October 19, 2009

Scones vs. Biscuits

Sweet scones are my favorites especially in the mornings! They are sweet and cake-ish, soft, moist and slightly crunchy on the outside. :) As I was making them the other day I started to wonder what the difference between scones and biscuits were because they're really quite similar in the way they are prepared.

After some googling I found that scones typically contain sugar, eggs and cream, they are a bit more fluffy and cake-ish and are served with tea along side jam and creme fraiche whereas, biscuits are generally more savory, buttery, flakey, made with buttermilk and occasionally call for sugar. They are typically served with gravy or (in my opinion) with a greasy dish such as breakfast sausages or fried chicken. I think that whether they are called scones or biscuits depends on what country you live in. In some countries scones or biscuits can be both savory and sweet.

Here's the recipe I used from epicurious.com:
Meyer Lemon Cranberry Scones

  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (from about 3 lemons; preferably Meyer)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus 3 tablespoons additional if using fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh cranberries, chopped coarse, or 1 1/4 cups dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Accompaniment: crème fraîche or whipped cream


Preheat oven to 400°F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

With a vegetable peeler remove the zest from lemons and chop fine, reserving lemons for another use.

In a food processor pulse flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, butter and zest until mixture resembles coarse meal and transfer to a large bowl.

In a small bowl toss together fresh cranberries and 3 tablespoons sugar and stir into flour mixture. If using dried fruit, add to flour mixture.

In another small bowl lightly beat egg and yolk and stir in cream. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.

On a well-floured surface with floured hands pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round (about 8 inches in diameter) and with a 2-inch round cutter or rim of a glass dipped in flour cut out as many rounds as possible, rerolling scraps as necessary. Arrange rounds about 1 inch apart on baking sheet and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes, or until pale golden.

Serve scones warm with crème fraîche or whipped cream. Scones keep, individually wrapped in plastic wrap and foil, chilled, 1 day or frozen 1 week.

Notes: I used regular lemons because the grocery store doesn't sell meyer lemons and I don't live near a specialty grocery store. I put in extra lemon rind in and they smelled and tasted fabulous! I used dried Crasins even though cranberries are in season because I've never worked with fresh cranberries before and I didn't want my scones to be too tart. They were super yummy and I will be making them again.


Veganosaurus said...

Those look yum! Particularly the sugary glaze on top. I should try a Veganized version of that recipe. :)

In India, we use the term Biscuit for Cookies of all kinds. :)