Cheese scones are the savoury version of the much-loved sweet English scones. They are popular in Scotland and are perfect for breakfast or served as a side to your favourite dinners.
History of cheddar cheese scones
Scones are traditionally connected with England, Scotland, and Ireland. Still, nobody knows which country invented them, so the origin of scones is a bit of a grey area. A Scottish poet named Gavin Douglas made the first known printed reference to scones in 1513. It is also believed that the word originates from the Dutch 'schoonbrot', which means white bread of fine quality, and the closely related German 'sconbrot', which means beautiful bread. Some say that scones originate from the Scottish 'bannock', which is derived from the Gaelic for cake and made using a thin, round, flat combination of oats and wheat flour.
Original scones were made with oats, formed into a large round and scored into six wedges. Back then, they were griddle-cooked over an open fire.
During the Victorian era, scones became popular in England. The legend says that one late afternoon Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, ordered the servants to bring tea and sweet breads, including scones – the fashionable ritual of tea time was invented. After sharing her pleasant ritual with friends, afternoon tea evolved into a popularised social event among the English aristocracy.
Over the centuries — before and after the new trend introduced by the Duchess of Bedford – several variations of the scones have been created: apple scones, lemon poppy seed scones, orange-glazed scones and many more.
Although traditional English scones are often served for tea time – most commonly together with clotted cream and jam – the Scots eat them at almost any time: with breakfast coffee, with salad at lunch, with soup, and even with just a glass of wine. So it's no wonder cheddar cheese scones are so popular in Scotland.
How to make cheddar cheese scones
If you want a whiff of old Scotland in your kitchen, go on and get busy with our cheddar cheese scones recipe.
Total time 30 minutes
Serves for 8
Self-rising flour 250g, plus extra for dusting
Salt 1 pinch
Bicarbonate of Soda 1/2 tsp (baking)
Pepper 1 pinch, cayenne
Butter 55g chilled, cut into cubes
Cheddar 100g, grated, mature
Eggs 1, beaten
Milk 150 ml
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas Mark 6 with a large baking tray inside.
Sift the flour, salt, cayenne pepper and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, then sift again until the ingredients are entirely mixed.
Add all the butter to the bowl and merge the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Dredge the grated cheddar into the breadcrumb mixture and rub it together until evenly distributed.
Create a well in the centre of the mixture, add the egg and pour in enough milk to get a relatively soft dough. Be careful not to pour all the milk at once, as you may not need it all to reach the desired consistency. Don't forget you need it for glazing.
Roll out the dough to approximately 2 cm thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out the scones with a medium cutter – you could use a glass, mug, or coffee cup to cut dough into circles.
Spread on a sheet of parchment, glaze with a little milk, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Place on the hot oven tray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve the cheddar cheese scones hot, warm or cold.