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The name “scone” probably comes from the Gaelic word “sgonn” (which rhymes with gone), meaning a shapeless mass. And the early scone probably was. Because wheat doesn’t grow well in Scotland, scones, or their ancestors, were originally made of oat or barley flour.

It does seem in this country, in most cases, that when a baking powder biscuit is served with something savory, it remains a biscuit, and when it’s served with something sweet, it becomes a scone. Whatever you decide to call them, biscuits or scones are unbelievably easy to make; they bake in minutes, and, if we slow our lives down enough to enjoy them with a leisurely breakfast, a savory supper, or with a cup of tea in the afternoon, we will have adopted a tradition worth keeping.

A Basic Scone To Dress Up Or Not As Inclination Indicates

Scones are traditionally partially leavened through the reaction of buttermilk with baking soda, which creates their characteristic flavor and shaggy texture.
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (depending on amount of butter used; more butter = less salt)
2 to 8 tablespoons butter (to taste; the more, the richer)
4 tablespoons sugar (adjust to taste)
1 cup buttermilk (or sour milk or yogurt)
Preheat your oven to 500°F.

In a large mixing bowl, blend the dry ingredients together thoroughly. With a pastry blender, two knives, or, most easily, your fingertips, cut or rub in the butter until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.

Take about 20 seconds to stir in the liquid. The dough will be rough and shaggy but that’s the way it should look. Turn it out onto a well-floured board. Flour your hands and the surface of the dough well. Knead it very gently about 10 times, just enough to bring it together. It is not supposed to be smooth and springy like bread dough. Sprinkle on more flour as you need it to keep the dough from sticking.

For small, tea-time scones, cut the dough in half and press or roll each gently with a well floured rolling pin into a circle about 6 inches by 1/2 inch.

You can tidy up the edges with the palms of your hands if you want, but do it gently. Half the charm of scones is their “shagginess.”

Cut the circle into 8 wedge-shaped pieces with the edge of a bench or bowl scraper (or spatula), pressing down firmly without sawing. You’ll find it easier if you dip your cutter in flour after each cut. Make sure you press it into the dough quickly, without twisting or sawing. This shears the dough cleanly rather than pressing it together, which allows the scones to rise higher.

Using the scraper or spatula as a “shovel,” transfer each piece gently to a flour-sprinkled baking sheet (a pizza pan is wonderful for this), leaving a half inch or so between them. Put them in the oven, turn the temperature down to 450°F and bake for about 15 minutes. Yield: about 12 scones.

Nutrition information per serving (1 scone, 55 g): 127 cal, 2 g fat, 4 g protein, 22 g complex carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 6 mg cholesterol, 361 mg sodium, 90 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 121 mg calcium, 90 mg phosphorus.

Dressing Up Options

Fruit: A traditional British scone contains an added cup of currants or raisins, either purple or gold. An American counterpart might be 1 cup of blueberries, fresh and wild or dried, cranberries, fresh or dried, chopped apple or peaches. Mix with the dry ingredients after you’ve rubbed in the butter but before you add the liquid.

Spices: To use alone or to vary the flavor of a fruit scone, you can add up to a tablespoon of spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves or a combination) to the dry ingredients.

Nuts and/or Seeds: A cup of halved or chopped pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds, either alone or with fruit, add great flav

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