Scones again, naturally

Beautiful scones

A couple of weeks ago, while I was singing and dancing about lemon curd, I may have glibly referenced the terribleness of scones in the United States. I stand by that. In my experience, scones are dense, dry and tasteless. I suspect that people only eat them because they think it makes them seem sophisticated and worldly, and maybe also because muffins are kind of embarrassing to eat in public.

Muffins are awkward.

How. EVER.

I recently tried an Australian scone recipe, expecting very little. Even awful scones, I figured, would be one more thing I could cover in glorious lemon curd. And then the unforeseeable happened, just like Mayhem said it would.

They were amazing.

Scones with lemon curd

They were fluffy inside, a little crisp outside, and satisfying all over. When they first came out of the oven, they were also warm. And when they stopped being warm they didn’t stop being fluffy, crisp and satisfying.

Imagine the ideal buttermilk biscuit. The inner texture of these scones is similar, but with neither the turns-to-glue-in-your-mouth property that characterizes drop biscuits (a quality I happen to love, but didn’t miss) nor the tough breadiness of the rolled-out-and-cut-into-circles biscuits. These scones were, I might venture to say, more perfect than a perfect buttermilk biscuit.

They were easy. And I made them with things I already had in the house. And they didn’t take a lot of time or cleanup. In fact, by the third time I made them, I figured out how to do it with just one mixing bowl, a couple of measuring cups and spoons, and a baking sheet.

That third time? That was the day after I found the recipe. After I tried them once, I made another batch the next morning for breakfast. Then in the evening, I made them again because I had company. And then I was out of cream and I thought, yeah, I should probably hold off on buying more cream for a little while, because I’ve eaten like two dozen scones this week.

I bought more cream the next day. You only live once.

CWA scones

Scones from the Country Women’s Association of Australia

(Adapted for American kitchens from a recipe by Yvonne Dighton)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Prepare a baking sheet with greased parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. Sift or stir together dry ingredients. (Sifting may yield fluffier scones, but if you choose instead to stir, be very thorough.)
  3. With a pastry cutter or butter knives, gradually cut the cream into the dry ingredients, then continue to do this with the milk until the mixture is wet enough to come together as a soft dough. The dough should not be especially sticky. (If it becomes sticky, add more flour, 1 tsp at a time.)
  4. Dust the top of the dough with flour and lift it out of the bowl with your hands, then dust the bowl itself with flour so that you can return the dough to the bowl and there form it into a big flour-coated ball. Do not, under any circumstances, knead.
  5. Scored scone doughTransfer the dough to the baking sheet and form it into a rectangle about 3/4″ thick. Use a knife to score it all the way through into portions. Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining milk.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before breaking the scones apart by hand.


Kristina Ackerman

Kristina Ackerman is a busy freelance web designer, living and DIYing with her fella and their little fella in a cute old house in Atlanta, GA, USA.

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  • Amanda Page

    I’m an Australian living in the US, and I agree 100% with this post! Another way to mix the scone dough together is with a fork, it helps to work against the natural tendency to knead the dough too much. I suspect the issue with many USA scones is twofold: 1) a heavy hand with the dough, and b) putting too many other things in the dough. The best scone is a plain one, which you can then use as a palette to add your toppings. It can be savoury, with chutney and cheese, or sweet, with jam and cream, or anything in between. A lot of the scones made in Australia also start with a self raising flour base, and I’ve found it to make a discernible difference, although the plain flour ones are still pretty good.

    • Holly

      She basically makes her own self-raising flour in this recipe, so that is technically still the base.     I seriously appreciate her doing that since I never buy self-raising flour!

  • Michelle

    I’m an Australian cooking with American stuff too.. thanks for the adaptation :) 

  • I`ve tried this recipe and i`m really impressed, it has a very good taste. My both child tried it and they like it a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Holly

    So, I found a recipe for Lyle’s Golden Syrup scones on the Raspberri blog, then saw her recommendation for the plain CWA scones/and the CWA Scones Take 2, then saw your comment on the Take 2 post that you’d made it with American measurements and thus ended up here at your delightful post!!    Thank you so much for making them and sharing your measurements with the rest of the world!   Love that you did the math on making your own self-rising flour, I always prefer to make my own so I can use whole wheat pastry flour, sea salt, and aluminum-free baking powder.     Cannot WAIT to try them!!

  • Holly

    They turned out FANTASTIC now twice! I used whole wheat pastry flour and they are nice and light (of course not as light as white flour would be, but lots better for you!) and amazing. My husband, daughters, and I had the whole batch for supper. Half topped with homemade sausage gravy and half topped with jams and lemon curd! Delish!

    • Holly, that is so awesome! Aren’t scones the best? Thank you for reporting your success. Totally makes my day.

  • Jodie Morgan

    Dude. Scones are…well…fattening but totally amazing! They’re like a biscuit but so much more civilized. Keep on rockin’ girl and buy more cream!