English Cream Scones

January 15, 2013

MY NAME IS KEVIN, and I’m addicted to English Cream Scones. And who can blame me? These little breads are light, moist, and buttery. They are profoundly delicious when topped with clotted cream and jam. And, as you will soon discover, they are ridiculously easy to make:

English Cream Scones
Ingredients for 15-18 2-inch-diameter scones
2 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled
1 Tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon)
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, quartered lengthwise, and then diced into 1/2 cubes
1 cup heavy cream

Special Equipment – A food processor, fitted with the metal blade; a baking sheet, lined with either parchment paper or Silpat.

To start, pour the flour into the bowl of your food processor.

Add the sugar…

A pinch of salt (1/4 teaspoon)…

And the baking powder.

Tip: Baking powder will remain viable for up to 2 years, but only when it is kept dry, and at room temperature.  Consequently, never store your baking powder in a cabinet over the sink (too humid!) or over the stove (too hot!).

Process the flour, sugar and baking powder for 2 seconds  just to combine them.

Now dice up your butter, and sprinkle it on top of the flour mixture.

Pulse 5-10 times, just to break up the butter.

It’s hard to tell from the photograph here, but small (oatmeal-size) bits of butter should still be visible after processing. These bits will contribute to the light, tender quality of your scones.

Pour the works into a blue mixing bowl.

Add the cream…

And stir just to moisten.

Tip: Take care not to overmix. We are making scones, not hockey pucks.

Scoop the batter onto your lightly floured surface.

The batter will look and feel like a hopeless, sticky mess. Nevertheless, gather it together with your hands, as pictured above.

And then knead the dough five times. That is, flatten it out, and then fold it over on itself. This brief kneading will magically transform the mass of stickiness into a workable dough.

Roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch-thick circle.

And remember, when you are rolling out dough, always start from the center, and roll only to within one inch of the edge. Then give the dough a quarter turn, and repeat the procedure. Rolling out this way will keep the dough’s edges from becoming too thin.

Now take a 2-inch diameter biscuit-cutter (mine, above, has a fluted edge)…

And to keep the dough from sticking to the cutter, dip the cutter into a little flour that you’ve placed in a cup.

And then cut out your rounds.

Place the rounds on a parchment-(or Silpat-) lined baking sheet.

You could very well bake the scones as is. However, in the interest of browning, do what I do, and brush the tops with a little cream. A green pastry brush is useful here.

Alternatively, you could brush the scones with an egg wash (one whole egg beaten with a teaspoon of cold water). But cream does a surprisingly good browning-job, too.

Bake the scones in the preheated 425-degree F oven until they rise appreciably, and color nicely — 12-15 minutes. In my low-end gas oven, 15 minutes is the rule for these scones.

Oh, to have a high-end kitchen like yours.

Cool the scones briefly on a wire rack.

Or, let them cool completely, and then freeze them in plastic bags. Frozen scones will keep for months.

But you don’t want to freeze all of your scones, do you? You want to eat at least one right now.

Maybe you will top your scone, as I do, with clotted cream. If you don’t have clotted cream, whipped cream will do.

Well. I can’t tell you how delicious these tender scones are. Promise me you’ll try them, okay?

Need a copy and paste version of the above recipe? Here goes:

English Cream Scones
Ingredients for 15-18 2-inch-diameter scones
2 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled
1 Tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of Kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon)
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, quartered lengthwise, and then diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup heavy cream

Special Equipment – A food processor, fitted with the metal blade; a baking sheet, lined with either parchment paper or Silpat

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pour flour, baking powder, and sugar and salt into the bowl of the food processor; blend for 2 seconds.

Remove the lid of the processor, and scatter the cubes of butter on top of the flour mixture. Replace lid, and pulse 5-10 times just to break up the butter.

Transfer the mix to a medium-size bowl, add the cup of heavy cream, and blend briefly with a spoon. Take care not to over-mix.

Pour the wet, sticky dough onto a floured, cloth-covered board or a piece of lightly-floured marble. Kneed 5 times — not more — and then roll out the dough into a 1/2-inch thick circle.

Cut out rounds using a 2-inch diameter biscuit cutter dipped in flour. Place each round about 2-inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or Silpat.

Bake on the middle oven rack for 12-15 minutes, or until tops turn lightly golden. Cool briefly on a wire rack before serving.

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Related Posts:
Afternoon Tea for You & Me
Homemade Greek-style Yogurt
Pumpkin Muffins

Comments

  1. Lori Rose says:

    Wow, they look amazing! I use a recipe for cream scones from the Joy of Cooking which has no fat or liquid other than the heavy cream. I throw in a handful of chopped up cinnamon chips, brush with heavy cream and sometimes sprinkle them with a bit of sugar. They freeze well too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Nice to meet you, Lori Rose. These scones are amazing indeed. And your J of C scones sound delightful, too.

  3. Donna B. says:

    [grrr... blast this low-carb diet I'm on!!!]

    These look soooooo goooooooodddd….

    Although, would substituting the flour with almond flour or coconut flour suffice? Making them smaller would probably be perfectly okay for portion control!
    [and since they freeze well, I could just nuke em' when I need one! XD]

    Now I shall live decadently through your photos… I’ll be like Lily the Beagel – forever following you around the kitchen hoping for a morsel… :D

  4. Dennis R says:

    Kevin,
    your baking powder tip hopefully helped me resolve my
    poor 1st attempt at scones. the “mystery of the
    non-rising scones” was solved when i turned over
    my baking powder can & read, “Best used by Jan 2011″.
    off to the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company store
    & buy some fresh baking powder.
    Next > new batch; new hope!

  5. Donna B. – I haven’t tried these with any GF flours. But if you do — carbs be damned — please let me know how they turn out for you!

    Dennis R – Well, that means your BP was packaged in January, 2009. Yes, definitely time for a new can!

  6. Katie P says:

    For those of you who do not own a food processor, you can still make these. I actually prefer to crumble the cold butter into the flour mixture with my hands the old fashioned way – I find it therapeutic. I know – I’m weird. It also makes for less dishes to do when you don’t have to drag out the food processor :)

    Also, if you don’t have a nice, ruffled biscuit cutter, you can use a drinking glass or anything else that measures the size you wish for your scones to be. For me, buttermilk biscuits are usually cut with a 3 inch diameter glass and for something like homemade crackers, I use a shot glass. Get creative with what you’ve got :)

    PS, can’t wait to try these scones. I may give them a shot this weekend – I have all of the ingredients and my hubs will be in town.

  7. Katie P – thanks for the heads-up regarding hand-mixing. Good to know there are still some folks out there who aren’t afraid to mix butter into flour with nimble fingers, which is exactly how I was trained. And just imagine the carbs we burn off during this aerobic exercise!

  8. Leticia says:

    I found amusing that you pour mixture into a blue bowl? Unless there is something I don’t know about blue bowls, I am sure my glass one will do.

  9. What a lovely blog! I will savor each post with a cup of tea. You are multi-talented!

  10. Leticia – Yes, in a pinch you can always substitute a blue mixing bowl for a clear glass one :)

    Mary Lise Parsons – What a kind comment. Thank you.

  11. Brenda Johnson says:

    This afternoon was made so much better when in addition to the lovely blanket of new fallen snow…. my friend Kevin appeared with a plate of scones still warm from the oven!!!! Complete with butter and strawberry jam!!!! (not that anything is needed with these tasty morsels!!!) Slightly sweet. crunchy top and oh so tender crumb inside- just delicious!!! Absolutely perfect for a little treat in the afternoon! Thank you!!!

  12. Mary Beth says:

    I’m new to your blog, and the scones recipe in my email sounded perfect for a cold Sunday. When I clicked on the link, the first item was the winter sowing project. What a great idea! I’d given up using the window sills and florescent lights since the plant were pretty spindly. We go through a lot of milk here, so I’ll have my containers ready to go in no time :-)
    As for today, my family is in for a delicious treat this afternoon!

  13. Brenda – So glad you liked the scones. Thanks for taste-testing!

    Mary Beth – If you try the scones, I hope you’ll let me know how they turn out for you. Probably they will give you the energy you need to start a big winter-sowing project!

  14. Sally says:

    Thanks so much for clearing up the “blue bowl” issue. I was afraid that I was going to have to go bowl shopping ! I assume the same holds for the green pastry brush ?!!!?? I can’t wait to try these yummy things !

  15. Robin G. says:

    Does anyone know of a way to adapt this recipe using pumpkin as an add in? A bakery near me sells pumpkin scones with tiny chocloate chips and they are quite good. Would love to make them at home. Thanks.

    p.s. love the blog :) Sooo many great ideas and inspiration.

  16. Amanda W says:

    I do my pumpkin ones with pumpkin purée as substitute for all of the milk/cream. I have home roasted, which is a little wetter than store bought, but not much. A dash of extra liquid if needed?? Add the chocolate chips to the flour butter mixture. Mmmm. Scones!! Who knew “sweet biscuits” were sooooo awesome??

  17. Deb says:

    Ok, it is 17° outside. I think that I will warm up the house by turning on the oven and make some of these scones. Tea at 4:00 cat, anyone?
    Have you ever tried to add other dried berries or cinnamon to the dough? Would they change the scone that much. I Think thatI I might make two or three with blueberries and see how they turn out. Wish me luck:-)

  18. MicronCat says:

    Kevin, here in the south, if u leave out the sugar, we call these things biscuits, LOL. I will try your recipe, if my oven ever gets fixed!

  19. Donnella Bryce says:

    They sound like the most amazing scones – having been brought up in a culture where scones are the first thing we girls were taught to bake, I thought I knew a lot of ways of making them however this recipe is different from any other I have seen so I will definitely be baking them real soon – big question though: Does the recipe only work with a BLUE bowl and a GREEN pastry brush, cause unfortunately I have niether of those?

  20. Oriane says:

    I will absolutely try this recipe this week, the scones look perfect for breakfast or afternoon tea.
    Knowing my husband, I don’t think the scones will make it to the freezer : )
    Great tips as always.
    Merci.

  21. Penster47 says:

    These would make wonderful “cake” for Strawberry Shortcake”!!

  22. Mary says:

    Ohhhhh, my mouth is watering incredibly just from living vicariously through your recipe presentation! I’m allergic to wheat, but that doesn’t keep me from LOVING memories of one of my favorite things……and this recipe, plus clotted cream and jam might be my call to SPLURGE!

  23. Morgan says:

    Kevin, delightful as always. I truly envy Brenda! :)

  24. Mary Lou says:

    Kevin ..Will try the biscuits/scones…makes no difference what you call them ..they will be delicious I am sure! We are not big milk drinkers but have friends saving milk jugs for us and will start on the Winter planting here SOON!! I’m hoping when the soil is in the jugs the fierce wind will not blow the “hot houses” across town!! I will put some rocks in the bottom of the outside container to try to hold them down!! You are inspiring and keep the ideas coming ..it’s all soo inspiring! Many thanks to you and I have been thinking and planning a tea party in my mind all week!! AND ” By George, I think I’ve got it!” ( read with an English accent of course!,)

  25. Elfrieda Tullar says:

    There’ nothing like real clotted cream from Devon (UK)

  26. Paddy Barr says:

    I make scones with a very basic recipe instead of baking powder I use cream of tarter and baking soda. add raisins cranberries dried cherries, I also use sour cream for the liquid
    if I need to use it up.

  27. Mahala Burton says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Your scones look delicious and while we do not have sub- freezing weather in central coastal Calif we have been having nightime temps in the 20′s.
    One question. It seems that, rather than dragging out the food processor it would be simpler to cut the butter into the flour with a pastry dough cutter. My stainless steel dough cutter is very sharp, cost about $10 and in a low tech way does the job quickly.
    I enjoy all aspects of your website.
    Thank you

  28. Treay Cohen says:

    Kevin,
    These sound good. I wish I could get clotted cream here. There used to be an old lady, in the Swan Valley, who made and sold it, but I can’t be bothered going up there; it’s only about a hundred kilometres round trip, but guess I’m lazy. Last week it was 37C at 3a.m. Do you reckon you could send some cold air our way? (West Australia).
    I shall put some dates in this recipe and make them for Herself. I agree with the poster that Cream of Tartar and Bicarb is nicer than Baking Powder. If you have any milk
    on the turn or sour, it makes the best scones. I am becoming very envious of Bar Ara; lucky girl…love your recipes and your blog.
    Treay.

  29. Treay Cohen says:

    Er… Barbara!! Sorry about that. You are a man of taste, I see you’re using Midnight Rose bone china, obviously, my scones will taste scrum my when I use my set. Probably make up for the lack of a blue bowl……

  30. Jean Carter says:

    Your recipes are great,

  31. melody says:

    Why, Kevin Lee Jacobs! Clotted cream from a jar? Heavens Forfend! Here is your next project:
    http://www.joepastry.com/2012/making-clotted-cream/

  32. Juanita Trent says:

    Just finished making scones. They are fantastic. So good, I am almost sorry I made them. Almost. Thanks.

  33. Mermaid Deb says:

    Paddy Barr, How much cream of tartar and baking soda do you use? I would like to try this since my baking powder is out of date by 4 yrs, who knew! I live 30 miles from town and want to make these. Thanks

  34. Susan in MI says:

    Want to see if your Baking Powder is still good? put some hot water into a small bowl, drop in a spoonful of Baking Powder, and if it fizzes and bubbles, it’s still good.

    Baking Soda reacts with an acid. To test whether it’s still good for baking, put a spoonful in a small bowl then add a splash of vinegar. You’re looking for major bubbling/fizzing to see if it’s still good to go or not.

  35. Susan in MI – Great tips! I remember the baking soda/vinegar trick from an elementary school science project. Great fun to see the two react.

  36. Lauira D says:

    My husband says they are as good as store bought.

  37. Jaycee says:

    OH MY GOODNESS! These are so good! I just made a batch (finally) last night! I had one and wanted to eat many more! I think I need to get some new baking powder as mine did not rise nearly as well as yours but they were still delicious! I wont shame myself in telling you how old my BP was. Needless to say, I’m addicted to these now! I just need to get some clotted cream and I’ll be in English Tea heaven! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  38. Jaycee – So glad you tried — and liked — the scones. I find them addictive, too!

  39. Judy says:

    I just made these…delicious!

  40. Chef Debra says:

    I’ve been experimenting with the scones and settled on using part cake flour with AP flour depending on the recipe. What a difference in lightness and texture. The amount of cake flour ratio to use really depends on the recipe. I used half and half for this one and it was perfect.
    If you love clotted cream with your scones here’s a way to make your own:

    Start with two 2 cups of heavy cream.

    Cook the cream in top of double boiler over simmering water until reduced by about half. It should be the consistency of butter, with a golden “crust” on the top.

    Transfer, including the crust, to a bowl. Cover and let stand two hours, then refrigerate at least 12 hours.

    Stir crust into cream before serving. Keep unused portions refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to four days.

    Enjoy. This makes one cup of clotted cream.

  41. Angelina says:

    We have a neat tearoom here in Albuquerque that serves cream scones. I really wanted to serve some at the Mother’s Day brunch we are hosting. Just finished making these after hours looking for the right recipe. This was it!!! They taste as amazing as the tearoom’s. I made 2 batches! This is a keeper. Don’t tweak the recipe. It is perfect. Thank you!!!

  42. Chef Debra says:

    I like to sub half the flour with cake flour to make them lighter in texture. Will try with this recipe.

  43. Ann says:

    Have you tried making savoury scones, omit the sugar and add a strong cheese, eg mature cheddar? I always prefer savoury to sweet!
    By the way, I am thoroughly enjoying reading all your posts.

  44. Rebecca Jensen says:

    I love the “remember… always start from the center…” as if I ever knew that before. :) Thank you tons for the great tips of which I had no clue. You’re the relative in the kitchen I never had. My 9year old and I are going to try these next weekend for our tea party.

  45. Louise McGrattan says:

    Hi Kevin. My husband and I have discovered scones and we love them. I make mine using plain greek yogurt and they are just wonderful. I am also so lazy that I just spread the dough into a 9″ circle and cook 20 minutes. Love the blog and your recipes. Thanks.

  46. Roy Healy says:

    A lot of people on your site are from Ireland and following your recipes are difficult because I do not know how big a stick of butter is

  47. Margy says:

    My Mom also put raisins in them..and we had tea’ everyday I can remember

  48. Judy P says:

    Oh, I just made 6 pints of fresh strawberry freezer jam that would be fabulocious on them!!

  49. Joy says:

    Thanks s o much for the rolling tip. I’ve never thought to do that, but it makes perfect sense.
    Another substitute for clotted cream is the cream layer on top of Stoneyfield whole milk yogurt.

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