I have tweaked this recipe for over two years now & I believe it is foolproof. The most difficult part of this recipe is mixing everything, that is to say: it isn’t difficult at all! I’ll walk you through and tell you how it works, but really no matter how I’ve messed this up it always turns out as scones!
This recipe can withstand nearly a cup of additional tasty tidbits if you so desire. I have added a number of my favorite variations after the recipe.
Rachel’s Infallible Scones
2 C flour (works fine with whole wheat/barley/spelt/rye/oat flours)
2ish Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 Tbs baking powder
6 Tbs fat
1 C milk
Stir all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, then cut in the fat until you have a fine mixture with no visible chunks. You can cheat this step by melting the fat first. It should look like moist powder and clump if you squeeze it together. Stir in any additions here.
Then stir in the milk using as little mixing as possible. Just get everything wet. You can do drop scones by scooping out 8 little mounds onto a greased sheet pan or if you want classic triangles, pat the whole recipe of dough into a round disc on a counter & cut into 8 wedges like a pie. Arrange them on your sheet and bake at 420°F for 12-15 minutes. Take them out when the edges are brown and they have a good crisp on the outside.
This recipe can handle about 3/4 cup additional goodies in it, so go hog wild! Add any spices with the dry ingredients so they get mixed thoroughly.
1-3 TBS Cocoa makes tasty chocolate based scones, add extra sugar for dessert scones.
2/3C chocolate chips (Or split the difference between chocolate & nuts 1/3C each for the drool-worthy combo)
Savory scones: omit sugar & add a tablespoon or two of delicious herbs and spices like garlic, rosemary, mint, ginger, onion, basil, thyme, marjoram, dill or lots of fresh ground pepper! Or try them with curry spice! I love ginger & cardamom scones. Any of these herbs are obviously better fresh. For garlic scones I like to throw in some finely minced fresh garlic and enjoy the smell as it bakes.
You can do herby cheese scones for maximum savory joy by adding a half cup of shredded cheese. After you’ve mixed the butter in, toss the cheese in the flour/butter mixture to coat it so it doesn’t all stick together when you add the milk!
Lemon poppyseed scones are classic: add the zest of a lemon & a TBS or two of poppyseeds to your taste.
Chai spice scones are a go-to flavorful scone if you don’t like extra bits: a heaping TBS of cinnamon & generous tsps of ginger, allspice, nutmeg & a pinch each of cardamom & black pepper. But they are even better with nuts!
But the all-time best scones are blueberry. Stir in about 2/3 cup frozen berries right before the sour milk & line your pan with foil because they WILL stick. Other fruit is delicious as well & works flawlessly, but in the Alaskan winter nothing cheers me up quite like pulling some blueberries out of the freezer!
edit: the best version of these scones I’ve made is 4 Tbs cocoa, 1Tbs cinnamon, 1/2C corse chopped pecans, 1/3C cocoa nibs. Just lovely!
If you’re presenting these scones for dessert or tea you can fancy them up with a quick drizzle of glaze: 1/2C powdered sugar & 1/2tsp vanilla or almond extract plus 1tsp water. For a lemon glaze add lemon juice instead of water or extract. Mix it up til it looks thick, but flows from the fork when you lift it. Go easy on the liquid. You’re going to have to eyeball it because your humidity will be different than mine.
The joy of making my scones is that you will make them a lot of times trying different flavors & maybe adding a little more fat or a little more liquid til they are just the right texture for you! Recipes are guidelines, not rule books. I hope this gives you a fun place to kick off!
If you’d like to consult me for recipe troubleshooting or have a dream recipe you’d like me to play with or create, send me an email on my contact page. I’d love to hear from you! (And I always love a new baking project!)