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In theory, scones are one of the simplest of recipes to make and can be ready and on the table in less than half an hour. But I’ve always struggled to get them just right, and I know I’m not the only one. I think I might have got them down to a T now, though… I’ve been road-testing a fancy kitchen machine called a Thermomix for a magazine feature and have been trying out all sorts of different recipes in it to put it through its paces - scones were one of the dishes I wanted to try in it and I took the opportunity (especially as the machine makes any sort of food prep astonishingly quick and easy) to try out some different scone ingredients, quantities and methods. This is the combination I was really pleased with (I tried it out minus the Thermomix too and the scones work perfectly prepped in the normal way as well).
It’s easy to change the basic recipe to make either sweet scones to serve with jam and cream, or cheese scones - for the latter, just omit the sugar and substitute for grated cheese and a little chilli powder. The scones on the cooling rack in my photo are the savoury ones.
Thanks are due to two people for this post - to my former neighbour, Linda, who first gave me the idea of adding chilli powder to savoury scones, which works brilliantly, and to my current neighbour, Antonia, who did a fab job of styling the scones in the photo above while I was making our tea to go with them. Thank you both!
(PS: There will be more on the Thermomix in another post - I’m completely in love with it!)
Rub the butter into the flour and baking powder, then stir in the sugar (or cheddar and chilli powder instead, if making cheese scones) and the milk. Mix with a palette knife until it just comes together as a dough (be careful not to over-knead it or the scones will be tough). Gently pat the dough out a bit on a floured surface until it's about 4cm thick - that's thicker than recipes normally say, but it gives you nice, deep scones. Then cut out rounds using a pastry cutter (it's traditional to use a fluted cutter for sweet scones but the flutes tend to pull the dough down as the scones bake so they don't rise so well - for that reason, I prefer to use a plain cutter for both sweet and savoury). Brush the tops with milk (don't let it drip down the sides or they won't rise so well) and arrange on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Bake at 200C (fan oven) for 15 minutes or until golden brown.