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Classic Scones Recipe with Clotted Cream and Jam

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Flaky on the outside and tender on the inside, our scones recipe can put a wide smile on the face of anyone who loves hearty baked goods with their hot drinks, or for a cheeky afternoon treat, no matter what the occasion.

Scones Recipe

Brits love their scones, and in the UK you don’t have to think too hard for an excuse to bring out these baked delights with a side of jam and clotted cream – often, just putting the kettle on for a cup of tea is enough!

As with any baked good, the key is in the mixing of the dough. But if you get it just right, that delightful flaky-yet-fluffy bite, followed swiftly by an oozing of sweet, sticky jam, and lusciously thick clotted cream, makes for an afternoon treat that is truly angelic!

What are Scones?

Believed to be of Scottish origin, dating back to the early 1500s, the increase in accessibility of baking powder to everyday people throughout the UK led to what is seen as the modern scone finding and keeping a coveted seat at the peak of traditional British cuisine.

Today’s classic scone is a small, simple baked good, classed as a cake, made from a dough of flour and baking powder, with dairy products like egg, butter, and milk added, and salt and sugar for seasoning. Traditionally, wheat or oatmeal was used to make scones.

Scones are prepared in batches, baked together on baking sheets or baking trays. If done right, a scone should have a flaky exterio, and a soft, somewhat moist, and fluffy inside. It should not be too dry or crumbly.

While you can eat a scone as it is, you’re missing out if you don’t cut a scone in half and slather it with fruit jam, clotted cream, or a combination of both, and sandwich the two halves together. The debate of which is better is hotly contested to this day!

Variations

Fruit Scone – Arguably the second most popular variation behind the classic scone recipe, you’ll often come across fruit scones in bakeries and supermarkets in the UK. This is where the likes of raisins, sultanas, or currents are added to the scone mixture before baking.

Savory – While typically enjoyed as a sweet dish, scones can be savory, with cheese the most common inclusion to make a scone savory.

Lemonade Scone – A unique take on the classic scone, if you substitute butter and milk for lemonade and cream, you get what’s known as a lemonade scone. However, be sure to do your research and source specific lemonade scone recipes, as the ratios will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Shape – Our recipe is to make round scones, but you can find scones baked in square, triangular, and hexagonal shapes.

“Scones” in UK Cuisines – I thought this was important to mention, because of the history of scones throughout the UK. While what is considered the modern dessert scone is most often what you’ll find in bakeries, tea rooms, and the like, scone variations are plentiful, both sweet and savory, and can have significant regional differences.

For example, you’ll find the likes of soda scones, made with sourdough, and tattie scones, made with potato, throughout Scotland and the county of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Scones have a deep history throughout the UK, and many of the traditional, historic versions are considerably far removed from what we deem the ‘typical’ scone enjoyed in the UK today.

Recipe Ingredients

To make our scones recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Milk – 1 cup (236 ml) whole milk at room temperature + 1 tbsp milk for the egg wash
  • Butter – 8 tbsp (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cold
  • Flour (Self-Raising Flour) – 1 lb (450 grams) self-raising flour (best quality you can find)
  • Sugar – 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • Salt – pinch of fine salt
  • Baking Powder – 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • Egg – 1 medium egg, for the egg wash
  • Clotted Cream – 1 cup clotted cream (to serve)
  • Jam – 1 cup strawberry jam (to serve)

Step-by-Step Instructions

I have two methods for you today – making scones by hand and making scones using the food processor.

Making the Scones by Hand

Step 1 – Make the dough (by hand or using a food processor).

Making the Scones by Hand

A – Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.

B – Cut the butter into tiny cubes and add the butter into the mixing bowl, and then mix with your (cold) hands for a couple of minutes to incorporate the butter.

C – Then add the milk and mix with your hands.

Making the Scones in a Food Processor.

A – Add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder to a food processor and mix for a couple of seconds.

B – Then add the cold cubed butter and mix until the butter is crumbled in the flour.

C – Finally, add the milk while the food processor is mixing and stop mixing as soon as a ball of dough is formed.

Step 2 – Whether you did the dough by hand or in the food processor, now transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out the dough to about 1-inch thickness (2.5 cm).

Dough made in the food processor.
Dough made by hand.

Step 3 – Cut the scones out with a round shape (we used a 2-inch or 5-cm cutting shape).

Dough made in the food processor
Dough made by hand

Step 4 – Transfer the scones to a baking sheet (covered with baking paper) and brush them with egg wash (egg whisked with 1 tbsp of milk). You can also brush the top with melted butter, milk, or just beaten egg yolk.

Step 5 – Preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C). Bake the scones for 12-14 minutes until risen (doubled in size and golden).

Scone made with a food processor on the left and by hand on the right.

Step 6 – Serve with clotted cream and jam. In the UK, there’s a fierce debate on whether clotted cream or jam goes first (read more about it below). Which side are you on?

Serving Suggestions

There is a whole etiquette around the serving of scones and how best to prepare and serve them, many facets of which are the subject of debate to this day. If you want your afternoon or party to be a traditional British affair, be sure to do your research accordingly!

However, for a general overview, consider the following:

Clotted Cream vs Jam – As mentioned above, I believe the best way is to give everyone the choice to try both. Serve your scones with a small bowl of clotted cream and another of jam, typically strawberry. Make sure everyone has a small plate and a knife, so that they can half their scone and add their filling of choice.

What is Clotted Cream?

Clotted cream on the left with the typical yellow crust and served in a bowl on the right.

Closely associated with the South West of England, especially Devon and Cornwall, clotted cream is a lusciously thick cream made from cow’s milk. It is made by heating and then cooling full-fat cow’s milk and has a rich, thick, and buttery texture. You typically buy it in round tubs, with a thick yellow crust on top.

If you can’t find clotted cream, a good substitute would be mascarpone.

Cornish vs Devonshire – If your guests add cream first and then jam on top, they’ll be following the Devonshire method of eating scones. If they go jam first and then cream, that’s known as the Cornish method.

Other Fillings/Toppings – Butter, whipped cream, lemon curd (but never with clotted cream), other fruit jams, and a side of chopped fruits (e.g. strawberries), fruit salad, or chocolate are all great pairings for scones.

Afternoon Tea – Scones form an integral part of the traditional British afternoon tea, which typically consists of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and fruit preserves, and a selection of small cakes and pastries, served on a tiered cake plate accompanying a teapot of tea and cups and saucers.

Scones Recipe Card

Yield: 12 scones

Scones

Scones
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (236 ml) whole milk at room temperature + 1 tbsp milk for the egg wash
  • 8 tbsp (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cold
  • 1 lb (450 grams) self-raising flour (best quality you can find)
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • pinch of fine salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 medium egg, for the egg wash
  • 1 cup clotted cream (to serve)
  • 1 cup strawberry jam (to serve)

Instructions

  1. Make the dough (by hand or using a food processor).
    Making the Scones by Hand:
    A – Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
    B – Cut the butter into tiny cubes and add the butter to the mixing bowl, and then mix with your (cold) hands for a couple of minutes to
    incorporate the butter.
    C – Then add the milk and mix with your hands
    Making the Scones in a Food Processor:
    A – Add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder to a food processor and mix for a couple of seconds.
    B – Then add the cold cubed butter and mix until the butter is crumbled in the flour.
    C – Finally, add the milk while the food processor is mixing and stop mixing as soon as a ball of dough is formed.
  2. Whether you did the dough by hand or in the food processor, now transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out the dough to about 1-inch thickness (2.5 cm).
  3. Cut the scones with a round shape (we used a 2-inch or 5-cm cutting shape).
  4. Transfer the scones to a baking sheet (covered with baking paper) and brush them with egg wash (egg whisked with 1 tbsp of milk). You can also brush the top with melted butter, milk, or just beaten egg yolk.
  5. Preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C). Bake the scones for 12-14 minutes until risen (doubled in size and golden).
  6. Serve with clotted cream and jam. In the UK, there’s a fierce debate on whether clotted cream or jam goes first (read more about it in the article). Which side are you on?

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Authors

  • Doina Johnson is a recipe developer and writer. Doina has been cooking for most of her life, and her style draws from many different influences. She cooked with her mother and grandma growing up in Eastern Europe, before adding modern, western influences to her style when living in the United States for about a decade. Then, she traveled full-time for several years, trying food in Europe, Asia, and South America, and bringing those influences into her own cooking. She strives to introduce passionate homecooks to world cuisine, generally by trying the food herself abroad and then recreating it at home and, at times, enlisting the help of local foodies and chefs.

  • Hey there! We are Dale and Doina, the founders of Nomad Paradise. We traveled full-time for over three years, and while we now have a home base in the U.K., continue to take trips abroad to visit new places and try new cuisines and foods. Our food guides are curated with the guidance of local foodies, and their contribution is indicated under each article. We also cook the foods we try abroad, and you can discover how to make them in our 'recipes from around the world' category.

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