- 1 egg beaten
- 6cm round pastry cutter
Preheat your oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/ gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, sugar and salt into a large bowl, and mix together just enough for them to get to know each other. Add the cold diced butter and rub together with your fingertips until the butter is incorporated into the flour. It should look like fine sand.
Add the buttermilk and milk, mix together until the dough begins to take shape, then take the dough out of the bowl and pop it on to your work surface, making sure you scrape it all out. Bring the dough together by kneading with your hands, being careful not to over-mix - once it is all together and happy you need to stop, cover and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 2cm and cut out the scones using a 6cm fluted pastry cutter. Layer the trimmings on top of each other, re-roll and cut again.
Place the scones on the prepared baking tray and brush with the egg wash. Bake for 8 minutes, then turn the tray round and bake for a further 2 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
Serve warm, with extra-thick Jersey cream and jam.
From Bread Ahead’s Online Baking E-Book (£5, Bread Ahead), out now
Bread Ahead have extended their delivery and are now covering the majority of London. Find out more here
Smoked cheese & black pepper scone recipe by Cutter & Squidge
Cutter & Squidge founders Emily and Annabel Lui say: “Smoked cheese, parmesan and black pepper provide a delicious savoury twist on this afternoon tea staple. Serve these scones simply warm and buttered, or with smoked salmon, cress and cream cheese.”
Makes 16-18 scones
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes
- 500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus extra for sprinkling on top
- 250g unsalted butter, chilled
- 175 g grated smoked cheddar cheese
- 50g finely grated parmesan cheese
- 75ml warm whole milk
- 1 egg, plus 1 beaten egg for brushing
- 5-cm/2-inch round cookie cutter
Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C (425°F) Gas 7.
Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda together into a mixing bowl and add the cracked black pepper.
Cut the cold butter into cubes and rub with your fingertips into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add 125g of the grated smoked cheddar cheese and all the grated parmesan and mix in.
Add the warm milk and egg and mix until combined. The mixture should be soft and sticky.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the mixture out to a thickness of about 2.5 cm/1 inch. Use the round cutter to stamp out rounds but DO NOT TWIST as you cut! Just pull straight up.
Space the scones out over two non-stick baking sheets and brush with the beaten egg. Sprinkle over some extra cracked black pepper and scatter over the remaining grated smoked cheddar cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the scones are lightly brown and have puffed up. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Serve with fillings of your choice. The scones will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
From Afternoon Tea at the Cutter & Squidge Bakery by Emily & Annabel Lui (£16.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out now
Images: Susan Bell; Bread Ahead; Clare Winfield © Ryland Peters & Small
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.