Published March 1, 1994.
Traditional scones are fluffy--not hard and dense--and are worked quickly and lightly to achieve a delicate texture.
The clunky mounds of oven-baked sweetened dough called "rock cakes" by the English are often called scones in American restaurants and coffee shops. But we didn't want to make rock cakes; we wanted to figure out how to make a traditional scone, which should be tender, light, and delicate. Unlike rock cakes, in which dough is dropped from a spoon onto a baking sheet, traditional scones are quickly rolled or patted out and cut into rounds or wedges.
A true scone, the quintessential tea cake of the British Isles, which is essentially a fluffy biscuit, something that may come as a surprise to some Americans.
The secret to making a good scone is to work the dough quickly and lightly and to then bake it immediately in a preheated oven. Speed is of the essence to keep the dough from becoming tough; it is also important when using homemade single-acting baking powder for leavener, as this recipe does, because you want the powder to do its work in the oven, not before baking. The whole process shouldn't take more than 20 minutes, from mixing the ingredients together to pulling the finished scones out of the oven.list of recipes