Classic Cream Scones
Scones are the quintessential Tea Party food, and a good basic scone is a great way to start your tea party. These Classic Cream Scones are made with currants which impart the perfect amount of sweetness to these buttery scones. Scones are not limited to tea parties; they also make a great breakfast!
My first time having Afternoon Tea was at the Drake Palm Court in Chicago when I was a graduate student. A group of us from our department decided to go together around Christmastime. We had tea and scones, sandwiches and desserts, all while listening to a live harpist perform. It was so beautifully decorated and such a fun, special thing to do. Side note – I actually bought one of favorite purchases of all time in the gift shop that day – my Christmas Memories Book. It’s one of my favorite things to give to newlyweds as they start their married journey!
Years later when I joined Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), we had an annual meeting called Tea and Testimony, where we had a fancy tea party at our meeting. There were scones and sandwiches and desserts, all the elements of Afternoon Tea at the Drake.
As I mentioned in my Tea Party Ideas for Kids post, it was from one of my MOPS friends that I learned about the concept of throwing tea parties for your kids. She also alerted me to this mini scone pan. I loved the idea of mini scones for kids’ tea parties because the small size is perfect for kids, especially when you’re serving several other desserts.
For my first Kids’ Tea Party, I wanted to make something that just screamed Tea Party, like these Classic Cream Scones. The recipe is from my beloved America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook. When I choose a recipe from this book, I know it’s going to be good, and that’s exactly what I wanted.
These scones are made with dried currants. Dried currants are tiny and easy to incorporate into a scone dough. You could substitute raisins or, for a plainer scone, leave them out altogether. I might suggest chopping the raisins a bit to make the pieces a similar size to currants. I like how the sweetness of the dried fruit plays against the buttery, biscuit-like texture of the scone.
These scones are not limited to tea parties. They make a great breakfast too!
Gluten Free Option
I have not tried this with these scones myself yet, but I have had great success substituting Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour for all purpose in a number of baked good recipes.
- mini scone pan or baking sheet
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (10 ounces)
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 5 tbsp butter (chilled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes)
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1 cup heavy cream
For the glaze (optional):
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Put flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse about 6 times to mix.
- Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with a few slightly larger clumps of butter, about 12 pulses more.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the currants. Stir in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula for about 30 seconds until dough forms.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand just until the dough comes together into a sticky ball, about 5 to 10 seconds.
If making regular sized scones:
- Flatten the dough into a disc and cut into 8 even wedges. Place the dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. It can be baked immediately or covered in plastic wrap and be refrigerated for up to 2 hours. Proceed to glaze step.
If using mini scone pan:
- Spray with cooking spray containing flour (or grease with shortening and dust with flour per pan instructions). Press dough evenly into the wells of the pan.
- To add glaze, brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake until the scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes for regular sized scones, a bit less for mini scones. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.
- Serve scones warm or at room temperature.