Just what is a “scone” anyway?

If you’re a Scotsman, you pronounce “scone” as that which rhymes with “gone”, not “bone” as most of the rest of the English-speaking world does. Does that really matter? Well yes, because scones are Scottish breads. Originally they were made from either ground oats or barley (definitive Scottish grains), though very few people eat them this way anymore (even the Scots). But once upon a time they were a very simple griddle cake, made from grain and water, probably leavened with yeast.

Oh, how times change. Today scones can be just about any small bread or cake. They can be leavened with yeast, though almost all now employ baking powder or soda. And virtually all are made from white wheat flour and are baked instead of griddled. But that’s where the commonality ends. Today you can find sweet scones and savory scones, plain, peach or pumpkin scones, round, square or triangular scones, dry and crumbly or rich and cakey scones. There really are no rules anymore, though there are predominant national styles, which I shall get into shortly.

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