There is nothing like walking into an Irish kitchen to find a room filled with the smell of freshly baked Scones. There is something so Irish, homie and so comforting about it that no words can describe.
Scones are an integral part of Irish cuisine traditions. Spread across the country, you’ll find them in cafes, tea rooms, hotels, and the houses of lovely Irish grannies.<3
Afternoon tea without Scones is not the same. Going to a cafe to find none left is a disappointment. Not to mention queuing to order one while seeing a single Scone left and the person in front of you buys it. Oh no, the disaster of the day!
Yes, this little piece of quick bread, warm enough to melt the butter, filled with homemade Irish jam, is an authentic Irish delicacy (yeah, we think of it like that). So, that made us wonder, what is the origin of it? Why do we love it so much? Are Scones an Irish invention? When did the first Scone recipe come to life?
But what exactly is a Scone?
Scones are the perfect pastry option for breakfast or tea parties. Made with flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cream, butter, and eggs (depending on the recipe), Scones are slightly sweet. A perfect Scone is usually moist and soft on the inside, crumbly and crispy on the edges, buttery and flaky.
As time passed, people started to be more creative, and today there are a few varieties of Scones: plain (the most traditional), dried fruit like raisins (second most common), and berry Scones.
In Ireland, we usually serve Scones with butter, jam, and whipped cream. And as a must, they taste better when served warm and fresh. So when going to a coffee shop or tea room, you can always ask the waiter to warm it up.
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The origin of Scones
Scones are traditionally Irish, Scottish, and English foods. However, nobody knows which of these countries invented the baked food.
As far as history can trace back, Scones probably originate from Scotland. Yes, the first print reference dates back to 1513 and is from a Scottish poet. Hence, the idea of Scones originates in Scotland.
However, we should remember that things were a bit different back then. For example, we now have blogs, newspapers, and magazines with columns dedicated to food. It makes it easier to document, catalog, and register the origin of things.
Unfortunately, that was not the case years ago, which means earlier mentions of Scones in Ireland or England could be lost and forgotten in old books. With that, we hope to one day claim the Scones is an Irish invention.
The Welsh tradition of baking small round yeast cakes on bakestones and later griddles led to the evolution of Scones. The word Scone, in turn, originates from the early 16th century (originally Scots), perhaps from Middle Dutch schoon(broot), which means fine bread.
In the past, Scones were made with oats, shaped into a large circle, scored into triangles, and griddle-baked over an open fire (later, on a stovetop). With the invention of oven baking, people started cutting the dough and baking small portions individually.
How to make Scones?
A quick search on the internet will lead you to a dozen recipes on how to make Scones. Each person has their own method or secret on how to make the perfect Scone. Although simple to make, getting it right is not always achievable.
As big fans, we’ve been to places that served way too dry in the inside Scones, very doughy and heavy Scones. You don’t want that. A Scone should be light, crumbly at the edges, soft and moist on the inside, buttery and flaky. So here is our recipe for you to try making your own.
Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10 Scones (depending on the size you cut)
- 2 cups flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted cold butter
- 2/3 cup buttermilk (or cream)
Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a baking sheet with nonstick parchment paper or a silicone mat.
While the oven is preheating, overwork the dough. First, mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a large bowl. Then, cut the butter into small pieces and work into the flour mixture using our fingertips. After the butter is fully incorporated, add the milk and continue mixing until a soft, bread-like dough forms.
Put the dough onto a floured surface and pat it into a circle about 1 inch thick. Cut into round shapes with a biscuit cutter, and place them on the baking tray. To give them a glossy look, blanket the tops with a thin brush stroke of milk.
For a golden brown crust and a well-risen center, bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cool it on a wire rack.
Serve with Irish butter, freshly clotted cream, and homemade jam, and enjoy it!
Tip: You can keep Scones for three to four days in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. When serving, pop them back in the oven and serve them warm.
To sum it up!
Scones are a type of quick bread traditional in Irish culture. Plain or fancied-up with dried or fresh fruits, they are the go-to option at tea parties or for a more indulgent breakfast.
Passed from generation to generation, you may find different recipes in cookbooks of many Irish homes. Whether to use buttermilk instead of milk or a unique mixture of flour, every
Irish home baker has its sacred secret to make the perfect scone.
What is your favorite type of Scone? Let us know in the comments below!
Slán go fóill
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