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Tea Time: Scones and Biscuits

Scones or Biscuits?

While similar, there is a difference between English scones and North American scones. There are also differences between Northern American scones and Southern American scones – otherwise known as biscuits. English scones are simple, and are designed that way so they can be topped. They are light, and always topped with clotted cream, preserves, or lemon curd. They usually do not have added ingredients inside, save for perhaps raisins.

Scones made in the United States, on the other hand, changed when settlers crossed the border and used ingredients available to them. Northern scones were made with hard wheat, while Southern-style scones were made with soft wheat and buttermilk. The wheat available in the North was and is similar to English wheat, so Northern scones have similar features to traditional English ones. Because Southern wheat is soft, it created a flakier, softer dough, but the buttermilk made it more dense than its Northern counterpart.

However, today in North America as a whole, when we see a scone in a cafe it is usually quite different from English scones. It is usually covered in cheese, filled with fruit or chocolate chips, and covered in a glaze. Whatever you prefer, nothing tops a cup of tea with a delicious scone.

Devon Cream Tea vs. Cornish Cream Tea

Cream Tea is tea served with scones, clotted cream and jam, usually strawberry. In Devonshire, Cream Tea is created by placing a large dollop of clotted cream followed by jam, and it has been done like this in Devonshire since the 11th century! In Cornwall, the jam is placed on the scone first, then followed by clotted cream on top. Cornish cream tea used to be served with sweet bread rolls but are now generally served with scones as well. Try both methods yourself and decide for yourself which area wins the cream tea debate.


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