Cookies are great, sandwiches, too, but scones are the ideal teatime treat. That’s this tea lover’s opinion. Of course, the fact that people around the world eat scones with their tea on a daily basis can be pretty persuasive when one is contemplating the plethora of choices available to accompany a cuppa tea.
So, why a scone? Scones are ideal for several reasons. First, they’re easy to fix. You have to decide which kind to make, but that will most likely be the most difficult part of your whole scone experience. There are drop scones, Irish scones, rolled-oat scones, and a host of others. Flour is the base ingredient, of course. Baking powder, sugar, butter, and egg yolk are other common ingredients. Recipes abound, but scones are even easier to make if you use a mix. Most are complete, like the ones from Sticky Fingers Bakery (my personal favorite). You just add water, mix well, plop on a baking sheet, and stick ’em into a pre-heated oven. Don’t forget to set the timer and use that baking time to steep up a strong pot of breakfast blend tea.
Second, scones make great holders for generous dollops of Devonshire Clotted Cream along with spoonfuls of your favorite jam. In fact, some scone eaters consider this the only reason to eat them and even disagree about which should be plopped onto the scone first, the clotted cream or the jam. I’m not so sure that I agree, though, with this narrow view of the scones purpose in being. Scones can be pretty tasty by themselves, especially the kind with various fruits in the mix. Anything from apricots, blueberries, and cherries, to dates, figs, currants, raisins, and many more.
Other popular toppings on scones, though not very traditional, are butter, chutneys (especially ones that tend toward the sweet side like those made of mango) and even various spreads like cream cheese and peanut butter. (There’s a lot to be said for traditions, but personal taste is also pretty important.)
The third reason that scones are the ideal teatime treat is that they elongate teatime, especially if you include the time it takes to make them. Add to that their very warmth, aroma, and flavor — each saying, “Slow down. Enjoy me!” I like to break off a chunk, slather on some lemon curd or orange marmalade, pop it in my mouth, and let the flavor caress each tastebud. Followed by a full gulp of Assam or Scottish Breakfast tea smoothed with milk and sweetener, the experience is complete. I pause for a satisfied moment and then repeat the whole process. Sharing such a teatime with friends and family adds the element of engaging conversation between mouthfuls. (Yes, you could dare to speak while your mouth is full of scone, but you risk showering your teatime companions with sticky, jam-covered crumbs.)
That brings me to the final reason to put scones at the top of your teatime treat list: fun! Aside from spraying your table mates with little scone bits (bad-mannered hilarity), you can have other activities such as speed eating contests. Speaking of games, break out the Scrabble, card deck, checkers, chess, or other favorite. Then, make your move. While your opponent debates their next gambit, you get to scarf scones and drink tea. But no slurping, please!
No friends of family around today to share teatime with? Stop by A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill. It’s another ideal teatime treat!