My favourite breakfast treat is undoubtedly the scone. While some might go in for muffins, some for pancakes and some for waffles, to me there’s nothing better to eat (or bake) first thing in the morning than a crumbly, tender, buttery scone. Actually, I love scones at any time of the day. Sitting down to an English Cream Tea , a decidedly scone-centric activity, is one of my favourite things to do ever. But breakfast scones and tea-time scones, at least in my opinion, are two different animals.
Discussing tea time scones always brings up the inevitable debate of plain vs. fruit. I stand firmly on the side of the former, and like my afternoon scones to be unsullied by raisins or other flavourings. A proper teatime scone is meant to be loaded with jam and clotted cream, and anything else just fights with those flavours. Sitting down to an afternoon tea, I’m always disappointed to find that an establishment favours fruit scones. And I have no qualms about leaving a small pile of picked-out raisins on the side of my plate!
Breakfast scones are another matter. Heartier, heavier and somewhat more exciting, they’ll happily play host to any number of additions. In mine, I like dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, peanut butter, cheese- it’s all good. Well, not all those things together (that wouldn’t be good), but you see where I’m going. With a breakfast scone, more is more.
My other scone-differentiating issue is shaping. For tea time, I like traditional rounds made with a pastry cutter, which somehow seems more refined. For breakfast, though, I favour the humble wedge. Not only is it quicker and easier to make, but it just seems so pleasantly rustic. Perfect for breakfast.
I hadn’t made any scones in a while when a friend tipped me off to this Deborah Madison recipe. It comes from one of my favourite cookbooks, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, so I knew it stood a good chance of being tasty. I was right: the texture of these, fresh from the oven, is divine. The cream makes them wonderfully light and tender, and though I normally prefer a richer, crumblier scone, these made a nice change. The flavour is great, too; the faintest touch of sweetness in the dough is punctuated by the pieces of spicy, sugary candied ginger.
So, if you’re tired of your muffins, pancakes and whathaveyou, why not be British for a morning and try your hand at some breakfast scones? Oh, and one last thing- it’s pronounced “skon”, not “skoan”, no matter what time of day you’re serving them.
Ginger Cream Scones
adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
- 1/3 cup finely chopped candied ginger
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 2 tsp. sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbs. (28g) unsalted butter, cut into 1cm pieces
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup single cream, plus 1 Tbs. for later
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/425°F. Toss the ginger pieces with a small spoonful of flour to coat and stop them from sticking to each other.
- Mix the rest of the flour with the baking powder, ground ginger, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, and set aside.
- In a small jug or bowl, whisk together the egg, 1/4 cup of cream and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the ginger gently.
- Turn out onto a well-floured surface (it is a very sticky dough) and give it 8 to 10 kneads, just enough to bring it together. Pat into a circle about 1″ thick, and cut into 6 wedges. Place wedges on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 1″ away from each other, brush with the remaining cream and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Cool slightly before serving.