When it comes to baking scones, there are a variety of recipes available to help you achieve the perfect scone. American scones are usually triangular, while English scones are round. So, could either one be doing it wrong?
Scones are supposed to be either triangle or round. Historically, they were made by the Scottish into large, round, flat shapes. They would afterward cut the scones into serving-sized triangles. Since then, much has changed in how scones are made, including the form and ingredients.
This article will tell you more about scones and how the Scots invented them. I’ll also compare English scones and their American counterparts and offer you some tips for making the perfect scones. So, let’s get into it!.
How Traditional Scottish Scones Were Made
Although there is no record of exactly where scones came from, most historians believe that scones were invented in Scotland.
Unlike today’s scones made from wheat flour, these scones consisted of oats. They would be baked on a griddle over an open flame and would often be flat (because they were unleavened). Each scone would be made as large as a medium-sized plate and then cut into six triangular pieces to make them easier to serve.
So, the original scone was more like an oatmeal pancake than today’s scones.
Scones are now made worldwide, and each group of people has adopted their unique techniques for making them. Let us explore how scones from different parts of the world look.
English Scones vs. American Scones
English scones are usually round, light, fluffy, and flaky. They are not as sweet as American scones and include less butter. You may also notice raisins, cheese, or dates in these types of scones.
These scones are similar to American biscuits, and one article even suggests that American biscuits are a variation of English scones. So, expect a circular, flaky, biscuit-like pastry when you bite into an English scone. You can find a helpful recipe for English scones here.
On the other hand, American scones are triangular, crumbly, and sweet. The triangular shape comes from folding a sheet of dough to incorporate layers.
They often include eggs and more butter than the English scones. These scones are very similar to English rock cakes, and they come in flavors such as pumpkin, chocolate, berry, and cinnamon. These scones are much more like cakes than biscuits, and most people serve them like donuts or biscotti with coffee or tea for breakfast or a snack.
One key difference between these two scones is how people serve them. While English scones are served with jam and butter (meant to be put in the scone), American scones are served plain or glazed. That explains why English scones are simple and unsweetened while the latter are sweet.
So, English scones are round, while American scones are triangular. However, there are plenty of other features that differentiate these scones.
How the Rest of the World Makes Scones
As I mentioned before, different countries have adopted their unique styles of making scones. From round, triangular, diamond, and even hexagonally shaped scones, let’s explore the other varieties of scones that you can find from around the world:
- South Africa (Amasi Scones). These scones are similar to American scones in how people prepare them. However, they are round in shape, similar to the English scones.
- New Zealand-Style Scones. Like the English scones, these are usually round and plain and have a similar preparation method to English scones.
- Australian Scones. These are also made in the traditional English way, and they are round in shape.
- Italian Scones. These can either be round or diamond in shape. One thing that makes these cones unique is that people often cook them with herbs and spices such as basil. Sun-dried tomatoes are also a common ingredient.
- Russian Scones (Sockniki). Russian scones are round-shaped scones with risotto filling. These are truly unique and well worth trying!
- Egyptian Scones. These are round scones that feature elements from both American and English scones in terms of making them. They also feature native ingredients such as dates and tahini cream. You can find a helpful recipe here.
- Kenyan Scones. These are round, soft, fluffy, and sometimes sweet. They have a texture that is very similar to that of bread.
An interesting fact to note is that these different countries also have different ways of pronouncing this pastry. Here is a video explaining how people pronounce it:
Tips for Achieving the Perfect Scone
Baking is both a science and an art, and scones are no exception. Although there are different ways to make scones, there are also standard do’s and don’ts to help you achieve the best results.
Here are some suggestions to help you improve your scones:
- Do not overmix the batter. Since you want your scone to fall apart easily, ensure that you only mix once the ingredients are combined. Those stubborn lumps are a good thing when baking scones.
- Use cold butter. This step will create pockets of butter in the dough, which will result in a crumbly and easy to split scone.
- Use leavening agents. Baking powder is key to getting your scones to rise and become light and fluffy.
- Take some time to chill the dough after baking. This step helps you get that flaky and tender texture you are looking for in a scone.
- Serve them fresh. Resist the urge to bake and leave for later. Scones are best to eat when fresh, so ensure that you take them out of the oven close to serving time.
Although the first scones were made round and triangular, there is no wrong shape for scones. They can be round, diamond, triangle, hexagon, or any other shape you can make them in.
As scones have become more popular worldwide, many countries have added unique ingredients and cooking methods to the recipes, making their scones stand out.
Whichever scones you choose to make, keep in mind the do’s and don’ts to ensure that you always get the best outcome.