Odds are, those scones you have enjoyed in your local bakery weren’t true English scones. All this time, you thought you were eating something very “Britishy” when you really weren’t. Find out why!
What Is A Scone?
A scone is a quick bread with ties to the U.K. It is enjoyed at teatime with clotted cream, jams, or marmalades. This teatime is called “cream tea,” which references clotted cream that accompanies it.
Looking closely at this teatime favorite, we discover how easy it is to mistake a scone for a biscuit here in America.
Where Do Scones Come From?
Many Americans assume the scone they purchased in their favorite local tearoom is American. But if you travel to the U.K., you will find that scones look entirely different there and even more so in a few English counties, Scotland, or Ireland. Other countries have come on board, making their own versions of scones.
The correct pronunciation of “scone” also varies and is specific to where you are.
In America, we pronounce it in a way that rhymes with “tone.” Most of England, Scotland, and Wales pronounce it to rhyme with “gone.”
Trying to pronounce this little bread the right way is just the tip of the iceberg! Many people will tell you that scones originated in England, while others claim it’s Scotland.
Did Scones Originate In England Or Scotland?
Scones are said to have begun in the U.K. Historically, trying to trace the scone back to where it exactly came into being is impossible because evidence-backed data just doesn’t exist. If it does, it will take a scholar to find it.
Several references indicate a historical connection with scones in “Perspectives On The Older Scottish Tongue.” An intriguing record of scones was recorded in 1549 in “Virgil’s Aeneid – The Complaint of Scotland,” which was translated by Gavin Douglas. Scones were mentioned within the content as “flowr sconny” or “fustian skonnis” (leavened cakes.)
There are many versions of where the scone originated. Some say that a parish in Scotland known as Scone is the birthplace of this quick bread. We may never fully understand where scones began.
What Are English Scones Made Of?
Scones were once made with oats and flour, but today, they have consistently been made from basic ingredients. Simple ingredients include flour, leavener (baking powder,) butter, sugar, and milk. It’s the amount of these basic ingredients and any additions that differentiates an English scone from those made in other parts of the world.
What Are Scones Known As Here In America?
Here in America, we think of a scone as a biscuit with sweet additives. We are quick to slather butter on a scone like we do with biscuits. The more flavors of scones there are, the happier Americans are to eat them.
So, are scones and biscuits the same thing here in America? They come close, but the ingredient that sets them apart is shortening. Biscuits contain shortening scones do not.
How Do American Scones Differ From English Scones
A true English scone is set apart from the American version because of geographical differences in ingredients.
If you put an American scone next to its English counterpart, the odds are telltale signs reveal which is which. An English scone is cakier and, at the very most, may have raisins or currants. American scones are flaky with a dry texture (like a biscuit) and often have additional ingredients like chocolate chips, fruits, flavorings, and toppings (frosting or crumbles.
American scones will also have more butter than English scones. English scones tend to have more eggs which lend to the dense, moist cake-like texture. As for leavener (baking powder,) American scones have less than English scones.
What Does A Scone Taste Like?
A true English scone should be subtle in sweetness. English scones are served with clotted cream and jams/marmalades. Clotted cream is luxuriously creamy and sweet like butter. When a dreamy dollop of clotted cream and the sweetness of jam or marmalade marries with a scone, you have the perfect balance of sweetness, textures, and taste.
Flavors Of English Scones
When you visit the U.K., odds are you won’t find varieties of flavors as you do here in America. Plain scones (with raisins/currants) are typically what those in the U.K. enjoy but with the addition of sweet clotted cream and jam/marmalade.
The occasional fruity or flavored scone may find its way into some tea rooms in the U.K., such as blueberry scones or other fruity options.
English Scones Recipe
Scone lovers, we have instructions on how to make a scone right in your kitchen. Whether you are American or from the U.K., this recipe won’t disappoint.
Buckingham Palace’s English Scone Recipe
This is the queen’s favorite scone recipe!
- 2 cups (500 grams) of all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of baking powder
- ⅛ cup (28 grams) of water
- 6 tablespoons of real butter
- ⅔ cup (86 grams) of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 9 tablespoons (140 ml) buttermilk
- 1 cup of raisins or currants
- Whites of 1 egg in a bowl to be used for egg wash
- Soak the raisins in hot water for 30 minutes (covered.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F) (180 C.)
- Combine the flour, baking powder, butter, and sugar in a mixing bowl.
- Mix well until the dough is crumbly.
- Whisk two eggs and buttermilk together in a separate bowl.
- Add the egg/buttermilk mixture to the dough.
- Place the soaked raisins into a strainer until all water is gone.
- Add the raisins to the dough and mix.
- Lightly flour a flat surface to work with the dough.
- Dump the dough onto the floured surface.
- Work it into a flat shape about 2 inches thick.
- Cover and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Remove the cover and cut with a biscuit cutter.
- Place onto a parchment-lined cookie pan.
- Allow the scones to rest another 20 minutes on the pan before continuing.
- Use a pastry brush and gently brush some egg whites onto the top of the scone.
- Place the scones into the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven.
- Enjoy with a dollop of clotted cream and jam/marmalade.
Craving A Good Scone Now?
If you don’t have time to invest in making your own scones, you can always purchase them. Some tea rooms here in America make English-style scones with their own proprietary recipes (such as Hummingbird Tearoom.) As for getting an English-style scone here in America, you’ll need to seek out these tea rooms for that bite of heaven!
What Are English Scones Video
After all…”It’s Never Not Teatime!”