The Letter H is for: Scones and to Heck with the Diet

So I venture into another new field of baking-palooza. Scones. Why? Because it’s International Scone Week, apparently, although my wall calendar doesn’t mention this fact … but then again it doesn’t mention Christmas either … ah heck – where was I? Oh yes, scone week – and because all of my baking buddies seem to be churning out scones, too. Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial made some luscious-looking Lemonade Scones but I have to use sugar-free lemonade because my husband is diabetic. Problematic that; the ingredient used in sugar-free drinks is not suitable for high-heat baking. I discovered this years ago when baking a ham that was basted in Coke.

I found the following recipe for Claridge’s scones, yes, the Claridge Hotel that makes those famous afternoon teas, and thought “Heck. Diet? What diet!” Sometimes you just have to know when to crumble under the pressure of a calorie-packed scone, and that time is now.

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For my husband’s benefit, I cut the sugar content in half, and then further reduced it by using some Splenda with half the caster sugar (see note at bottom). The point being that there’s still sugar in it, as I suspect that this recipe requires it for texture (chewiness) and bulk. After tasting the first scone out of the oven, I think I could even cut the sugar more if flavour is the only concern. I’m not sure however whether this will cause the texture to suffer.

In a word, these things are heavenly and scrumptious! Also packed full with calories and saturated fats, so be warned. These are an occasional treat, even though I’d love to eat every last one that I just baked (snurf-snurf!)

And since it’s just my husband and I who eat these, I cut the entire recipe in half. Happily, I can report that it didn’t muck-up the end product. They are light, crumbly, rich, more-ish and sinful.

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Claridge’s Afternoon Tea Scones

550 g strong flour, or plain white flour
43 g baking powder
100 g caster sugar
100 g cold butter
187 g double cream
187 g full-fat milk
50 g sultanas
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Sieve the flour and baking powder together into a large bowl, and then add the sugar, mixing thoroughly.
Cut the cold butter into small cubes. Rub the cubes into the dry mix, then make well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Add the cream and milk, and mix. The dough is slightly tacky. Remember to remove your rings if you mix by hand, which I do. Add the sultanas and gently mix, so that they are evenly distributed through the dough.
Cover the dough with cling film and allow to rest for 10 minutes in the fridge.

Roll or press flat by hand the dough to about 1.5cm thickness. Dip a circular pastry cutter or drinking glass into some flour and shake off any excess. This should stop the cutter sticking to the scone, but it didn’t work for me. It still stuck. Give the cutter/glass a thump against the side of your hand to release the dough on to the baking sheet. Cut out the scones, and then lightly rework the dough and cut out as many rounds as possible, each time reworking the dough until it’s used up.
Brush the tops with egg using a pastry brush, ensuring that you don’t wash the sides of the scone as this causes them to rise unevenly.  Then place them in the fridge for 20 minutes. Brush them one more time just before baking.
Bake for 10-12 minutes in the centre of the oven.

Recipe provided by Claridge’s London to

Note: I made half the recipe, which produced about 8×4” scones. I reduced the overall sugar content by using 25g caster sugar and 1 tablespoon Splenda granulated. I think it’s possible to reduce the sugar even more without jeopardising flavour (not sure what will happen to texture though). I also might try adding a pinch of salt next time.

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13 Comments Add yours

  1. Joanna says:

    They look just perfect! International Scone week is well underway now – another meme (wink). Dan Lepard always seems to do a scone recipe around now so that’s what probably prompted it. I have a suspicion he has one of those organizer things that gives him seasonal cues or maybe he just looks back at his recipes from previous years. I admire anyone who can keep coming up with recipes and great copy like that, it must take some doing… so these are butter, cream and milk – they look beautifully golden inside – did you say you only made 8? I didn’t know that about not washing the sides, I’ll try and remember, mine often come out wonky 🙂

  2. Misk Cooks says:

    Thank you very much. 😀 They are my first scones, by the way. Weeeee!

    Just made 8. Well, 9. The ninth flipped over on its side like one of those spring toys that goes downstairs under its own propulsion. I think they were called Slinkies. I ate that one before it had a chance to offer up any feeble excuses. As for the colour, it’s not a camera or light trick – they’re that colour. Not sure why. The butter? I used French butter this time rather than Danish.

    Yes, meme … that reminds me, I must set Tom on that log and head him off toward France.

  3. Misk they look beautiful!! Re the lemonade scones, I’ve made them quite successfully in the past with soda water as well (and champagne, for that matter!). 🙂

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      Soda water! Now that’s brilliant news because I know that Peder can cope with that no problem. I often use soda water in my Danish Meatball recipe rather than the suggested milk because it makes them lighter. I’m going to try your recipe with soda water. My Claridge’s scone recipe makes a wonderfully delicious treat (Peder agreed!) but your recipe is better for him. Thanks, Celia!

  4. heidi says:

    Now that I have converted all the measurements to American, I’m going to try these tomorrow. I have a friend who refuses to bake because she thinks that is MY job. Going out to lunch with her and these will be her dessert. I hope they look as good the first time I make them!

    1. Misk Cooks says:

      I hope that they turn out well for you, Heidi. Please let me know, okay? I’m curious how you go about converting the measure from metric to American volume measure. Do you have a tool for doing that, or is it by using a calculator?

      1. heidi says:

        There are several baking blogs that include a conversion table for measurements for Imperial to American. I started to convert the flour and sugar- then it looked like the baking powder was 1/8 cup which was just too much for me to add. So I pulled out my tried and true scone recipe and, Lo and behold! it was almost the same recipe entirely!
        I don’t make the baked scones as often as I make griddle scones, so it has been a while since I had made them. Anyway- they were grand- thanks for the idea!

  5. They look lovely! But really, the first time you’ve made scones and the come out like that? Ooooff, I took about 17 years to make something I was semi happy with and could actually present to people, and they are no where near as lovely looking… (mine don’t have any sugar at all in them either, although they do have a cup of cream 🙂

  6. Misk Cooks says:

    Hi there, and thank you for the lovely compliment. 🙂 I really must credit the recipe, not my baking skills. I’m new at this lark, so I’m following methods and ingredients quite closely on first attempts. I reckon that after achieving a good result, then I can start playing with ingredients.

    I’m also thinking that I should have posted my version of the recipe (with reduced sugar and Splenda). I’ll try doing that later today.

  7. Glenda says:

    Hi Misk
    As everyone one else has said, ‘Lovely scones’ .

    1. Misky says:

      Thanks, Glenda. 😀

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