Scones. There are probably more variations on this Scottish quickbread than there are Scots to bake them. They are round, square, rectangular or wedge-shaped – not to mention heart-shaped on Valentine’s Day. They are sweet, savory, filled, topped, studded with dried fruit or nuts, drizzled with icing, or served plain with butter, jams, and clotted cream. They can be light as a feather or dense like a shortbread. They’re all scones. And they’re all good.

In the US, scones are pretty much always sweet, although, as with every other variation imaginable, the degree of sweetness can vary greatly. My first choice is usually a less-sweet light-biscuity style as these are. I don’t really care that much for the overly-iced sweet things sold at the coffee chains.

We have a throw-together recipe that can be tweaked countless ways to make countless variations. It’s pretty no-fail. The only caveat is to have a light hand as you would making biscuits.

Basic Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400°. Line cookie sheet with parchment or very lightly grease.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Cut in butter. Mix the egg and milk and stir in until moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly. Form dough out into a 1/2 inch thick round. Cut into 8 wedges, and place on the prepared baking sheet a couple inches apart.

Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Today, Victor added about a cup of dried cranberries and sprinkled the top with sugar before baking.

It’s a gray, dreary, wet day here in Pennsylvania and the dough was a tad more sticky than usual. It was a bit more difficult to work with, but he wisely resisted adding more flour and cut 6 not-so-even wedges instead of the usual 8.


The end result was an airy light-as-a-feather scone that brought a smile to my face with every bite.  What they lacked in uniformity they more than made up for in flavor and texture.

I think it’s time for another…