The most important thing to remember when making scones is to handle the dough with the lightest touch. Never ever knead the dough or the scones will be tough.
Chefs dip the scone cutter in some flour before stamping out each scone. It’s a handy trick when the moist scone dough might otherwise get stuck inside the cutter.
Basting scones with egg yolk gives a glistening finish (but you can leave them bare or use milk or an egg/milk glaze). And yes, scones do freeze. Once defrosted, give them a short blast in the oven to soften them up. Delicious served with freshly whipped cream (or butter) and jam.
For sweeter scones, add four tablespoons of sugar to the dry mixture, or a handful of sultanas or frozen raspberries.
Preheat oven to 220 degrees (fan). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or dust well with flour).
In a large mixing bowl, sieve together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt).
Rub the butter in by hand until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (I prefer to use a food processor for this step).
Mix together the egg and milk.
Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture, then pour in three-quarters of the liquid, lightly stirring in both directions to combine. Add the remaining liquid, using it to draw in any excess flour from the sides of the bowl (avoid overmixing).
Flour your hands and tip the soft, raggy dough on to a very well-floured work surface. Shape and gently pat the dough to an even 2cm thickness.
Use a 7cm round scone cutter to stamp out scones, transfer them to the lined baking sheet and brush the tops with egg yolk to glaze.
Bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven, first at 220 degrees for eight to 10 minutes (for large scones) until they rise upwards, without burning, then immediately reduce the heat to 160 degrees for another 10 minutes to bake fully.
Once baked, remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Some people will also be interested in a recipe for Irish Brown Soda Scones. Here is my recipe from The Irish Times.