A scone is a kind of bread that is usually shaped into triangles and baked on a griddle or sheet. Scones are very small, and are in the same group as the crumpet or muffin. It is made of wheat, barley, or oatmeal and baking powder to make it rise. The scone is shaped closely like the North American biscuit, and its recipe is almost the same with it as well. Sometimes scones may have raisins, currants, cheese, or dates in them. In the United States, however, scones include more sweet kind of fillings like cranberries, chocolate chips, or nuts. They can often be found in coffee shops and in a great variety in the British Isles. It is generally thought that scones are best eaten when they are very hot and freshly baked right from the oven, accompanied with melting warm butter. Some people even enjoy buttering their scones for themselves.
Some think that scone comes from the Gaelic "sgonn", which meant a piece of dough that has been cooked for a couple of minutes, shapeless mass or large mouthful; and the Dutch "schoonbrot", which meant fine white bread; or, for last, the German "sconbrot", which meant fine or beautiful bread. The Oxford English Dictionary believes the German and Dutch is more accurate.
Scone can also be a slang word for head, insane, or angry.
It is sometimes debated on the correct pronunciation for "scone". In Scotland and North England, the word is pronounced as "skawn", or "skahn", while in Southern England, it is pronounced as "skoan" or "skown". The latter pronunciation came from the United States and Canada.
Scones are connected traditionally with England, Scotland, and Ireland, but nobody knows which country invented it. However, the first known mention of a scone that was printed is from the translation of The Aenaid (1513) written by a Scottish poet named Gavin Douglas.
Scones are related to the ancient Welsh tradition of cooking small round yeast cakes on stones, that later changed to griddles. First-made scones included oats inside them, and were baked over an open fire. However, today's scones are more like American biscuits. They are made with wheat, and baked in the oven.
The most popular scones are soda scones, wholemeal scones, rich white scones, treacle scones, potato scones, ballater scones and drop scones. Scones usually take about four to ten minutes to bake.
- The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition
- Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 704)
- Traditional Scottish Cookery, Theodora Fitzgibbon
- An A to Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 304)
- Traditional Scottish Cookery, Theodora Fitzgibbon [Fontana:Suffolk] 1980 (p. 231-5)
- Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations [Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.:London] 1874 (p. 842)
- The Art of Living in Australia, Philip Muskett, 1893 (p. 393)