I have been making scones like crazy lately. They are so easy and quick to make, but such a crowd pleaser. They will make any quick dinner that more special if you serve some scones instead of bread. Add a few slices of cheese and olives and you got yourself a pretty fancy meal with no trouble whatsoever. And thinking about the new variations to spice things up made me realise I should have a good basic recipe first that I can modify easily. Just by substituting some all-purpose flour for the same amount of cornmeal makes the perfect corn muffins, or adding some chopped crispy bacon and chives… well, you can imagine the result.

Therefore, rather than posting a new basic scone recipe, I decided to update the one I had because I believe this is the one basic scone recipe you should always have on hand. It calls for only three main ingredients – flour, butter and yoghurt/buttermilk, plus the flavourings and levelers.

So by making them so often, I realised it was all about the ratio of those main ingredients and can be translated to both sweet and savoury scones. That way it is much easier to control the adjust the amount of scones you want to make – no splitting eggs, just recalculating the weights of flour, butter and yoghurt. So, here goes:

Flour : yoghurt : butter= 3 : 2 : 1 (plus a chunk more =))

For every 100 g of butter (300 g of flour) add a teaspoon of salt and baking powder and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda. Depending on whether you are making savoury or sweet scones, add two to four teaspoons of sugar. Very easy and straightforward. Brush the tops with some olive oil or melted butter and sprinkle with some coarse salt to get perfectly crispy crust. And then split them open and prepare to be amazed by their fluffiness and softness. They are so rich in layers and melt in your mouth.

Make sure to stay tuned for other scone variations. What is your favourite combination of flavours?

preparation time: about 15 minutes
baking time: 25-30 minutes, 200°C/400 F
makes: 8-10 scones

Ingredients for the dough:
300 g flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
110 g butter
200 ml yoghurt

Extra:

2 Tbsp olive oil+ coarse salt for topping

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400F).

2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a big bowl (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda) and stir them together briefly.

3. Take butter out of the fridge and, making sure it is still very cold, cut it into small cubes. Using a food processor or your fingertips, work it in the flour, just like you would if making a pie crust. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t soften.

4. Once all the butter has reduced to small chinksand is well distributed throughout the flour mixture, add yoghurt and, using a fork, work it in the flour. Once it starts to get together, take the dough out of the bowl and place it on a lightly floured surface. Working quickly, gather it with your hands and knead just as much as you need to put together. If you need extra flour, add some, but don’t add too much, the dough should still look crumbly and be a bit sticky. Amount of flour stated in the ingredients list was perfect amount for me. Just dust your surface lightly with flour so the dough wouldn’t stick to the working surface.

5. Roll out the dough a circle about 20 cm (8 in) in diameter. Depending on how you like to shape them, cut the cones using a sharp knife or a dough cutter. The easier thing to do is to cut the circle into 8 wedges (triangles), just like cutting a pizza or a cake. Coat the knife with some flour because that way it will cut directly through all the layers of dough, instead of sticking to the sides of the scones.

Note that baking time will depend on the size of the scones. Cutting out 8 scones out of this batch makes pretty large scones, so they baked for a good half an hour.

6. Place the scones to a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with some olive oil and sprinkle with some coarse salt (that is completely optional, but adds such a good flavour and crunch). Give them space because they will spread and they need the air to circulate in order to crisp up around the edges.

7. Bake for around 25 to 30 minutes at 200°C/400 F. Scones should be golden brown on top and crispy on the outside. If your scones are smaller and you got more than 8 scones, they will probably take less to bake. So check them after about 15 to 18 minutes to see how fast they progress. Enjoy freshly baked with… anything really: cheese, stew, hummus (my currently favourite combination) or even some butter and jam (just ommit the coarse salt) …

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BASIC SCONES
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