Anneka Manning, a food author, mum of two and passionate baker behind BakeClub, joins us each month to share some of her industry tips, tricks and 25 years worth of experience. Today, she gives us the lowdown on baking perfect scones. Plus, she shares her fool-proof recipe for Lemonade Scones.
I have vivid memories of baking batches of scones at shearing time. I would bundle them together in a tea towel to keep them warm and take them up to the shearing shed where they would be devoured at ‘smoko’.
These days they are what I turn to when time is short and I want to bake something nostalgic and soul-warming. Here are my top tips for making scones.
How to Bake Perfect Scones
- Cut the butter into small, even pieces; this will help you incorporate it into the flour more quickly and evenly.
- Only use your fingertips, not your whole hands, when rubbing in the butter. The palms are the warmest part of your hands and the butter is more likely to melt if it touches your palms when you are rubbing in the butter, which can result in heavy scones. Also keep the palms of your hands facing upwards and lift the flour high out of the bowl when rubbing in the butter, as this will aerate the mixture and help give it a lighter texture when baked.
- Handle the dough as little as possible to prevent your finished scones from becoming heavy. The less you work your dough the lighter your scones will be.
- Don’t twist the cutter when cutting out your scones. If you do, your scones are likely to rise unevenly. Just push straight down into the dough and then lift directly upwards for evenly-risen (good-looking) scones! Also, if the cutter starts sticking to the dough dip it in a little extra flour before cutting.
- Scones placed close together on the baking tray will rise higher and more evenly (they are very ‘supportive’ by nature!) than those spaced out. 1-2cm between each works well.
- For soft-crusted scones wrap them in a tea towel while still warm.
Now it’s time to try this wonderful recipe that uses lemonade as it’s secret ingredient. No matter if you are a scone-making novice or old hand I’m sure these will become a favourite!
Lemonade Scone Recipe
Scones are what I whip up if time is short. They are simple, fast and everyone loves them. The secret to the lightness of these scones is the surprising combination of lemonade and cream (instead of milk) – it may seem a little odd but, believe me, it works!
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 15-18 minutes
- 450 g (3 cups) self-raising flour, plus extra, to dust
- Pinch of Salt
- 80 g butter, cubed, softened slightly
- 125ml (½ cup) lemonade, at room temperature
- 185ml (3/4 cup) pouring cream, plus extra to glaze
- Berry jam and whipped cream, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a baking tray with butter and then lightly dust with flour, shaking off any excess.
- Put the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Use your fingertips to rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and the butter is evenly incorporated. Make a well in the centre.
- Combine the cream and lemonade, add to the flour mixture and use a flat-bladed knife to mix with a cutting action until the dough comes together in clumps.
- Use lightly floured hands to bring the dough together – it will be soft, but not sticky. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly and briefly (only about 6 times) to bring it together in a smooth ball.
- Use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough out to about 2cm thick. Using a floured 6 cm round cutter, cut the dough into 9 rounds. Gathering the offcuts and, without over handling, pressing out as before, when necessary. Place on the prepared tray, 1-2cm apart. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the top of each scone with a little extra cream, then dust with a little extra flour.
- Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, until the scones are lightly golden and cooked through; they are ready if they sound hollow when you tap them on the base. Serve warm or at room temperature, split and topped with jam and cream.
These scones are best eaten on the day they are made.
You can stay in-touch with Anneka and all that’s happening at BakeClub by grabbing a copy of their monthly Newsletter; following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or joining one of their fab Bake Classes // Photography: Georgie Esdaile