These Irish scones couldn’t be more authentic! Easy to make with just a few basic ingredients. Such a treat served with jam and cream!
Hello my friend! Are you hanging in there ok? It’s hard to believe everything that is going on in the world right now. Who could have ever imagined we’d live through something like this?
It’s funny but for me, as someone who has worked from home for many years now, not much has changed. But I have friends and loved ones who are not ok with this. If that is you too, I just want you to know that I see you, and I am here for you. You are going to be ok!
Tell me about your struggles and I will do whatever I can to help.
And know that one of the most therapeutic things you can do right now is to get into the kitchen and let your creative energy flow.
It’s what keeps me sane, lol.
And even though St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, I see no reason to stop sharing the delicious and authentic Irish recipes that I experienced on my recent trip to the emerald isle!
When I was in Ireland, I don’t think a day went by where I didn’t have a scone. If you’re a regular reader, you already know how much I love scones. They are, far and away, my most favorite breakfast treat.
And the scones in Ireland are on another level. Fluffy and soft, with a rich flavor and a hint of sweetness, Irish scones are comfort food at its very best.
I’m going to show you exactly how they are made. This method was taught to me by none other than Darina Allen, the famed Irish chef who founded the Ballymaloe School of Cookery. It doesn’t get any more authentic than that. Am I right?
WHAT ARE IRISH SCONES?
If you’ve ever visited Ireland, you know that scones are always on the table. You’ll see them at breakfast or brunch, and you’ll see them at tea time. They truly are ubiquitous.
Irish scones may be a little different than what you’re used to. I have a basic scone recipe on this site that I’ve been making for years, but it’s more cake-y and moist- similar to what you’d find at Starbucks. These Irish scones are round rather than triangular, and they have more of a crumbly texture.
Mix up a batch to go with your coffee or tea. They’re such a treat!
HOW TO MAKE IRISH SCONES
To make this authentic recipe, start with flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Whisk these dry ingredients together for a few seconds, just to get them combined.
- Use imported Irish butter if at all possible. It has the most incredible flavor and it will totally take your scones to the next level!
- Make sure the butter is very cold. This will help your scones to be light and puffy as can be.
The instructors at Ballymaloe showed us how to grate the butter into the dry ingredients. This is an easy trick to help get it incorporated in a hurry. It gets the pieces of butter to just the right size.
Once the butter has been grated in, use your hands to rub everything together, fluffing it as you go. This is key to light, fluffy scones.
The mixture should resemble fine bread crumbs.
Now just whisk milk and eggs together, and add most of that to the bowl.
I say “most” because you want to reserve a tablespoon or so to brush over the scones before baking. This will help to give them a pretty golden crust on top.
Work the liquid into the dry using clean hands. Our teachers at Ballymaloe told us to make a “claw.”
After a while, you’ll see things come together to form a sticky dough that gathers itself into a ball.
Lightly flour your work surface and pat the dough into a disc shape, about 1-inch thick. Then use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut your scones.
It’s helpful to dip the cutter in flour every time you cut a scone. This will prevent the dough from sticking to the cutter.
Place your unbaked scones on a tray, and brush them with the remaining milk/egg mixture.
Then dip their tops into demerara sugar.
Demerara is a minimally-processed form of cane sugar. It has a coarse, crunchy texture and a darker color. Sometimes you may see it called “raw sugar.” You can usually find it in the baking aisle at your regular supermarket, or you can order it online: demerara sugar.
Bake the scones in a very hot oven (475 degrees F is not a typo!) until they are tall, puffy, and golden brown around the edges.
HOW TO SERVE IRISH SCONES
This is the kind of treat you can nibble on at any time of day.
I especially love them for breakfast, along with a cup of tea or coffee.
They’re just sweet enough as is, but if you really want to treat yourself, smear them with soft butter and add a dollop of raspberry or strawberry jam, lemon curd, and/or whipped cream. I don’t think it’s necessary to sweeten the cream, but if you’d like, you can add a little pinch of sugar.
CAN YOU ADD FRUIT TO THIS SCONE RECIPE?
It’s not uncommon to see scones with dried fruit in the UK and Ireland. Many times, a handful or so of dried currants, golden raisins, or dried apricots are baked in.
You could also add fresh, frozen, or dried berries, or nuts, seeds, or chocolate chips.
If you’d like to incorporate add-ins like these, I would suggest using anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup, according to your taste.
If you’ve tried making scones in the past and have had difficulty, I’ll try to address the most common issues below.
WHY SCONES MAY NOT RISE
If your scones come out flat, the number one culprit here is likely to be your baking powder. Check the expiration date and make sure it hasn’t expired.
Also, make sure your butter is ice cold. Cold butter will create steam when it hits the hot oven, and this steam will puff up your scones and help them to rise sky-high.
And always be sure your oven is fully pre-heated before you start baking.
WHY SCONES CAN BE DRY, CRUMBLY OR HARD
This style of scone is not quite as moist and cake-y as what you might find at an American coffee shop, but it should bake up light, fluffy, tender, and a little crumbly.
If you’ve had trouble with scones that are dry or hard, it’s likely they were overbaked. Keep an eye on these as they bake; you’ll want to pull them from the oven right when you see them getting golden around the edges.
Remember that when a recipe gives you a bake time, it’s meant to only be used as a rough guideline. No two ovens are exactly the same, so it’s more important to look for those visual and tactile cues than it is to follow the exact time given.
Also, be careful not to overwork the dough. You want to mix it just until the wet and dry ingredients are barely combined. If the dough is overworked, it will tighten up and your scones will come out tough.
CAN THESE BE MADE AHEAD?
Irish scones are a great make-ahead treat. They keep very well and will last several days at room temperature. Just be sure to keep them in an airtight container so they don’t dry out or get stale.
You can also pop them into a zip-top freezer bag and keep them in the freezer. They should last there for a few months at least.
I would not advise making the dough ahead though. The baking powder will lose its “oomph” if it sits too long, so you’ll want to bake up this scone recipe just as soon as it’s made!
HOW TO RE-WARM SCONES
To re-warm a leftover scone, zap in in the microwave for about 15 seconds on full power, OR wrap it in foil and place it in a low (170 degrees F) oven until warmed through.
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- Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
- Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Using a box grater, grate the cold butter into the flour mixture, then rub together with your hands until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Whish the milk and eggs together until blended, then add almost all of the liquid to the dry ingredients,** mixing together with your clean hand.
- When the dough gathers itself into a ball, knead it a few times, then pat it into a disc about 3/4-inch thick.
- Use a 2 1/2-inch diameter cutter to cut the scones. (Scraps can be gathered back together to form additional scones, but take care not to over work the dough.)
- Place the unbaked scones on the prepared baking sheet, brush the remaining milk/egg mixture over the tops, then top with demerara sugar.
- Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the scones are puffed and golden brown on their bottoms.
- Cool, split, and top with butter, jam, and whipped cream, if desired.