Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Tea Time Discussion

Scones and bannocks for tea time set the stage for a memorable occasion. I recall my mother-in-law relating the break for afternoon tea when they toured England and Scotland. Two of the foods they raved about were scones and bannocks.

Stories vary about the origin of these items. Some research indicates Scottish cooks first made scones. However, the origin of this simple food is hazy. It’s served throughout England, Scotland, and Wales with regional variations.

An English reader of my cooking columns said there are two ways to pronounce scones. Some people say it rhymes with stone and others rhyme with corn. You can use either, he says.

Scones vs. Bannocks

In general, scones are rolled into a circle, then cut into triangles and put onto a greased and floured cookie sheet to bake. Sometimes they’re cooked on a griddle and called “griddle scones.”

Also, some English cooks cut scones into 2 or 3-inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Then they bake the scones as we do biscuit in America.

Bannocks usually are baked as a whole circle, in the oven or on a griddle. After they’re cooked, the bannock is cut into triangles. It’s generally agreed that bannocks probably originated in Scotland.

I was told that true scones are never baked as a large circle. If someone did want to shape it this way, they should cut deeply into the top of the scone and divide it into eighths. In other words, score the scone before baking.

(In my next post, I'll discuss variations of scones and bannocks, with recipes.)

©2008 Mary Emma Allen

1 comment:

Jean Bowler said...

I've been traveling and stayed a week in a motel in Texas. Would you believe they served scones for breakfast two days! I guess the popularity is spreading far from the UK.