Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What are Scones?

What are scones?  In short, they are my favorite pastry.  I think of scones often, so I thought I'd share a little bit about them with you, my readers.

Scones can be called a quick bread, a pastry, a tea cake.  However, they are most like a biscuit in structure.  The most traditional type of scone is made like a biscuit in that the fat - in this case butter - is cut into the flour to form chunks of fat in the dough.  When the scones are cooked the butter melts and leaves pockets of air in the scone.  This gives the little cakes a flakier texture.

Scones can be sweet or savory and made with all sorts of different flour blends and liquids.  They originated in Scotland.  The traditional Scottish scone would be made with white flour, butter, sugar, salt, and cream.  They might also traditionally be made with barley flour or oat flour.  Baking powder and/or baking soda are usually added for leavening.  Currants are often used for a fruit note.  They are traditionally served with the afternoon tea, although Americans seem to prefer them for breakfast.

Many scone recipes are a huge departure from these basic ingredients.  I have seen recipes for gluten-free vegan scones, chocolate scones, goat cheese scones - you name it.  The purist in me once scoffed at such transgressions from the traditional scone.  Now, my gluten-free lifestyle doesn't allow me to cling to tradition so closely.  Scones were the first recipe that I wanted to perfect when I went gluten-free.  It took about a year to do it.  I was dedicated!  Now, however, I have numerous scone recipes, many of which break from tradition on many levels.  I love them all.

What is your favorite scone?


Laura T. (Ditsy Kitchen) said...

I didn't even know scones were popular outside the uk :) Although here you'd be told off by any old fashioned bakers as scones apparently have to be round! (apparently there's a rule that's like fluted edges for sweet, plain for savory as well - or perhaps it's the other way round haha!)

Gina Kelley said...

That's good to know! Here in the US scones are pretty popular. They are usually wedge-shaped, but I've definitely seen round ones. I think the wedge shape identifies the scone here in the US and sets it apart from a biscuit, which is usually savory and plain. Thanks for dropping by my blog!

cath said...

english style scones are usually round and rise to about 2 inchs then are broken in half and served with jam and cream. delish, yours look nice too, just not something i would call a "scone" (im from australia :)