Who can resist a plate of hot buttered scones, fresh from the oven?
A home-made scone slathered with lashings of strawberry jam and clotted cream is a sure-fire pick-me-up, guaranteed to put a smile on everyone's face.
Scones are my go-to bit of baking therapy. Nothing breaks up a case of sibling rivalry quicker than an impromptu scone-making session in the kitchen - get the kids involved and watch all the tensions of the day drain away. My kids also love coming home from school to the smell of fresh scones, and a batch of these babies can brighten up even the dullest day.
My favourite recipe for home-made scones comes from the BBC Good Food site but here's my slightly adapted version, leaving out the lemon juice. Apparently it helps the scones rise but my kids prefer their scones without it. You can add sultanas or chocolate chips at the same time as the sugar, for scones with a difference.
350g self-raising flour
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
beaten egg, to glaze
Pre-heat the oven to 220C / fan 200C / gas 7.
Tip the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl and mix.
Cut the butter into cubes and rub it through the flour mixture, until it resembles bread crumbs.
Stir in the sugar.
Gently warm the milk in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Add the vanilla extract (and lemon juice, if using) then set aside.
Put a baking sheet in the oven to warm - this will help the scones rise.
Make a well in the dry mix, then add the milk and vanilla extract liquid and combine it quickly with a cutlery knife.
Dust a clean work surface with flour, scatter some more flour onto your hands and the dough and, working quickly so as not to over-handle the dough, knead it gently until it's a little more malleable. Pat the dough into a round about 4cm deep.
Dip a 5cm cutter (smooth-edged cutters tend to cut more cleanly, giving a better rise) and dip it in flour. Cut out eight scones, lightly glaze the tops with beaten egg, and place on the hot baking tray.
Bake scones in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Serve warm from the oven, smothered in butter, or allow them to cool and serve with jam and cream.
These freeze fairly well but I've never understood why anyone would bother freezing scones when they're SO easy to make and taste SO good straight from the oven...
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