Traditional Afternoon Tea Scones

A favorite recipe of Pamela Foster, a culinary historian fascinated by the post Edwardian period of Downton Abbey.
 
Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. frozen grated butter
½ cup cold milk

Makes 8 2-inch scones

Method

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Sift the dry ingredients three times into a large bowl. Rub the frozen grated butter into the dry ingredients until it feels like sand. Add enough milk just until you get sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top. Knead very gently once, then fold and turn the kneaded dough 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 6" x 12", then fold into thirds.

Using a well-floured 2" biscuit cutter, make 6 x 2" rounds. You can get 2 more scones from the scraps but they won't be as tender. Alternatively, use a well-floured sharp knife to form wedges.

You can either brush the top of the scones with milk or lightly flour.

Bake on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes until the scones are lightly colored on the tops. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process.

Traditionally served with clotted cream and preserves, try a healthier option of non-fat plain Greek yogurt with your favorite preserves.
 
Variations

Now that you have the basics you can let your imagination flow with variations. Here are some to get you going.

PLAIN

Buttermilk -- replace the milk with buttermilk, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, increase the fat to 4 tbsp.

Cream -- replace milk with cream; add ¼ tsp. of baking soda to the dry ingredients and glaze with cream.

Whole wheat -- replace half of the plain flour with whole-wheat flour.

SWEET 

Pumpkin -- add 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. baking soda to dry ingredients, add 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, adding only enough milk to make sticky dough.

Chocolate -- add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients and add 1/4 plain yogurt to the wet.

Glazed -- lightly brush preserves on scones before baking to create a sweet glaze.

Dried Fruit -- add ¼ cup dried fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currents, cranberries, cherries, etc.) and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.

Berries -- add 1/4 cup of fresh or frozen fruit, finely chopped.

Whole wheat and fruit -- replace half of the plain flour with whole-wheat flour and add 1/4 cup chopped fruit.

SAVORY

Cheese and Chive -- add ½ teaspoon tsp. cayenne, 1/4 -1/2 cup grated cheese and 2 tbsp. of fresh herbs.

Herb -- include 3 tablespoons of finely chopped herbs (such as parsley, dill, chives, etc.) to the dry ingredients.