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March 18, 2013

Making the Perfect Scone

When I was a child my mother made a lot of scones. Since we lived in the country, it wasn’t easy to run out to buy a loaf of bread. Whenever we ran out of bread, mostly during the weekends when we were eating her out of house and home, she’d whip up a batch of scones. I remember cheese scones, warm from the oven, slathered with butter and date or sultana scones heaped with jam and whipped cream. My mum made excellent scones.

In the past I’ve tried making scones, with mixed results. Although the ingredients are basic, they’re tricky to make.

Here are some tips I’ve discovered along the way:

1. Work quickly and don’t over handle your scone dough.

2. Pre-heat the oven. Scones should be cooked in a super hot oven.

3. Most scone recipes tell you to rub in the butter. I find it easier and quicker to grate the butter into the dry ingredients.

4. The dough should be on the moist side rather than dry.

5. New Zealand cook, Alison Holst suggests that if you have problems with your scones, don’t make plain ones where every imperfection is evident. Try pinwheel scones or twist-type scones.

Cranberry Scones

Cranberry Scones


3 cups plain flour

4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

50g butter/ .44 stick butter

1 + 1/2 cups of milk


Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Grate in the butter. Add the milk and mix quickly without overmixing (most important!). Place on a floured board and roll lightly until about 15mm (3/4 inch) thick. Cut into squares or use a cutter to cut out rounds.

Bake in a hot oven pre-heated to 230C (450F) for 10 minutes.

Makes around 16 scones

Cranberry Scones

Shelley’s Notes

1. I added cranberries to my scones – around 1/2 cup. You can add sultanas, chopped dates or add cheese to make savory scones.

2. I cut my scones a little bigger and ended up with 14.

3. I served my scones with cherry jam and thick Greek yoghurt I’d made. Normally, I’d go for jam and whipped cream.

4. If you have trouble with scones try this recipe-Date and Orange scones-with cream and Sprite. It’s pretty fail proof.

Cranberry Scones

Are you a scone fan? Is there a recipe from your childhood that you like to make?


  1. Maria Zannini

    I love anything with cranberries in it. Wish I had someone here to make me some. I’m sick and want to be babied. :o)

    • Mary Kirkland

      Hope you feel better soon, Maria.

      • Shelley Munro


        Sorry to hear you’re not well. Get better soon! Cranberries cure many ills IMHO

        • Shelley Munro

          Maria, I still make the biscuit/cookie recipe you sent me. Love the combination of orange and cranberries.

  2. Beth Kery

    Love this. I have saved the post Shelley. I am a big scone lover, but have never made them. Will give it a try, thanks to your blog!

    Warm Regards,


    • Shelley Munro

      Beth, make sure you check out the recipe for the Date and orange scones. It’s ultra easy and has good results. If you don’t like dates replace them with something you do like. If you prefer savory scones, replace the lemonade/sprite with plain soda water. Works a treat :)

      Happy scone making!

  3. Mary Kirkland

    I tried making scones last year and they came out hard..O.o. Not sure what I did wrong probably over handled the dough.

    So I went back to making my bread machine cinnamon rolls. I just put all the ingredients in the bread machine, let it mix and and raise it. Then I take it out roll, fill, cut, raise and bake. Always comes out really good.

    • Shelley Munro

      Yep, overhandling the dough will do that. When I was a child, visiting a friend’s place for the weekend, I heard the story about her father who once made a batch of scones. They were so hard, he ended up nailing them to the dog kennels as handles for the doors. Evidently, they lasted for years. Not sure how much was truth and how much was fiction. I was an impressed eight-year-old.

      • Mary Kirkland

        That’s too funny.

  4. Gerri Bowen

    These look so good, Shelley.

    • Shelley Munro

      They tasted good too!

  5. Sandra Cox

    Oh yum, you’re making me hungry.