It’s no secret that since lockdown started, we’ve all been flexing our baking muscles. I personally don’t think it’s a bad thing; if these strange times are encouraging everyone to get in the kitchen and cook a bit more, then hopefully we’re all making some good habits and finding new hobbies to keep going when life eventually reaches a new equilibrium. Although if you’re someone who’s been buying flour and eggs by the caseload – like the middle-aged man I saw in my local Tesco last week – stop panic buying right now and leave enough food for other people!
Baking is something I did a lot of as a child, but don’t really get around to it very often now. Whilst I’ve got a bit more time on my hands (and nowhere to go for a good long while!), it seemed like a great idea to get in the kitchen and get cooking.
Now it’s no secret that I love a cream tea, but I often find larger scones are a bit much to get through in one sitting (I think that might be the ultimate first world problem!). Enter the mini scone! The perfect snack solution, and also great for little ones.
450g self-raising flour
2 level tsps baking powder
50g caster or golden caster sugar
100g softened unsalted butter
2 large eggs
Around 100/200ml milk
Preheat your oven to 220C/200C fan, and lightly grease a couple of baking trays.
Put the self-raising flour, baking powder, caster sugar and butter in the bowl of a mixer with a beater attachment and beat together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a mixer to hand, just put the above ingredients in a large bowl and rub in with your fingertips, again until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Crack both eggs into a measuring jug, then top up with milk to make the total liquid 300ml. Add the egg and milk into the flour and beat again (or stir) into a soft, sticky dough. Add this in a little at a time – you might not need all of it to get your dough to the right consistency.
Once combined, scrape the scone dough out onto a floured work surface, and knead lightly (if you want to make any additions, such as dried fruit or chocolate chips, now is the time to add those in). Once kneaded, flour the dough again if needed and roll out using a rolling pin until it’s 2cm thick – I would advice using a ruler to check this, as if you’re anything like me, you’ll think it should be a lot thinner than it is!
Using a 5cm cutter, cut out as many shapes as you can and place them on the prepared baking trays. I’ve found you can re-roll your dough once or twice if you are very light with your dough, but these are likely to look a little less perfect – but they make a great treat for the chef! Brush the tops of all the scones with a splash of extra milk, or any egg and milk you had left in your measuring jug.
Bake for 12–15 minutes, and avoid opening the door as much as possible. I’ve found they rise much more evenly if you cook one tray at a time (otherwise the lower tray just doesn’t rise the same). It also helps to check on the scones after 10 minutes and then at 2 minute intervals as they go from underdone to overdone very quickly! The scones should be well risen and a pale, golden-brown colour.
Once they’re done, remove the scones from the tray and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, you can store them in an airtight tin for a few days, or freeze them for a later date. If you’ve decided to freeze them, simply defrost at room temperature for a few hours and then pop into a hot oven for 10 minutes to warm them through again.
I love to eat scones with lots jam and clotted cream, but whipped cream or butter is also delicious if you can’t get your hands on clotted cream at the moment!
And there you have it. Let me know in the comments below if you’ll be making these, or if you’d like to weigh in on the debate of jam or cream first! Happy baking, stay safe and stay home!