You most probably have enjoyed a scone during a meal or as a snack in your life. You also have likely eaten more than one scone variety. But, have you ever wondered about its origin and how the scone got its name?
Scones are pastries made from wheat or oatmeal with baking powder as the raising agent before baking on sheet pans and are often served at breakfast or for tea. The key ingredients for making scones include flour, granulated sugar, fruits, nuts, and baking powder.
The sections below answer various questions about scones, including a brief history and fun facts. Keep reading if you’re interested in finding out the best time to eat a scone and the common types of scones.
How Do Scones Differ From Other Pastries?
Scones differ from other pastries in that they are shaped differently and contain baking powder as a leavening agent. Additionally, scones do not have yeast, an essential ingredient in bread and other baked goods.
Scones look a lot like biscuits and are also served as breakfast pastries, snacks, and meal accompaniments. While this feature is a lot like other breakfast pastries, they differ in that they are richer and crumblier than biscuits, often flakier and airier.
They also do not use the yeast used to raise baked bread. Instead, they use baking soda or baking powder as a raising agent.
You should also note that scones differ between themselves too. For instance, British scones should be served with jam, clotted cream, and butter. However, American scones usually don’t need butter toppings because they contain enough butter. Of course, you can put butter on top of them if you like. (We don’t judge here!)
Where Did Scones Originate?
Scones originated from Scotland in the 1500s as a quick bread baked using wheat or oats before being baked on a griddle. The first printed reference of scones traceable back to a 1513 Scottish poet.
Scones are a common pastry enjoyed by many people and cultures globally. However, the birthplace of scones traces back to Scotland in the 1500s, where it originated as a quick bread baked from wheat or oats.
Fun fact: Quick bread is baked using leavening agents instead of yeast and thus requires lesser proofing and rising time.
The inventor of the scone recipe remains unknown despite knowing its place of origin. There are multiple stories detailing how scones got their name. The most common indicates that the name originated from the Stone of destiny, which Scottish Kings sat on during coronation.
However, the most logical origin suggests that scones got their name from Schootbrot, which is a Dutch word for fine, white bread.
Scones’ popularity is attributed to the Duchess of Bedford, who requested tea and scones every day as an afternoon snack until it became routine. Scones became a popular tea snack among the elite families and gradually trickled down to the common folk.
Fun Facts About Scones
There are multiple fun facts that make scones interesting that you probably have never thought about. Here are a few:
- Originally, scones were much larger and shaped differently than they are today.
- Historical scones were made from oatmeal and wheat into large disc-like cakes, unlike today’s, which are much smaller and look like lumps.
- You can make scones in various shapes which you prefer. For instance, American scones are often shaped like triangles and wedges compared to British scones. The latter are usually round, tall, and fluffier.
- The term was first used in 1513, according to the Oxford dictionary.
- Historically, the appropriate time for scones was with the 4:00 PM tea. People today, however, eat scones at various times of the day, including as a breakfast pastry or as a snack.
- The pronunciation of “scones” usually varies significantly depending on where you were raised. This has sparked a significant debate about the correct pronunciation of the word, which drew the Queen’s contribution, with some pronouncing it as “s-kon” while others “s-kone.”
- The origin of scones is closely related to the ancient Welsh tradition of baking small, round yeast cakes on small stones.
Best Time To Enjoy Scones
Just as there exists a debate about the correct pronunciation of “scones,” so does the debate on the right way to eat them. So, is there a right way or time to eat scones?
Historically, at least according to the English and the Duchess of Bedford’s snacking routine, the appropriate time for scones was with the afternoon tea at precisely 4:00 PM.
Today, people eat scones with breakfast, the 10 AM tea, as snacks at any time, and as accompaniments during meals. So, while “scone purists” may feel otherwise, there is no definite time for eating scones.
You can have them any time you please.
Common Varieties of Scones
Over the years, people worldwide have developed a variety of scone recipes. There are numerous scone varieties made from various ingredients to achieve different flavors.
Here are a few examples of common varieties of scones:
- Butter scones: Butter scones are richer in flavor than most scones, have a bread-like texture, and are ideal at any time of the day.
- Scottish scones: Scottish scones are made using rolled oats to resemble the historical scones from 1513.
- Tattie scones: Tattie scones are soft scones primarily made from mashed potatoes, plain flour, and butter.
- English scones: English scones contain less butter and sugar and are enriched using milk.
- American scones: American scones contain more sugar and butter than English scones, are denser, and are triangle or wedge-shaped.
These are just a few examples of the many types of scones that exist with others, including fruited scones, lemon scones, blueberry, and chocolate chip scones.
Scones are a sweet and light pastry option making them ideal for numerous occasions, including breakfast with the family, brunch during a business meeting, or as a snack.
They are also easy to make and have simple recipes which allow you to experiment with new and different baking ideas for exciting flavors. You should consider making scones a regular pastry option on your meal timetable for a sweet and healthy breakfast, snack, or accompaniment option.