Light & Tender Irish Scones

Irish Scones

Light and crumbly, fluffy and moist, these traditional Irish Scones are just waiting for a slathering of clotted cream and jam.

Irish Scones

for some helpful tips before you begin, click here. (recommended)

Makes 12 scones.

INGREDIENTS

  • 400 g (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 20 g (5 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 1.5 g (1/4 teaspoon) fine salt
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 71 g (5 tablespoons) cold butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • 240 ml (1 cup) half & half
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) milk, for glazing
  • optional – 1/2 to 1 cup mix-ins like raisins, berries, citrus rind, chocolate chips, etc.

DIRECTIONS

1) Prepare the baking sheets.

– Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Or grease a baking sheet, preferably light-colored.

2) Rub the butter into the dry ingredients.

– Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Briefly whisk to mix.
– Rub the cold butter into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs.

3) Stir in any mix-ins, if using. Then stir in the egg/cream mixture.

– If you are using any mix-ins, toss them into the flour mixture.
– In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, beat the egg and the half & half together until well-combined.
– Stir the egg/half & half mixture into the flour with a wooden spoon until moistened.
– Then use your hands to lightly bring the dough together.

4) Knead the dough just until it comes together, then pat into a round 1-inch thick.

– Turn the dough out onto a smooth surface and knead as briefly as possible, bringing in the loose bits, pushing everything together, and folding the dough over just until it all comes together.
– The dough will start out a bit shaggy and may seem dry, but should come together after a few turns of bringing in the loose dough, pushing it all together, and folding over – maybe around 15 to 20 turns or so.

  • You can use a pastry scraper to lift and fold the shaggy mixture until it comes together.

– Pat or gently roll the dough into a 1-inch thick round with a rolling pin.

5) Rest and refrigerate the dough.

– Wrap the round with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight.

6) Preheat the oven:

– When ready to bake the scones, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
– Place the oven racks in the middle position.

7) Cut out the Irish scones:

– While the oven is preheating, use a 2 1/2-inch biscuit or scone cutter to cut out the scones. (Do not twist the cutter. Just press and lift. Twisting can sometimes ruin the scone’s rise.)
– Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet at least 1 1/2 inches apart. 

8) Chill the Irish scones while waiting for the oven to preheat.

– Let the scones rest in the refrigerator for a short time, about 5 minutes, or until the oven is done preheating, whichever is longest. 

9) Glaze the unbaked Irish scones.

– Using fingers, glaze the tops of the scones lightly with the milk, being careful not to let any excess milk run down the sides of the scones. (That will interfere with the scone’s rise.)

10) Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

– Place the scones in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the edges are starting to look crisp.
– Do not overbake.

11) Serve Irish scones warm.

– Move the Irish scones to a cooling rack and serve with clotted cream or Irish butter and jam. They are best when warm!

Storing and re-heating:

– Irish Scones are at their best the day they are made. Even better when they are still warm.
– They can be stored in an airtight container for a few days and then refrigerated for a couple more.
– To reheat them, place them in a 300°F (148°C) oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

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Irish Scones

ABOUT THIS RECIPE

If you have never had Irish Scones, they are something like American southern biscuits, a.k.a. baking powder biscuits, but a little sweeter, a little more crumbly. When you split open an Irish Scone, it should be tender and moist, but still have enough structure for jams, curds or clotted cream.

This is not an American scone.

American scones are known for being rich in butter and sugar, heavier than British scones, and bigger. British scones are known for being lofty, light, and not very sweet at all because they are meant to be enjoyed with dollops of clotted cream and jam.

These scones have a crumbly and crisp exterior, but are also fluffy, soft and moist inside, especially when they are still warm. They are only slightly sweet, but you can always lessen the sugar even more, if you like.

tips:

Here are 6 helpful tips:

1) Colder ingredients help make taller, more tender scones.

Butter: Cold or slightly softened butter is easiest to rub into the flour mixture. Cut into cubes or grate, if the butter is frozen. But don’t melt the butter. The mixture will be greasy.

Egg and half & half: Keep the egg and half & half in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

2) Mix-ins – the choice is yours.

– If you are opting for mix-ins, use whatever you like. Just keep in mind, the heavier, chunkier or wetter the mix-ins, the less light and fluffy the scone will be. So dry mix-ins like raisins, dried cranberries, mini-chocolate chips, etc. work best because they are small and won’t weigh the scones down.

3) Handle the dough briefly and lightly for a tender scone.

Irish Scones require a tender touch. It is important to handle the dough quickly and lightly. The less you handle the dough, the more tender your scones will be.

cooling on a rack

4) Misshapen scones:

– For some of us, there will be misshapen scones. Accept it. They will still be delicious. Here some tips that may help for next time:

  • Make sure the butter is evenly rubbed into the flour and the texture is that of bread crumbs or meal.
  • Do not twist the biscuit or scone cutter. Just press and lift.
  • When glazing the scones with milk, do not let any milk drip down the sides of the scone.

5) Do not overbake.

– The given baking time in any recipe is just a reference. Ovens vary. Once you can smell the scones from the oven, it is a good idea to start looking in on them. When the scones are golden brown on top and starting to look crisp at the edges, they are done.

  • If your scones look like they are browning too fast on top, tent with foil during the last minutes.
  • If the scones look like they are browning too much on the bottom, place another baking sheet under the scones to insulate.

6) Scones freeze well, before or after baking.

– Freeze unbaked scones on a baking sheet for about an hour, until frozen solid. Then place in a freezer bag. Freeze up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and bake as usual. They can even be baked from frozen. Just thaw on the counter while the oven is pre-heating.

– Already baked scones can be frozen up to 3 months. Then thaw and re-heat in a 300°F (148°C) for 5 to 10 minutes.

Irish Scones

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