Making Cream Scones

Cream scones are the classic compliment to the Devon cream tea. They’re comparable in flavor to an American scone, but smaller, lighter of crumb and above all easier to slather with clotted cream and jam. Though the procedure and ingredients may be similar to American biscuits and/or Australian scones, they’re really their own animal. Try them and you’ll see.

Begin by preheating your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and placing a rack on the very top position in the oven. That’s high heat for a British scone, but the big heat gives them a quicker, higher rise at the outset and a lighter texture in the end. They’ll have a more knobby top than a classic scone, but to me at least the tradeoff is worth it. Now sift your flour into a large bowl.

Add the sugar, baking powder and salt…

…and whisk thoroughly.

Now for the wet ingredients. Combine the cold cream, cold egg and vanilla extract in a bowl…

…and give’em a good swizzle.

Put that mixture in the fridge while you incorporate the butter. Add the cold cubes and rub, rub, rub.

When that’s done and the flour mixture looks like breadcrumbs, add the wet ingredients.

Gently bring the dough together with a spatula.

Then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat it down to about half an inch in thickness.

Using a 2 to 2 1/2″ biscuit butter, cut out rounds, bringing the scraps back together as needed until all the dough is used.

Place the dough rounds on a baking sheet…

…paint with egg wash…

…and bake about 10 minutes until they’re golden. Like so.

While still warm apply some clotted cream should you have any (Mrs. Pastry found some for me…don’t ask me where).

Add jam. Strawberry is traditional but just about any will work here.

Then 1.) open mouth and 2.) stuff in. Repeat until butterfat coma ensues.

42 thoughts on “Making Cream Scones”

  1. Can we cut in the butter (using, say, a pastry cutter) instead of rubbing it in with our fingers?

  2. These look amazing – I lived in England for years and the scones were one of my favorite parts. That picture with the clotted cream and jam makes me want to go to high tea right now!

    1. I miss those little tea shops. God knows I looked extremely out of place amid all that lace and knick knacks. Still, the little old ladies treated me like a king! One day I’ll get back there for a proper cream tea.

      – Joe

  3. I was just walking down the hall at work, mentally noting that I still felt satisfied from breakfast and was surprisingly NOT tempted by the cookies out for grazing. Then I read this, and now I’m dreaming of sneaking home to make these.

    I’m blaming it on the lack of fat in my breakfast-I didn’t trigger enough of my satiety pathways! 😉

    1. Hi Linda!

      Just scroll down or go to the menu on the left under Bread and then Scones. You’ll find the recipe and the tutorial bundled together there.

      – Joe

  4. Hi Joe, one thing to watch out for is over enthusiastically applying the egg wash to the tops. Any that runs down the sides will stop the scone from rising to full height, and you get sloping tops

    I use sour cream or yoghurt, but as you know, ask 100 people for a scone recipe and you get 300 replies. All good with cream jam and a good cup of tea 🙂

    Take care.


    1. Hi Warren!

      And yes, that’s an important point, thank you. Also as you point out, any sort of dairy will fill in well here, especially if people feel like going a bit lighter on the fat. Buttermilk will also work…though it would make them more “American” in the process. That might be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view!

      – Joe

  5. I know that the Whole Foods near my house has proper clotted cream. It’s a bit expensive because they import it, but its the only place I know to get the real stuff.

  6. Joe, those look divine and I’m going to have to bake them this weekend! Is this the same recipe that you posted on the 15th? Just checking, because that one says 425 for oven temp.

    Also, if you ever make it to the west coast, hop up to Victoria, BC. They are ALL about high tea there. Skip the tourist places and hit up the White Heather. It was to die for!

    1. Hi Emily! I once used to look out at Victoria every day, as a bartender on the San Juan Islands. But I never got there! Now at have extra incentive to go.

      But I need to reconcile the tutorial and the recipe. Thanks!

      – Joe

  7. Awesome! Is it possible for you to post the pic of the clotted cream container?

    1. If it hasn’t been recycled I will, Leah. I’m traveling at the moment, but I’ll try when I get back.


      – Joe

  8. Btw, I have made Cooks Illustrated cream biscuits (pretty much the same thing) and they suggest flash freezing extras. Just pop them in the oven from the freezer!

    1. Thanks Ann! It’s that blast of high heat that does it. As I mentioned it makes the tops a little coarse looking, but the light texture more than makes up for it in my opinion. Tanks for the note!

      – Joe

  9. Hi Joe,
    Thanks for the scone receipe! I am a big scone fan, but it seems like they never taste as good as the British one! One quick question for you: Since I am the only one eating scones, is it possible to freeze the dough rounds? It would be easier and more practical to eat fresh scones,

    thanks for your advise

    1. Hi Valerie! Yes I think it’s better to freeze the dough rounds unbanked than to bake them and then freeze the finished scones. You just thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and pop them in the oven when you’re ready for one.

      Have fun!

      – Joe

  10. Ummmm, I hate to ask… but…

    Clotted cream and then the jam, or jam and then the clotted cream?

    1. Hehe…hey Brian! Check out the posts from this week and you’ll see where I stand on this knotty and divisive issue.


      – Joe

      1. Oh dear. This might be the end of our friendship. 😉

        Truth be told, I can go both ways on this… and actually prefer preparing small bite-sized chunks of scone individually so I can maintain equity in this matter… should I so desire.

        Most of the time I prefer just clotted cream anyway — and LOTS of it.

  11. I thought there would be instructions on how to make our own clotted cream! I know how you like to manipulate dairy products!

  12. I’ve wondered whether the use of crinkle cutters enhances the scones’ rising ability or if it is simply aesthetics? I read somewhere, long time ago, of the notion of “sealing” biscuits when cutting the dough…

    1. I think that’s a common belief, and probably one with merit. The crinkle contours actually create more surface area around the outside of biscuit/scone, making it less likely that you’ll “seal” the edges when you cut it. However I think the main thing is to always push straight down when cutting, and avoid any twisting motions, which can increase the “sealing” effect.

      Thanks Dani!

      – Joe

        1. That’s odd, I’ve always heard the reverse, but I must say I’ve never tested it either way. Hm…

          Thanks Henry!

          – Joe

  13. I attempted baking some cream scones this weekend using this recipe but I substituted the AP flour with pastry flour. My mixture was a lot drier and crumblier than yours, and mine barely rose!! But I did manhandle the dough a bit. BWAHAHA Thanks for posting the recipe.

    1. Hi Rosie!

      Pastry flour is a finer grind, so any liquid gets absorbed a bit more. Next time just add a little more if need be. You should still have a great scone. Thanks for the note (and glad you had fun!).

      – Joe

  14. Can hardly wait to be transported back to jolly ole’ England. Haven’t had a real scone for years and years. Quick question: What brand of flour (King Arthur, White Lily, Pillsbury, etc.) do you use. I know that different ones have different protein contents and different results. Thank you!

  15. Hi Joe,
    A few questions for you:
    – have you tried freezing the scone dough before baking? How did they turn out in comparison to the not-frozen scones?
    – if I wanted to add raspberries or blueberries, how much would you suggest?
    Thanks for any help

    1. Hi Michelle!

      Scone dough freezes very very well. So no problems there. Berries are more of a problem since they release a lot of water when they get hot. In either case I’d suggest a dried raspberry or blueberry in place of the fresh.

      Have fun!

      – Joe

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