English tea scones are the dainty fare of afternoon tea parties and Sunday-morning brunches. Like biscuits, they are a quickbread, sweet and buttery, which can be varied in flavor and additions just like a basic muffin recipe.
The most sought-after type is cream scones. Flour, sugar and eggs are mixed with butter and some additions such as raisins, currants, nuts, cranberries or blueberries.
The dough is shaped, brushed with egg and sprinkled with sugar, cut in wedge shapes and then baked to a golden brown. Prepared just before the tea and refrigerated, they can be baked just as the guests begin to arrive, filling the whole house with the wonderful aroma of hot-buttered bread.
Scones can be served with omelets, bowls of fresh fruit, jams or preserves, or even with a favorite soup. Topped with a dollop of Devonshire cream and served with fresh orange wedges or whole strawberries, scones make a beautiful presentation. What could be prettier or more appetizing on a tea table spread with a white lace tablecloth? Add a vase of lilacs or roses and some soft music, and you have an afternoon teatime to be remembered.
Scones were an English invention to be served with tea and crumpets. Crumpets are named for the English word "crump" which means "curled" or "bent." Crumpets differ in that they are made with scalded milk and yeast, much like English muffins. They are baked in muffin rings, then toasted and served with jam.
Scones, though considered old-fashioned and extremely difficult to make, are really just a simple quickbread, like muffins or biscuits.
If desired, before the circles of dough are formed, you may vary the recipe by adding ½ cup chopped cranberries or ½ cup currants, ½ cup golden raisins, a sprinkling or finely chopped nuts or other fruit.
Cream scones use cream in the place of milk in the recipe.
Serve warm with Devonshire cream. Devonshire cream is made with equal amounts or sour cream and whipped cream into which ¼ cup confectioner's sugar has been folded. A sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg or a ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract may also be added.
Scone recipes can be an indulgent treat if you don't mind the extra calories. But, if you're a scone lover who is watching her weight, you can have your scone and eat it, too.