A slight sweetness, a touch of a buttery aroma and a bit of a crumble… how would you describe the perfect scone? Every morning before we open The Real Mary King’s Close and The Royal Exchange Coffee House to our guests, our chef prepares a fresh batch of scrumptious scones on site…. which have even been rumoured to be some of the best scones in Edinburgh. They are our top-seller throughout the day even though the historically correct time to have a scone would actually be at 4:00pm on the dot. This would be when Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, looking for a light snack before dinner commenced her afternoon tea in the 19th century. Anna Maria Russell is widely seen as the originator of the renowned British afternoon tea, so this recipe will enable you to follow in her footsteps – or more her chefs’ footsteps. The method we use in our kitchen is adapted from Mary Berry’s famous scone recipe. Accurately following the recipe for preparing these scones is essential, however, keep in mind that using high-quality ingredients can also elevate your baking.
Prepares 8 large/ 16 small scones
450g self-raising flour2 tsp baking powder
100g softened butter, cut into pieces
A dram of milk
1 tsp vanilla flavour
3 tbsp icing sugar
A dram of water
Preheat your oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7 and lightly grease your baking tray with a bit of butter.
Combine together the sugar, flour, and baking powder in a bowl and mix.
Then add the butter and rub it together with your fingertips until the mixture feels like fine breadcrumbs.
Crack eggs into a measuring jug and then add milk until the total liquid is 300ml.
Add the egg and milk mix to the dry ingredients bit by bit. You might not need all of it. Stop adding the wet mixture when the dough in your bowl gets soft and sticky.
Take the dough out of the bowl and lightly knead it on a floured surface.
Roughly roll out the dough to a rectangle/circle about 2cm in thickness.
Use a round cutter or a mug/glass to cut out as many scones as possible (how many depends on the size of cutter)
Brush the tops of the scones with any extra egg and milk mixture that was leftover.
Bake for 12–15 minutes in the oven or until the scones are well risen and have a pale, golden-brown colour.
Leave scones on a wire rack to cool.
Make a paste by adding sip after sip of water to the icing sugar. Stop adding water when the glaze is liquid but not runny. Add a bit of icing to each of the scones and add a candied cherry on top.
Serve by themselves of with strawberry jam and a good helping of clotted cream.
Enjoy the best scones in Edinburgh… but in your own home!