One of the first things I ever learned to bake were scones. They're simple and tasty and it's lovely to fill the house with the smell of baking. Having gotten tips from lots of different people over the years, here's the recipe:
Time: 40 mins
Makes: 12 scones
700g Self-raising Flour
2 Eggs (one for the mixture and one for egg-wash)
Large Mixing Bowl
Small Bowl or Cup
Large Baking Tray (as large as your oven will allow)
Scone Cutter (or any ring around 7cm in diameter and 3cm deep).
Cooling Tray (If you don't have one, a clean cool shelf from the oven will do fine.)
1. Heat the oven to 180°C and line the baking tray with baking paper. Place all of the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl along with the butter. If the butter is still cold from the bridge allow it a couple of minutes to come to room temperature.
2. Using your hands, rub together the butter and the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles yellowish sand. This will take a couple of minutes. There should not be any lumps of unmixed butter left.
3. In a measuring jug, mix one egg with the buttermilk. Make a small well in the centre of the mixture in the bowl and pour the entire contents of the jug into it.
4. With one hand on the bowl, use the other hand to bring together the whole mixture. (This can be done using a mixer but I like to use my hands.)
NB: As soon as the mixture comes together, stop mixing. The more you play around with it at this point, the more air will be removed and the heavier your scones will be, rather the light texture you want.
5. This is when keeping one hand clean comes in handy. With your clean hand, take a fistful of flour and spread it on a clean surface. Turn the mixture out onto the surface and spread it out gently and evenly until it is about 3 cm thick.
6. Flour the scone cutter and cut as many circles as possible from the mixture without rerolling it. Then, without over working it, bring together the mixture again and cut out more scones. You should have around 12. Don't worry if you have too many or too few. Lay them on the lined tray ensuring they are not too close together.
7. In a small bowl or cup, stir the second egg around well. With a basting brush, egg-wash every scone.
8. Place the tray in the middle of the oven for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the scones. They're done when they are golden brown on top.
9. Remove the scones from the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool.
(Or if you're too impatient like me, cut one in half immediately and place butter on it to melt while it's still hot!)