Thereís a fine line between biscuits and scones. Itís true that your English scones look different than your Southern Buttermilk Biscuits but there is not that much difference between the two. And if you shape your biscuits like scones and scones like biscuits, itís hard to tell the difference.
Biscuits and scones are often mixed and baked the same way. Often scones are cut into wedges and biscuits are cut with around cutter or are made with a wetter batter and dropped. We often use a round biscuit cutter for both scones and biscuits.
Typically, scones are made with egg and are a little sweeter. Often scones have fruit or nuts added and may be drizzled with a glaze. But you can add fruit and nuts to a biscuit recipe also. (Some would say that if you, do your biscuits just become scones.)
Scones originated in Scotland; biscuits are thought of as an American food.
If you would like to fancy up your biscuits, add a touch of sugar, some fruit, and maybe some nuts. You can cut them into squares, wedges, or cut them round with a biscuit cutter. You can drizzle a glaze over them. Are they then scones? Does it matter?
Both biscuits and scones can be made from a mix. Biscuit mixes are typically packaged in bulk so that you can make as many as you like. Scone mixes are usually packaged for a single batch. You can see a selection of biscuit mixes here and a selection of scone mixes here.
What follows are a typical biscuit recipe and a typical scone recipe.
Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
3 cups pastry flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup cold butter
1 1/3 cup fresh buttermilk or reconstituted from buttermilk powder
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture forms coarse pieces.
3. Add the buttermilk and stir the mixture with a fork until most of the dry ingredients have been moistened. Turn the ingredients onto the counter and knead and fold until the dough is formed. Do not knead longer than necessary.
4. Roll or pat the dough to about 3/4-inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on a greased baking sheet with the edges touching.
5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops are just golden brown and biscuits sound hollow when gently tapped. Serve warm.
Yield: 15 large biscuits
English Scones with Currants
4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup butter cut into pieces
3/4 to 1 cup currants
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup half or half, condensed milk, or buttermilk
For the Topping:
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet or cover it with parchment paper.
1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Use a pastry knife to cut the butter into the dry ingredients and continue cutting until the mixture is coarse and uniform. Stir in the currants.
2. In another bowl, stir together the vanilla extract, the egg, and the milk. Form a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture. Stir to combine then remove to a floured counter and knead until uniform. (Do not over-knead. Too much kneading will develop the gluten in the flour and make the scones tough.)
3. Divide the dough into two pieces and press each into 3/4 inch thick circles. Cut each circle into six wedges and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter and brush on the scone wedges. Sprinkle them with the sugar to cover.
4. Let bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned. Remove to a rack to cool.