I worked in a British tea shop for a number of years and baked hundreds of scones every week. The owner’s mom had been baking the scones but was moving back to Britain, so I was hired to take over. A few months later, when the mom was visiting, she stopped in the shop for a cup of tea and told me my scones were just right, that I “had the touch”. I took that as the only seal of approval I needed.
To my taste, a good scone should neither be too biscuit-like nor too muffin-like. I also don’t like scones too rich or sweet since I like to top them with a little clotted cream, curd or butter.
The inspiration for this recipe was simply the upcoming holiday season. I love gingerbread so I swapped out some of the sugar for molasses and added ginger, cloves and cinnamon for spiced flavor. To accentuate the flavors I made a super-easy cranberry maple butter.
There are a few things to keep in mind when making scones. First, do not over-mix the dough. After adding the wet ingredients mix the dough until it’s just barely combined, then finish kneading in any loose flour by hand. Second, I use my hands to flatten the dough into a disc rather than using a rolling pin. The dough is so soft this is easy to do. Make sure to keep your hands and the dough lightly floured.
Finally, and this trick also works for biscuits, when you cut the scones push the cutter straight down without twisting or turning. This will help the scones rise up straight and tall.
I always finish the scones with a little coarse sugar for a nice crunch. For this recipe I made a ginger-sugar for an added hit of spice.
The cranberry-maple butter couldn’t be simpler. Just combine the ingredients in a mini food processor if you have one. If you don’t have a small processor mince the dried cranberries with a knife and mix the ingredients together. Oh, and yes, you must use real maple syrup. There is no substitute!!
Perfect for your holiday brunch, breakfast or afternoon tea. Time to put the kettle on!