Maple Parsnip Scones are a good choice for fall and winter, when fruits aren’t as fresh and available.

Among the many things that make life worth living, I would count “afternoon tea,” that break in the afternoon between lunch and supper when you come in from mucking out stalls and tossing hay bales for a quick cuppa and a sweet treat. That’s where I first encountered scones — British style — while working at a stable in Devon in my teens. 

Round like a biscuit but crisp outside and soft and crumbly inside, split in half and topped with butter or homemade cream and strawberry jam, they gave you the strength to finish those evening chores. Just as the somewhat more upscale version — slathered in clotted cream and topped with ripe strawberries — helped me through the late matches when I got to attend the Wimbledon Championships while in high school south of London.

Later in life I started experimenting with what many would consider American style scones — slightly more dense, often shaped in wedges and with a higher butter content, and often with flavors and add-ins that enhanced their sweet or savory characteristics. They were great with an afternoon cup of tea, but also with salads and soups.

Carolyn VandeWiele

If you read through the columns and blogs about scones you will find that there are as many different ideas about what a scone is and how to make them as there are ways to pronounce the final product. All-purpose versus pastry flour, butter versus shortening or lard, cutting in the fat by hand versus food processor techniques, milk versus cream or buttermilk, sweet versus savory, plain or with add ins, round, wedged or square … well, you get the picture.