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Baked Britishism: “Lemonade” Scones

Lemonade Scones

When I first moved to the UK, I went through something of an adjustment period. Understandable for anyone in a new country, but what affected me probably isn’t what you’d expect. It wasn’t the culture, the food, or the people that threw me, it was the language. 

I know, you’d think moving from one English-speaking place to another would be the least of my problems, but those funny little Britishisms had a way of plaguing me. I was forever using “line” when I meant “queue”, “garbage” when I meant “rubbish”, and drawing blank stares when asking where the “washroom” was (they simply say “toilet” here). Oh, and don’t get me started on the hilarity I routinely caused at work by referring to “trousers” as “pants” (it was, after all, a fashion company, so this wasn’t as infrequent as you’d think).  

The only word that ever caused any real consternation, however, was “lemonade”. To me, lemonade is a cloudy, refreshing, old-fashioned summer drink; to the British, it’s Sprite. Given that I’ve never really liked soft drinks (they’re too sweet, and the bubbles hurt my nose), it was inevitably disappointing to be presented with a glass of violently fizzing sugar when I’d been looking forward to my drink of choice. I eventually cottoned on, and began to order lemonade only if prefaced by “old-fashioned” or “homemade” on the menu. Still, those few mistakes have made me slightly bitter toward this British lemonade pretender. 

It’s probably surprising then, that I made this recipe at all. Found while browsing one of my favourite design blogs, Design*Sponge (an anomaly in itself; normally my interests don’t mix as well), these scones only contain three ingredients: flour, cream, and lemonade. The sceptic in me immediately thought “Yeah right, we’ll see about this”, while the experiment-loving geek thought “Ooh, cool!”, and together, they conspired that I make these scones.

Lemonade Scones

I did my best not to tamper with the recipe too much, adding only a pinch of salt for balance and some fresh lemon zest to amp the flavour. I assumed that the lemonade would make these very sweet, but not so. They’re quite neutral in flavour, so if you prefer a sweeter scone, you might want to add some sugar. 

In terms of texture, these scones aren’t really my thing. While I like mine rich, crumbly and buttery, these are light and bread-like. Not necessarily a bad thing; this type of scone goes wonderfully with jam and clotted cream, as it “holds” toppings well. The lack of butter also makes these absurdly easy to make, so if I’m ever called upon to make scones for a Cream Tea en masse, this recipe is where I’ll turn.

I served these with some lemon honey (bought during last summer’s holiday in Cinque Terre), which set off the flavour perfectly. Not the best scones I’ve ever tasted, but definitely the first time I’ve enjoyed this so-called British “lemonade”. 

Lemonade Scones

  • “Lemonade” Scones
  • adapted from Chris Chun’s Lemonade Scones
  • makes 10 2″ scones
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
    pinch of salt
    zest of one lemon
    1/2 cup heavy or double cream
    1/2 cup fizzy lemonade (Sprite, 7Up or similar)
    cream or milk (for tops) 
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. 

    2. Sift the flour into a large bowl and mix in the salt and lemon zest. In a jug or smaller bowl, mix the cream and lemonade.

    3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix quickly and lightly with a fork or dough whisk, until just combined.

    4. Turn out onto a generously floured surface (this is quite a wet dough) and knead once or twice, until the mixture comes together. Press dough down to a thickness of 3/4″, and cut out rounds with a pastry cutter. 

    5. Place the scones on the baking parchment and brush tops with a little more cream (or milk). Bake for 18-25 minutes, until tops are lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving.

7 comments

  1. Sprite is ‘merican, R. Whites is British! Your scones look lovely all the same… or should I say scones?

  2. rose says:

    Beautifully done! One of my good friends came back from living in the UK for 5 years and we struggled to communicate! Lovely scones :)

  3. Hilary says:

    What a crazy recipe! Neat, though. Do you know, I avoid ordering lemonade (I mean American lemonade) at all in restaurants because I don’t have a clue what to call it and don’t want to go through the confusing conversation that will ensue… so I should ask for old fashioned?

    ps Somewhat on topic, are you currently watching the American girl on Location, Location, Location? I am finding her quite hilarious!

  4. sarah says:

    Hi Ele. I’ve been reading for a couple of months now. I can’t remember how I found your sites but I have been so enjoying them. I’m also a Canadian living in London (now a proud dual citizen). For my citizenship ceremony party I made scones and served them with clotted cream and jam–my favourite British food. I love tea and scones! I might try your lemonade scones recipe. Did the lemon zest make it lemony enough? Or might I substitute a few tablespoons of fresh lemon juice for the lemonade (since I’m zesting anyway)?
    Take care, Sarah.

  5. Ele says:

    Haha, “Secret Lemonade Drinker”! You’re right, and I should know better! I did, after all, use R. Whites to make these scones. I love your links, they’re so funny! (Everyone else, I suggest clicking on the first one to see a funny 80′s TV advert.)

    Rose- It can be a challenge! My friends back home think I’ve picked up some funny words, but my accent has remained 100% unchanged. My sister and I both retain our Canadian twang ;)

    Hil- If it’s listed with the other soft drinks (or is the same price as them), I assume it’s the fizzy kind and don’t bother. But, if it’s elsewhere on the menu, is more expensive, or has “homemade”, “cloudy” or “old-fashioned” in the name, I’ll take a chance and order it.

    And yes, I was watching Location last night! That girl was driving me crazy, not so much for her unreal expectations, as for her questionable taste in property :)

    Sarah- That is so nice to hear, thank you! I also LOVE a cream tea, it’s my favourite British tradition. If I’m on holiday, I can happily have one every single day (and have, on occasion)!

    Hmm, the lemon zest did make these more lemony, but I considered adding some lemon juice, too. In the end I opted not to because I was worried about the cream curdling, but it maybe it wouldn’t be too much of an issue, with the thick double cream and only a few teaspoons of lemon juice? If you try it, let me know how it goes!

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