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Yesterday morning, I attempted to make some scones. I have, historically, not made terribly good scones so thought I'd branch out and try a different recipe.

I usually find the BBC's recipes pretty trustworthy, so thought I'd try this one of Paul Hollywood's.

My scones are prone to density, and this one promised "soft and fluffy" scones - and had not only two eggs but 5 (five!) teaspoons of baking powder in. Which seemed like an awful lot. But hey, I'm not an renowned baker and Paul Hollywood is.

I actually followed the recipe, to the letter (except for the egg glaze, because it turned out I only had two eggs). And you know what? The scones came out awful. Not just heavy and leaden, but actively disgusting - they mostly seemed to taste of baking powder.

I'm not sure what I did wrong. The recipe wasn't as specific as the BBC's recipes usually are - for example, before mixing the eggs into the flour, should I beat them? (I assumed so, possibly wrongly.)

Anyway, I hate wasting food, but they were clearly not an acceptable thing to take along to someone's birthday picnic (in Kew Gardens, no less). I broke one up and put it on the bird table, where the local blue tits appear to have been giving it a wide berth.

So, down came the trusty old-fashioned Marguerite Patten recipe book. Her scone recipe doesn't involve eggs, or "chaffing", or relaxing the dough, or any sort of messing about. Rub fat into flour, mix in sugar, make into dough with milk. (She offers several different combos of plain or self-raising, plus baking powder or cream of tartar + bicarb. I went for self-raising, cream of tartar and bicarb.)

Her recipe is also not very specific, since it doesn't say how much milk (answer: less than that) or how hot a "hot oven" is. It also has a distressing amount of free will over the quantities - which is consoling, really, as it implies it doesn't matter too much. But the scones came out not-disgusting. They weren't great, but not-disgusting was a big improvement.

Everyone is always very into warning me not to overwork scone dough. Which, yes, I understand. But no one overworks dough on purpose - if it ain't mixed/formed into a proper dough yet, it clearly needs more work. I always stop at what seems to be the bare minimum, yet somehow also pass the overworked stage. Out of terror, I merely rolled Mrs Patten's dough out, then cut it into bits with a knife to save the gather-up-bits-and-re-roll stage of cutting out. The scones didn't really rise much, and were quite crumbly (possibly a sign of underwork? I have no idea.)

Anyway, the results were acceptable when covered with enough clotted cream and strawberry jam.

If anyone wants to tell (or even better, show!) me how to make decent scones, volunteers welcome!
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