1. They are awesome and make the perfect vehicle for curd, jam, clotted cream, etc.
2. They're consistent. You will always get a crumbly golden brown exterior and a moist, fluffy, layered interior.
3. They require a little technique. You need to freeze butter and press the dough together by hand. (Not hard, but requires a little explanation).
4. They're an excellent primer on how to bake with a scale, which if you don't do, you should. It's waaaaaay easier and cleaner than using volume measurements.
I'm going to show you how to do this (mostly) with a scale, but don't fret if you don't own a kitchen scale, there's volume measurements below too.
First you get out a mixing bowl, slap it on the scale, zero it, and add 10 ounces of flour. (On average a cup of flour weighs 5 ounces, give or take, depending on the humidity and how long it's been hanging around your pantry.) Then you stir in salt, baking powder, and baking soda. For these I use a measuring spoon since they weigh a tiny amount that my kitchen scale is probably not accurate enough to measure. Then you zero the scale and add 2.5 ounces of sugar. Zero again and grate 4 ounces (1 stick) of frozen butter into the mixture.
See how the dough has a few cracks and there's still some flour mixture left in the bowl. That's good! Lightly flour your counter and press the dough into an 8 inch circle. Then dump the remaining dry mixture on top and gently press it into the top of the round. Dust with some more sugar and cut into 8 wedges:
Arrange the wedges in a circle on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.
Yields 8 scones
Adapted from this recipe.
2 cups (10 ounces) flour, plus extra for dusting
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, frozen for 10 minutes plus
1 large egg
generous 1/2 cup (5 1/2 ounces) good quality Greek yogurt like Fage (or substitute sour cream)
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix together the first 5 ingredients.
3. Grate in the butter and stir. Add the egg and yogurt and stir with a spoon. At this point the mixture will be very chunky.
4. Flour your work surface and your hands and knead the dough a few time until it just hangs together. There will be some dry flour mixture left in the bowl.
5. Press the dough into an 8 inch round on the floured surface and press the rest of the dry mixture into the top. Dust the top with sugar.
6. Cut into 8 wedges, arrange in a circle on the baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes.