Thursday, January 26, 2012


Scones Scones and More Scones

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

Scones - loved this challenge - have been brought up making scones as many my age in NZ have - they are a staple. One of the first things most of us learned to bake in school cooking lessons too.
Watching the video of the host's lovely sister brought back memories of my chldhood in 1960s NZ - it was just like; watching Mum, watching my aunties, watching my friend's mothers, watching the neighbourhood women "knock up a batch of scones" - probably not PC to say that now.

I know women who are now in their 70s and 80s who make the most wonderful scones and don't even measure anything - I guess decades of practise makes perfect - they are amazing to watch - just shake the flour out of the bag - scoop some butter off the block and they are away - pour the milk in from the bottle/carton - usually cut them into squares or rectangles - glaze them with milk - into a "hot" oven and voila !- an awesome batch of scones.

I tried the challenge basic recipe and also made three others that are tried and true - one especially for people who don't care for "rubbing in".

First batch of challenge Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits) made- turned out pretty well as scones go - nice texture and very light, not a hint of baking powder taste. Well recieved by home tasters

In 2011 there was a TV show screened here in NZ called The Great British Bake Off and in one of the episodes the contestants had to make scones and I took a few notes from the judges - one in particular said - "only egg wash or glaze to the edge of the top - don't let it drip down the sides as this prevents rising or causes uneven rising" - for what it's worth

Healthy Food Guide Scones

These next scones are made from a recipe out of the New Zealand Healthy Food Guide - meant to be a slightly more healthy version of a scone - use margarine, low fat milk and yoghurt. Whether or not they are healthier is a discussion for another day - but why I use this recipe is that the margarine is really easy to rub in and they make a fantastically light scone. I've also used them at school for when I take cooking lessons with my class - they are fail-proof. It is a very wet mixture, I wouldn't even attempt to use a cutter, just a sharp knife. This recipe halves easily. Link to recipe below

NZ Healthy Food Guide Plain Scone Recipe

Griddle - Girdle SconesMy Mum often made "girdle" scones for us to have as morning tea in the weeknd or during school holidays / vacations - good filling food for active kids ! As you don't need an oven they are great for camping etc. If you don't have a griddle an electric frypan does the job. There's a bit of history around gridle / girdle - this posting in Lisa's (Sunday Hotpants) blog tells the story really well (go to Index and look under scones for Girdle Scones). I used her recipe which is a fairly stock standard one for griddle/girdle scones in Zew Zealand.

Girdle Scones
- variation from the Edmonds cookbook.

Note: this is not a sweet scone - the mix is plain, if you like a sweet scone you may add 3 Tblspns sugar in the dry ingredients stage.

1 cup flour
2 tspns baking powder
1 Tblspn of butter
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of currants
aprox 1/2 cup of milk
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl

Cut or rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs

Add enough milk to make a soft dough and shape into a circle on a lightly floured board. Roll out to roughly 1.5 cm (1/2 an inch) thick and cut into eight wedges.

Cook on a hot greased girdle, hotplate or frying pan until golden and cooked in the centre - this will be roughly 5 minutes on each side.

Snuggle them up on the girdle arranged in the same way you cut them.

When you turn your scone wedges place them gently on the hot surface and only turn once.
Serve hot from the pan, slathered in your favourite jam.

If You Don't Like Rubbing Butter Into Flour ......these are the scones for you
The recipe is from Dame Alison Holst - a New Zealand cooking icon. It is easily scaled - I made a half recipe but used a little more milk than half.Following is the recipe with a note from her;

My Mother’s Date Scones
No one could make scones better than my mother. They melted in your mouth. Sometimes, over a weekend, she’d make six batches of scones, feeding all and sundry.
2 cups high grade flour (bread flour) – spoon the flour into your measuring cup without packing it
½ tsp salt
2 level Tbsp baking powder
½ cup dates (chopped in half)
50 g butter (melted)
¾ cup milk

1. Sift dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl.
2. Add chopped dates.
3. Add milk to melted butter and stir into dry ingredients. Careful not to over-mix. Mixture should be lumpy.
4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat into a rectangle shape (work with dough as lightly as possible). Should make 6 to 8 good sized scones.
5. Spray oil onto a baking tray. Place scones closely together to the tray and bake at 225°C for 10 to 12 minutes, until tops are golden.


  1. Wow! I'm impressed at all the different scones (and methods)! They look fantastic! You did such a fantastic job on the challenge!

  2. What an extensive and impressive list of scones you made and I adore how you added the recipes so good of you. A wonderful result for this challenge.Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

    1. I enjoyed reading about all of your variations on the scone. I am especially interested in trying the low fat version for the benefit of my tum. I envy those older women (including my Mum) who just cook out of their head, throwing in this and that. I always have to use a recipe! Scones are a staple here too. I am originally from Queensland, where Flo Bjelke-Petersen's pumpkin scones were all the rage.

  3. What a collection of scones you must have been busy.

  4. Very very impressive !!
    Didn't know you could do scones a gridle idea.......gonna try it soon !!
    All the best !!

  5. I never thought about how many recipes and methods there could be for the basic scone/biscuit... Thank you for sharing your efforts with us, they all look so yummy!

  6. I love the fact that you tried different recipes with different techniques.I really wanted to try a date scone but ran out of time,now I have your amazing recipe to try next time