2 to 8 tablespoons butter (to taste; the more, the richer)
4 tablespoons sugar (adjust to taste)
1 cup buttermilk (or sour milk or yogurt)Preheat your oven to 500°F.
In a large mixing bowl, blend the dry ingredients together thoroughly. With a pastry blender, two knives, or, most easily, your fingertips, cut or rub in the butter until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
Take about 20 seconds to stir in the liquid. The dough will be rough and shaggy but that's the way it should look. Turn it out onto a well-floured board. Flour your hands and the surface of the dough well. Knead it very gently about 10 times, just enough
For small, tea-time scones, cut the dough in half and press or roll each gently with a well floured rolling pin into a circle about 6" x 1/2".
You can tidy up the edges with the palms of your hands if you want, but do it gently. Half the charm of scones is their "shagginess."
Cut each circle into 6 wedge-shaped pieces with the edge of a bench or bowl scraper (or spatula), pressing down firmly without sawing. You'll find it easier if you dip your cutter in flour after each cut. Make sure you press it into the dough quickly, wit
Using the scraper or spatula as a "shovel," transfer each piece gently to a flour-sprinkled baking sheet (a pizza pan is wonderful for this), leaving a half inch or so between them. Put them in the oven, turn the temperature down to 450°F and bake for abo
A traditional British scone contains an added cup of currants or raisins, either purple or gold. An American counterpart might be 1 cup of blueberries, fresh and wild or dried, cranberries, fresh or dried, chopped apple or peaches. Mix with the dry ingred
To use alone or to vary the flavor of a fruit scone, you can add up to a tablespoon of spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves or a combination) to the dry ingredients.
A cup of halved or chopped pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds, either alone or with fruit, add great flavor and texture. So will sunflower or pumpkin seeds or pine nuts or pistachios. Add these as you would the fruit.
Add a teaspoon of grated lemon or orange peel to your dry ingredients. This can be done alone or to enhance a fruit scone. If you want the flavor of lemon or orange but not the grated knuckles, use our Baker's Catalogue orange oil or lemon oil.
A cup of grated cheese, such as Cheddar or Parmesan, can be added to the dry ingredients after you rub in the butter. A teaspoon of dry mustard blended with the dry ingredients, or a prepared mustard beaten into the liquid, adds to and intensifies the fla
Two teaspoons of dry or a tablespoon of fresh herbs alone or in combination with cheese makes a wonderful variation as well as a great topping for a meat pie. When you make this variety, use just a teaspoon of sugar.
Add 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped ham, hard sausage, or crumbled bacon to your dry ingredients as you would fruit or nuts. You can even put together a whole meal combination. Try bacon, cheese and chopped apple. Again, just a little sugar will enhance the flavo
Perhaps the most unlikely variation that has emerged during the current fascination with scones is the addition of chocolate chips. This will seem a travesty to traditionalists, but if you are tempted by this idea, use 1/2 cup sugar with the dry ingredien