Speckled Scones (Baking fail #45)

No this wasn’t supposed to happen. I didn’t want speckled scones. But speckled scones is what I got. Oh and by the way, if you hail from the States, these are biscuits.

I received a gift – an excellent book called ‘Perfect’, created by a Guardian writer who does an in depth analysis of a classic creation and then decides what the perfect version is. So I thought I’d give it a go. Perfect scones require lard and butter (not just butter) and also you shouldn’t roll the pastry, but rather flatten it by hand.

So, given I followed the instructions for perfect scones, how come my scones weren’t perfect? I will get to that later.


Scones are a tradional tasty morsel in Britain. Served with clotted cream and strawberry jam they form the centre-piece of the classic ‘cream tea’. However, as with everything that has been around for a long time, arguments rage (rage as in no one cares) over several aspects of scone lore.

For example, should the jam go on first, topped with the cream, or vice versa? And is it ‘scone’ as in ‘bomb’ or ‘scone’ as in ‘phone’. Generally speaking southerners choose the former and northerners the latter. I think.

Anyway to make these you’ll need:

  • 350g super-fine white flour
  • 50g cold butter, diced
  • 50g lard, diced
  • 130 ml cold milk
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda*
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar*
  • pinch salt
  • strawberry jam
  • clotted cream

*fascinating fact – baking powder is bicarbonate of soda with cream of tartar already added


Heat the oven to 180 centigrade. First, seive the flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda and the salt into a big bowl.


Add the fat and quickly rub it into the flour with your fingertips (use gloves if you have hot hands; you don’t want the fat to melt). You should end up with superfine breadcrumbs.


Add the milk.


Bring together to form a ball of dough.


Put the dough on a floured board and spread it out with the heel of your hand until it’s about an inch thick.


Use a 7cm cutter to push out the scones (don’t twist the cutter as you push, this inhibits the rising, apparently). Place them on a buttered baking tray and brush with milk.


Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Leave to cool slightly.


So where did I go wrong this time? Well a postmortem analysis revealed that the speckles are the raising agents, which I didn’t knead into the mix properly. Knead? When did I need to do that? I don’t recall kneading scones. Well anyway that is what it is. It might also explain why some of them rose more than others.

Lesson learned – knead your dough correctly people. Mind you they tasted good enough. I’ll take them to work – they eat everything.


Also next time I will brush them with egg, that would have hidden the speckly bits anyway.

14 thoughts on “Speckled Scones (Baking fail #45)

      • I think we call what you made a biscuit & our scones are these triangular (usually although I don’t see any reason for that particular shape) things that are a little harder than a biscuit but still somewhat crumbly if they’re made well. Gosh, the English language! Doesn’t really matter what we call them though as long as they’re good right?

  1. I really am disappointed by your lack of commitment to a position on the jam / cream on top controversy. I am firmly in the cream on top. Your photo shows a totally uncommitted mixture. Shame on you.
    Nice scones btw.

  2. Great post! The scones look great regardless, and I’ve been wondering for a long time about the pronunciation.
    I would recommend not to *knead* the dough, which would melt the butter and lard and develop the gluten (both are not good to get the right texture). The baking soda, cream of tartar and salt should be *stirred* into the flour before (!) adding the butter and lard. That way they will be evenly distributed instead of sticking to the pieces of butter or lard. A whisk is a great tool for this stirring bit.

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