How to make the perfect scones?

 baked scone cut on half spread with whipped cream and strawberry jam

Fall is finally here, and we are already baking fall-inspired desserts and baked goods of all kinds. With cooler weather and aromatic spices lingering in the air from scented candles, cinnamon brooms, and the Inn’s oven working overtime, we’ve decided to share a bit of the fall fun with you. One of our favorite fall treats to bake are scones. Here you will find our tricks and tips of making that perfect scone!

A little bit of history; scones originated in Scotland and were first made with oats, shaped into a large round, cut into four to six triangles. They were cooked on a griddle either over an open fire or on top of the stove.  The name “scone” is believed to come from the Gaelic “sgonn” which means shapeless mass, or large mouthful. This small cake is considered a quick bread similar in texture to a biscuit. They were originally made from wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, butter, milk, and eggs. The mixture produces a soft and sticky dough. After baking the texture of the scones should be light and soft! They became popular at English Afternoon tea lunches and are traditionally served with clotted cream and jams. Now they are enjoyed at any time of the day and can be found in different shapes and varieties of flavors from sweet to savory.

Scones are delicate and not that easy to make. The process consists of a few necessary steps that when followed, end up with delicate, buttery, and flaky scones. They are best when they are fresh and warm from the oven. Here a few secrets that we would like to share with you! 

Handle the dough minimally

Overmixing the dough will lead to scones that are tough and chewy, rather than light and flaky. The key is using only one hand when handling the dough and work the dough just until it comes together. Do not knead or overwork it! Expect your dough to have lumps and bumps in it, this is how it should be.

Use only cold ingredients

The secret to the perfect scones is using cold ingredients – cold butter, cold eggs, and cold buttermilk. When making scones use only buttermilk, this is one of the secret ingredients. Cold ingredients prevent the butter melting before the scones are baked, leaving it to melt in the oven to create that super flaky texture. You want your butter to melt in the oven, not on your countertop or in your hands. For that reason, we actually use frozen butter! A little tip here is to grate the butter before you put in the freezer. This allows for easy mixing. Simply mix the dry ingredients with the already grated frozen butter. Another great tip is chilling your mixing bowl in the freezer! 

Use only All- Purpose King Arthur Flour

With over 20 years of baking experience, we find that King Arthur flour is the best for baking and especially for scones. We love the texture and consistency in quality. Do not forget to sift your flour. Other flours generally have higher protein levels which make for denser baked goods. Most all-purpose flour has a protein content of about 10 to 12% and King Arthur’s is lower which makes for a lighter scone.  

Chilling the dough before baking

It’s critical to keep the dough cold so that the butter doesn’t melt before the scones are baked. It’s safer to chill the dough for a few hours in the fridge before you bake! You can also keep them in the freezer for a few months. Make sure your scones are precut and placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Frozen scones do not need to be defrosted before baking! They will just take a little longer to cook. To test if scones are cooked through, tap gently on top. If it makes a hollow sound, the scones are cooked.  

Cutting the dough

Once you have your dough in a ball, turn it onto a lightly floured board, and rotate a few times. This will help dust the outside of the ball of dough with flour. Flatten it a little bit and use a biscuit cutter to cut circles, dipping the cutter into flour between cutting to prevent the dough from sticking to it. We prefer circles vs. wedges! We think they cook better.

Scones variations

Plain scones are delicious served warm with jam and whipped cream however you can experiment even further and make your own variations. You can add whatever you wish to your scone dough and make them more flavorful and fun. Our most popular scones are Cranberry Orange (add fresh cranberries and orange zest), Lemon Ricotta (add lemon juice, lemon zest, and ricotta cheese), Pumpkin (add pumpkin puree and mixed spices), Apple Spice (add fresh apples and cinnamon), and Chocolate Chip. You can also experiment with a variety of glazes and toppings.

Fall weather is perfect for some baking and getting the aroma of baked goods to linger in your house. If baking is not your thing, simply visit our website and book your fall getaway to Cape Cod! We will take care of all the baking and even deliver it to your room. Enjoy our famous scones in the comfort of your room by the roaring fire sipping a warm cup of tea. You can find our scone recipe and many other savory and sweet favorites in our bestselling cookbook. You can purchase it here!  We hope to see you this fall!



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