This recipe uses self-raising flour and additional baking powder to make the scones rise but you can use other leavening agents; allow 1teaspoonbaking powder, or 1teaspooncream of tartar with ½teaspoonbicarbonate of soda to 250g (8oz) flour. Make the dough quickly and handle it as little as possible to keep the scones light.
To make 10-12 scones, you will need 250g (8oz) self-raising flour, ½teaspoonsalt, 1teaspoonbaking powder, 40g (1½oz) caster sugar, 40g (1½oz) butter or margarine, and 150ml (¼pint) buttermilk, milk or yogurt.
Preheat the oven to 230°C, 450°F, Gas Mark 8 and put in a baking sheet. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre, pour in the buttermilk, milk or yogurt and mix lightly to make a soft dough.
Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead only very lightly just to smooth the underside. Turn the dough smooth side up and roll or pat it out to a thickness of about 1.5cm (¾in). Using a 5cm (2in) floured round biscuit cutter, cut out 10—12 scones.
Place the scones on the preheated baking sheet and dust the tops with a little extra flour. Bake straightaway for 8—10 minutes until the scones are light brown and well risen. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve the scones split, with butter or clotted cream and a good-flavoured jam.
To make fruit scones, stir 50g (2oz) currants, raisins or sultanas, and candied peel, if liked, into the flour and butter mixture in step 1 before adding the milk. Complete step 2 and bake as in step 3. These scones can be served plain or with clotted cream, jam, and butter.
To make cheese scones, add 175-250g (6-8oz) finely grated strong Cheddar cheese and 1-2teaspoonswholegrain mustard to the mixture in step 1, but omit the sugar. Complete step 2 and bake the scones as above with extra grated cheese sprinkled on top before putting them in the oven.