The Victorians were masters of making the most out of difficult circumstances. Let’s follow suit. It may be bitterly cold and the sun may be masked by the winter drear, but never has a hot cup of tea and a scone been more enjoyable (or perhaps more fitting) than on such days. This recipe is a tried and true classic, hailing from Woburn Abbey in Buckinghamshire, UK. It has been adapted from A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary & Vincent Prince and will hopefully bring a bit of warmth to heart and home on a blustery winter’s day.
WOBURN ABBEY SCONES
YIELD: ~ 8 scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (I prefer King Arthur, unbleached)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter
- ½ cup mix-ins (you can get creative here…dried cranberries, chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, etc.)
- 1 egg (beaten with fork) + enough milk to = 2/3 cup total
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl using a whisk.
- Cut the cold butter into small chunks and add in to the dry ingredients, massaging with your fingertips until the butter pieces resemble pebbles/peas.
- Add your mix-ins, ensuring that they are evenly distributed.
- Add all but a couple tablespoons of the egg/milk mixture to the mixing bowl (you’ll use the rest to brush on top of the scones before baking) and blend with a wooden spoon or sturdy plastic spatula, lifting and turning from beneath until all the flour is absorbed and dough holds together. Finish off with your fingers, keeping your touch light.
- In the bowl, knead the dough with a lightly floured hand about 10 times (use the heel of one hand to press and fold the dough in on itself as you rotate the dough with your other hand). Keep motion gentle but firm.
- Lightly flour the counter or a large dough board and roll or pat the dough out to about ½ inch thickness. Cut with a knife into triangles (or use a round cutter or overturned glass dipped in flour to cut into circles).
- Place the scones on a buttered and lightly floured cookie sheet, spaced 1-2 inches apart to allow for expansion. Brush with the remaining egg/milk mixture using a pastry brush (this will give the scones a lovely sheen).
- Place on center or top rack of oven (to prevent burning the bottoms) and bake for 8 minutes, rotate baking sheet in oven, and bake for another 8-10 minutes. They should be golden brown.
- Enjoy warm with butter and jam or clotted cream.