Whatever time of day it is, there’s something incredibly comforting about serving fluffy cheese scones and a pot of tea.
Somehow teatime at home is all highly civilised.
This post was originally published in March 2017 as Cheese Scones with Spring Onions & Rosemary. As it has been one of your favourite recipes on le blog, I’ve updated the photos and done away with the fancy spring onions. Now you still have the fluffiest cheese scones that can be rustled up in even less time. Moreover, for 12 scones this recipe only needs one egg so while perhaps rationing our fresh produce, this recipe should rise to the occasion!
Out of the treats that come out of our kitchen, there’s one thing I can serve for lunch – in true British style with soup – and my ‘Scottish-half’ girls always squeal, “YES! CHEESE SCONES!” They may be so grown up now but as soon as these scones come out of the oven, my teenagers are little girls purring like the cat that’s got the cream. Perhaps it’s the memory of our cheese scone ritual we had, stopping off at the Scottish garden centre tearoom near Prestwick airport on our way back to Paris Beauvais. We did this so often over the years visiting Granny and Grandpa that it was our shuttle. Alas, these days there’s far too much homework and exams.
As a result, I make cheese scones at home, as they are – surprisingly – so quick and easy to make.
Tips for High-Rise, Fluffy Cheese Scones
My idea of a perfect cheese scone is that it’s light, high and fluffy. I started off many years ago using the classic recipe in the Be-Ro Flour Cookbook. Now, over the years I have used this slightly adapted recipe which ensures that they have a lovely height.
There are TWO SECRETS to height:
- Don’t be shy on the baking powder; and
- Don’t work the dough too much – including not rolling it out too flat. Keep it quite thick, cutting them with a scone or cookie cutter.
How do you eat yours? We just split them in half while warm and spread on a little butter, watching it melt. Perfect with a cup of tea – and also with soup (see below).
Best Cheese to Use for Savoury Scones
Ideally use a good, strong, mature cheddar (orange will give it a lovely colour but it’s not necessary) as the flavour should shine through. Using half of grated aged parmesan or a mature hard orange vieille mimolette adds extra punch too. The stronger the better!
Personally, as we don’t have the easiest access to the best mature cheddar in France, I use a half and half mix of what orange cheddar I can find with best quality French Comté cheese (preference 12-18 months mature), thus making them a bit of a Scottish-French Auld Alliance.
As we’re currently being careful not to use too many eggs, I brushed the tops of the scones with milk only. For a shiny royal scone look, however, the best way is to brush the tops of the scones with the milk and egg yolk glaze.
Then top the scones with more grated cheese and/or poppy seeds and sesame seeds.
The result? The cheese scones have a lovely, finished shine that gives that slight crunch to the outside and split open warm, they’re soft, light and fluffy inside – ready to spread with quickly melting butter!
Quick Soup Recipes from the Pantry
Cheese scones are also a real treat served for a light lunch with a comforting bowl of soup. Here are some ideas for homemade soup, using little from the pantry:
- Quick Tomato & Turmeric Soup (Christina’s Cucina – uses tinned tomatoes)
- Easy Scottish Red Lentil Soup (Farmersgirl Kitchen – uses carrots, 1 onion & red lentils)
- Crème du Barry (can be made without the yolks and replace cauliflower with any fresh or frozen vegetable you have at hand. I make it also with broccoli – it’s so rich & creamy);
- Pastina Italian Soup (Christina’s Cucina)
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Fluffy Cheese Scones Recipe
An easy recipe for the fluffiest, light cheese scones. Only uses one egg for a batch of 12
- 250 g (9oz) Plain (all-purpose) flour T55
- 1 tbsp Baking powder (use only 1 tsp if using self-raising flour)
- 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- pinch salt & pepper
- 50 g (2oz) Butter, unsalted (at room temperature)
- 100 g (3.5oz) Cheese, finely grated (Cheddar, French Comté, Mimolette)*
- 1 tbsp Rosemary, finely chopped (or fresh thyme, chives, dried Herbes de Provence)
- 1 egg (@60g)
- 100 ml (3.5fl oz) Milk (whole or semi-skimmed)
- 1 egg yolk (optional)
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
Heat oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7/200°C fan. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Mix together the flour, baking powder/soda, salt, pepper, and rosemary in a large bowl. Either rub in the butter using your fingers but if you have a mixer, this is even better. Mix just until the butter looks like breadcrumbs in the flour then add the cheese. Add the egg and milk and mix until fully combined. The result should be a sticky dough. If you find it's too dry, add a little bit more milk.
Roll out on a floured surface to about 2 cm thick (nearly an inch) and using a scone/cookie cutter (6cm/2.5"), cut out medium-sized rounds. Alternatively, to save time or if you don't have cutters, roll into a circle (use a plate as a guide) and cut into triangles with a sharp knife.
Place on the baking tray and brush with a mixture of egg yolk and a little milk to glaze (yolk is optional but recommended for a shiny glaze).
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
YIELD: Makes 12 scones.
CALORIES: One portion of 2 scones is 293 calories.
CHEESES: mature, strong cheeses are best such as cheddar, mimolette, parmesan, comté & gruyère.
BUTTERMILK SCONES: If you replace the milk with buttermilk, omit 1 tsp of baking powder, but personally I prefer cheese scones made with milk, as find they rise better.