Classic cream scones for breakfast or tea time made without butter, just cream! Delicious served with clotted cream and jam.
cream scones and the hot debate!
These classic pastries are an essential part of the famous British cream tea: the tradition of taking afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream, and jam. Both Cornwall and Devon claim ‘ownership’ of the cream tea, and whether the cream or the jam goes down first on the scones is also a matter of fierce debate. Personally I do as they do in Devon, and spread my scone with clotted cream first, then jam 🙂
what’s the difference between a cream scone and a regular scone?
Cream scones are made with heavy cream only, whereas regular scones are made with butter, and also a bit of liquid like cream or buttermilk. Cream scones are easier to make, and the cream makes them extra rich, with a tender, softer texture.
If you’ve never made scones before, I suggest trying cream scones first because they are so easy and straightforward.
what you’ll need to make cream scones
- all purpose flour ~ if all you have is self rising flour, omit the baking powder and salt.
- heavy cream ~ buy heavy cream or whipping cream, they’re nearly identical. Heavy cream is a little higher in fat, around 36%, while whipping cream typically contains anywhere from 30-36%. Either one will work for cream scones. Do not reach for light cream or half and half, these products will not contain enough fat (remember there’s no butter in cream scones, so the cream has to supply the all important fat.)
- granulated sugar ~ you’ll notice there isn’t a lot of sugar in this recipe. Traditional British scones are not as sweet as Americanized scones (looking at you, Starbucks.) That’s where the jam comes in!
- vanilla bean paste ~ this wonderful product is a step up from extract, but not as crazy expensive as a bean. Find it in larger supermarkets and specialty shops, or online, it’s one of my favorite products.
- baking powder
- sparkling sugar for topping
Sparkling sugar (aka coarse or sanding sugar) is the glittery garnish that gives our scones instant tea-party status. It also adds a delicious sweet crunch. Sparkling sugar has a larger crystal than regular granulated sugar, and it’s resistant to the heat of the oven so you can sprinkle it on the scones before baking and it will still be there when they come out. If you can’t find it locally you can always buy it online.
why I make scones in the food processor
I love to make scones, and I use the food processor because it’s quick, clean, and thorough. It brings the dough together with minimal effort which is not only easier for me, it’s better for the scones (see my baking tips below.) If you don’t have a processor, no worries, you can definitely make this easy scone dough by hand in a bowl. In fact if you’re going to make scones by hand, cream scones are the best choice.
baking tips for light fluffy cream scones
KEEP EVERYTHING COLD ~ this is one of those times when you don’t want everything at room temperature! Cold butter, or in this case, cream, makes light and fluffy scones because when it hits the hot oven it creates steam that helps the scones rise. I actually pop my cut scones in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking to ensure they’re nice and chilly.
MINIMAL HANDLING ~ too much handling of your dough makes tough scones. I like to use my food processor for this very reason. It brings the dough together in an instant. I just quickly gather the dough and pat it into a disk.
SLICING INTO TRIANGLES requires less manipulation than than rolling and cutting circles. Plus there is no dough to reform. The triangles utilize every precious bit of the dough.
yummy cream scone variations
- add lemon zest, lemon extract, and poppyseeds.
- mini chocolate chips
- chopped nuts
- raisins, currants, or dried cranberries
- finely minced candied ginger
- cardamom or cinnamon
don’t forget the clotted cream!
Clotted cream is a thick ‘cooked’ cream to spread on your scones, along with jam. It’s an essential part of cream tea. Here in the States you can only buy imported clotted cream in very pricey, very small, jars. Good thing I’ve got several ways you can make your own!
- How to Make Clotted Cream in the oven. This is the original method and requires an oven that can hold a temperature of 180F.
- Stove Top Clotted Cream Recipe ~ you can also make it in a saucepan on the stove top, super easy!
- Instant Pot Clotted Cream Recipe ~ one of my favorite methods, if you’ve got an Instant Pot.
These petite scones are amazing if you can nab them right from the oven, but that isn’t always possible. They’ll keep for a few days on the counter covered with a cake dome, or foil. To reheat, I like to microwave each one for about 20 seconds.
Freeze scones for longer storage, just pop them in heavy duty zip lock freezer bags and remove any excess air before zipping. use within 3 months.
teatime is the best time!
- How to Make Clotted Cream ~ 3 Ways!
- An Easy Blackberry Jam Recipe
- Fresh Strawberry Scones
- Maple Oat Nut Scones (Starbucks Copy Cat)
- Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scone Recipe
- Darina Allen’s Irish Soda Scones
Cream Scones Recipe
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a food processor or a big mixing bowl if doing by hand. Pulse or whisk to combine everything well.
- Add the 1 1/3 cups cream and vanilla to the processor and pulse/process to bring together into a dough. If it seems dry or doesn't come together add the remaining 3 tablespoons of cream.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and bring into one single mass. Divide in half and form 2 disks about 5 1/2 inches across.
- Slice each disk into 6 triangluar scones.
- Place the scones in 2 circles on the baking sheet, leaving about an inch or so between each one. Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 425F.
- When the oven has come to temperature, remove the scones from the freezer and brush the tops with a little bit of heavy cream. Sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
- Bake the scones for about 15 minutes. They'll just be starting to turn a faint golden, and not feel 'squishy' or look wet on the sides. Mine started to form cracks on the surface as they got close to being done. Note: Your oven may vary, so check them on the early side, and don't be afraid to give them an extra minute or two if they don't seem done.
- Serve the scones warm with clotted cream and jam. Store leftovers at room temperature covered with foil. Reheat in the microwave for 20 seconds.