I have many fond memories from the years I was a student at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada, including having met my husband there! Other fond memories revolve around food (of course), some of which were the great bakery items sold at the school, like the UBC tea scones (thus the name of this recipe!)!
Most scones I’ve had are dry, dense, and kind of MEH. You’d have to drink tea with them just to be able to swallow them! But not these ones! These UBC tea scones are soft, tender, and just plain GOOD. If you are a UBC student, past or present, you know what I’m talking about! And if you’re not, you’re going to have to make these to see what the big deal is!
UBC revealed the recipes to their most popular baked treats in a local newspaper several years ago, and to this day, whether on campus or in my kitchen, they are a huge favorite. Now I can share this great recipe with you!
Keep in mind that this is the original UBC recipe. It is not gluten-free. It is not sugar-free. It probably can’t be considered a “healthy” recipe. However, I won’t make any apologies for these tea scones because they are just THAT good.
(**That being said, I am working developing a gluten-free, lower-sugar version of this recipe! Stay tuned!)
To make these scones, I use a good old fashioned pastry cutter. That’s the neat looking wired contraption pictured above. It’s hand powdered and does a great job cutting all that butter into the flour and sugar. If you don’t happen to have a pastry cutter, you can simply work the butter into the flour with your hands, or use a fork. This ain’t rocket science and doesn’t require anything fancy.
Just like you don’t need any fancy tools to make these awesome tea scones, you also don’t need any fancy ingredients. This recipe, at its most basic, is simply flour, sugar, baking powder, butter, salt, milk, and an egg. If and how you decide to flavor it is up to you, but there are many options such as blueberries, grated cheese, dried fruit, lemon zest, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, etc. You could even drizzle an icing sugar glaze or melted chocolate over the scones after they’re baked!
Because these are tea scones, the idea is that they are small enough to have with some tea in the afternoon. They are not meant to be big pieces. So I simple drop spoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet. They grow and spread a bit when baking, turning into just the right size for nibbling.
You can imagine how tender this scone is, can’t you? It’s literally melt-in-your-mouth good and oh-so-satisfying with a hot cuppa tea in the afternoon!
Another great thing about these tea scones is they freeze well. You just need to warm them in the oven or microwave for 10-20 seconds and they are crazy good. So you can make a batch of them, freeze them, and have a scone whenever you’d like!
Did I mention that these tea scones also make wonderful gift bundles during the holidays? Wrapped up in a pretty cellophane bag with some ribbon or in parchment paper and string and you’ve got a treat your friends will love.
I’m really excited to share a fond memory from my university days and I hope you’ll give these Tender Buttery UBC Tea Scones a try. I’m sure you’ll love them.
Tender Buttery UBC Tea Scones
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup (165g) cold butter cut into small chunks
- 1 egg slightly beaten
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup dried cranberries, fresh or frozen blueberries, cheese, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.
Preheat oven 450 deg f (230C).
Sift together dry ingredients in large bowl.
Add chunks of butter to flour mixture.
Using a pastry blender, cut butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse oatmeal.
Pour milk into measuring cup and add the slightly beaten egg. Pour into butter-flour mixture and stir until well combined.
Add 1 cup of desired filling to dough and stir.
Scoop rounded spoonfuls onto parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving enough space for the dough to spread.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.
Cool on wired rack. Enjoy warm with butter and/or fruit preserves. Also fabulous eaten plain!
1) These scones are perfectly good with no filling in them...just a dab of butter and some fruit preserves are all you need to flavor them. But if you want to fill them with something for a bit more flavor, great options are grated cheese, fresh or frozen blueberries, dried cranberries or cherries, chocolate chips, chopped pistachios, or lemon or orange zest. Combinations of fillings work great, too, like lemon zest and blueberries, or dried cranberries and pistachios!
2) For the tea scones shown here in this post, I made a full batch of the scone dough, divided it into three separate bowls, and added three different fillings to each. It was an easy way to get some flavor variety without making 3x the recipe, and you can do the same trick!