English Milk Scones

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Scones, the quintessential tea cake of the British Isles, are delicate, fluffy biscuits, which may come as a surprise to Americans - the clunky mounds of oven-baked sweetened dough called rock cakes by the English are often called scones in American restaurants and coffee shops.  Unlike rock cakes, in which dough is dropped from a spoon onto a baking sheet, traditional scones are quickly rolled or patted out and cut into rounds or wedges.
Dry ingredients
2 cups flour, white, all-purpose
1 tspn cream of tartar
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn salt
Wet ingredients
4 Tbs butter, unsalted, chilled, cut into 1/2" pieces
3/4 cup milk
Some butter
Some jam or jelly
1. Adjust oven rack to top-middle position and preheat to 450F
2. Grease baking sheet
3. Whisk dry ingredients together in large bowl
4. Cut butter into mixture until mixture resembles course meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps
5. Make a well in the center of mixture and pour in milk.  Working quickly, blend ingredients together with a rubber spatula until just mixed
6. Quickly roll dough on a floured surface to 1/2" thick
7. Stamp out round, about 3" in diameter biscuits, and put on baking sheet.  Recombine remaining dough, as lightly as possible, and continue process till all dough is in rounds on the baking sheet.
8. Bake until very lightly browned, about 10 minutes or less, being sure to check often so they don't get overdone.
9. Immediately remove from baking sheet and serve with butter and jam or jelly.
Servings: Makes about 9 scones, about enough for 3 people
Origin:  Modified from The Best Recipe cookbook

The line from the children's song "Patty-cake, patty-cake" that demands "make me a cake as fast as you can" must refer to scones.  The secret to making a good scone is to work the dough quickly and lightly and to immediately bake it in a preheated oven.  Speed is of the essence to prevent toughening of the dough.  Other guidelines are to have the dough as wet as you can handle, and when using a scone or biscuit cutter, don't wiggle it - just place it on the dough and push straight down.
Meal   SnackCuisine   UK/Ireland
Dish   BreadCooking Method   Baked
Main Ingredient   Rice/GrainsPrep Time   less than 15 minutes
Cooking Time   less than 15 minutes 
Features   Vegetarian

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