Cream Scones Recipe

These scones are the kind I remember from my college days in Devon when I, along with the other overcoat-wearing nihilists from the University of Exeter’s philosophy department, would descend on a local tea shop and munch cream-covered scones from delicate china plates set on doilies. The universe might have been impersonal and meaningless but the butterfat content was high. You’ll need:

10 ounces (2 cups) all-purpose flour
1.75 ounces (1/4 cup) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
2.75 ounces (5 1/2 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into cubes
4 ounces (1/2 cup) heavy cream
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg mixed with 2 teaspoons milk for the glaze

Begin by preheating your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and set a rack in the top position of your oven. In a large bowl, sift the flour, then whisk in the sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter pieces and rub them in until the mixture looks like corn meal. In another bowl combine the In a small bowl whisk together the cream, egg and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and gently stir them together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat it down until it’s about 1/2 an inch thick. Using a 2 1/2″ biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Push together the scraps, pat them down and repeat the process until all the dough is used.

Whisk the egg and milk together, and brush it onto the tops of the scones. Bake 8-10 minutes until they’re lightly browned on top.

15 thoughts on “Cream Scones Recipe”

  1. Thanks for posting this. I’m tired of the “american” version over here… dried out over worked bricks. Cream scones are lovely.

    1. Amen. Which is not to say I’ve never met an American scone I’ve liked. Check the ginger scone recipe to the left. Those things are delicious. But mostly American scones are too big, too dense and too…chalky, sort of.

  2. I cracked up at this image of you, British university philosophy major boy. Is that story for reals!? haha, it’s just too picturesque!

    Anyway, this recipe sounds delicious, and so quick and simple– I can’t wait to try it! My friend just came back from her trip to England and is craving scones and clotted cream most of all. This would be the perfect thing to make for her when we meet to catch up :) I’ll let her know you taught me.

    1. Oh it’s true all right. I had the whole late 80’s thing going’ on…pointy black Beatle boots, long locks of greasy hair in my face, snide pseudo-intellectual asides…the works. I’m lucky some very sensible person (from either side of the pond) didn’t kill me on the spot… simply for being a young, impossibly obnoxious twit. Thankfully that’s all over now, and I’ve matured into a middle-aged impossibly obnoxious twit…with a blog no less. Lord, it’s a miracle I’m still alive.

      Let me know how the scones go!

      – Joe

  3. Your step by step demo says to preheat the oven to 500F with the rack placed on the highest level in the oven. I’ve mostly baked mine the way you state in this recipe, though I do bake them in the upper third of the oven, it didn’t say where the rack goes here.

    1. Hi Susan! Yes I need to fix the recipe, since I do believe that high heat gives a lighter end product. But to each their own!

      – Joe

  4. Great recipe.
    A tip for the butter that I learned from another baker – grate the cold butter with a grater!

  5. Thank you for this amazing recipe! I used the leftover liquid from when I made clotted cream and it turned out great. This recipe is a keeper.

  6. Hi Joe, I am not much of a baker so this recipe kind of scared me at first. Still riding high on my beginner’s luck with clotted cream I thought I’d press on regardless. It was a hot humid day in my historic kitchen so I incorporated the cold butter with a food processor – my hands would have melted the butter – then followed the remaining steps. I wish I could post a photo of these beautiful scones, truly the best I’ve ever had. I would have never thought of the high heat and upper over placement – very effective. Lovely with my clotted cream.

  7. How soon should one eat scones? Every time I am in London, I buy one, and, unfortunately, the majority are so dry as to be inedible (even when slathered in clotted cream and jam). I assume it is because they are not fresh. The ones from Harrod’s are the absolute worst. Also, if I do opt to make just a few and freeze the rest of the dough, is there any trick to thawing and baking? Just discovered this website and, so far, love it. Making your clotted cream recipe tonight!

    1. Hey John!

      I’m with you in regard to dry scones. I lived in Britain for a year and rarely got them fresh outside of a tea shop. I came to the conclusion that some people just like them that way — an excuse to apply more cream and jam!

      But to answer your question, fresh baked should be eaten within a day or two. They freeze very well also, just reheat them in the microwave on high for 20-30 seconds or so. Not as good as fresh, but a heck of a lot better than Harrod’s!

      Cheers,

      – Joe

  8. I was taught to leave the (frozen) butter in small cubes and not try to break them down, just fold them in. Is there some reason I should not do this?

    The cubes are small – maybe ¼” on a side. My scones always came out great, but then I’m no pastry chef, and I’ve never tried it your way either. My recipe came from a Scotswoman at a B&B in Fort William, back in the 80’s.

    Cheers,
    Kelly

    PS Thank you so much for the clotted cream recipe btw. Lovely!

    1. Hello Kelly and sorry for the late reply!

      There’s not problem at all with that technique and indeed it probably make a very flaky scone. It’s all about what you prefer! And I’mm glad to hear the clotted cream turned out so well for you.

      Cheers,

      – Joe

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