Make rich, flaky homemade cream scones using a simple ratio, then get creative with your mix-ins and flavors…perfect for your High Tea tradition!
Last weekend I went to High Tea with my older daughter at a lovely English tearoom called Fancy That in Walpole, MA. It was the 20th time that we went to tea for her birthday.
The first time we went she was 5 years old. I wanted to have a "Mommy Date" to make her feel special on her special day. Also, I felt she was old enough to really enjoy the experience. That, and I love High Tea and needed an excuse to go myself!
The next year I took her out of Kindergarten early for our date, and our High Tea tradition was born. Later when my younger daughter turned 5, I treated her to the same experience.
Both my girls knew that on their birthday they'd have a special date with Mommy.
Making cream scones using a ratio
Scones are an integral part of any High Tea experience. Learning how to make scones at home is easier than you think.
Biscuits fall under a 3-1-2 ratio, 3 parts flour, 1 part fat, and 2 parts liquid. A cream scone is just an enriched biscuit, meaning eggs are added and the liquid is heavy cream. Just count the egg into the measurement of the cream (one egg is about 2 oz).
And just as with making pie crust, it's important to keep everything chilled as you go.
Now that remembering the ratio for homemade scones is easy, the ability to riff on the basic scone recipe is easy, too. The variations are only limited by your imagination (yes, yes, and the ingredients you have...yeesh!).
What you need
Here are the basic ingredients needed to make homemade scones:
- Flour: The basic building block to any baked good, flour provides the structure
- Baking powder: This chemical leavening agent helps keep the scone from becoming too dense
- Salt: Used for balancing the sweetness and to keep the scone from tasting flat
- Sugar: The sweetness has to come from somewhere!
- Butter: Adds richness and contributes to the flakiness, like in pie dough
- Heavy cream: The liquid used to bind the ingredients, also adds its own flavor and richness
- An egg: Like cream and flour, eggs add structure and richness
Get creative with your scone recipe
Here's where the fun lies...you can use all sorts of substitutions for the cream. Pumpkin purée, applesauce, egg nog, just to start. Add additional spices to change up the flavor! Drizzle the baked scones with melted chocolate or an icing that complements the flavor profile.
And the mix-ins...well, chocolate chips are practically a must for my family. You can use nuts, fresh or dried fruit, or something else entirely.
Did you know that scones don't have to be sweet? (what?!?) Just omit the sugar and use savory liquids and mix-ins (cheese, bacon, caramelized onions...shall I go on?).
You've got a wonderfully enriched biscuit to serve with dinner.
What goes with cream scones?
Now that you know the ratio, you won't need a recipe for homemade cream scones. Just a little time and imagination.
And If you have the time, inclination, and a local tearoom, create your own High Tea tradition with someone you love. It'll be quite special.
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
More recipes for scones
Homemade scone recipes are easy to create once you remember the 3-1-2 ratio. Here are some ideas to try:
And, if you sign up for my weekly notification (in the sidebar of this page), I’ll send you a link for my Mint Chocolate Chunk Scones recipe! Such minty goodness…I can’t even.
Homemade Cream Scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, (9 oz, 255g)
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 6 Tbsp butter, chilled & cubed or frozen & grated, see Recipe Notes (3 oz, 85g)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, (4 oz, 113g)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- mix-ins, as desired
- extra cream for brushing on top
- coarse sugar, for sprinkling
- icing, as desired
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add butter and mix using a pastry cutter, two forks, or even your hands, until coarse, pea-sized crumbs appear.
- Mix the cream and egg together in a small bowl. Slowly add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and mix until the dough just holds together. Here you have to be flexible about the amount of cream to add as the actual amount will depend on the humidity of the day. Squeeze a small amount of dough between your fingers and if it is very crumbly, add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time (2 tablespoons maximum). If the dough is too wet, you can knead in more flour when you turn out the dough. Remember, do not over mix the dough...you want to keep that butter cold and separate from the flour.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and push together into a rough ball. Knead a few times to combine (if you're adding any mix-ins to the dough, here's when you'd add them in). Gather the dough, and flatten into a disc or a rectangle about 1-inch high. Use a bench scraper to release the disc from the mat. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 20 minutes or up to overnight.
- Once the dough is chilled, cut the disc into wedges or the rectangle into squares using the bench scraper. If cutting the rectangle into squares, trim the outside edges of the dough first so that the scones can rise evenly. Alternatively, use a biscuit cutter to cut out shapes (gather and cut the leftover dough again as needed, but hopefully not more than 2 times).
- Bake at 425°F for about 18-23 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool on pan for 2 minutes, then move to a cooling rack. Drizzle icing (if using) on top while the scones are cooling. Let the icing set.