Perfect scones are flaky and tender, moist without being soggy, and certainly never dry. A great deal of flexibility constitutes what is the perfect scone. You might prefer a relatively moist one, for example, or a crisp layer of sugar on top. As with many baking tasks, making perfect scones takes practice. By following certain guidelines, however, you can be well on your way to figuring out how to make your ideal scones.
Make the scone dough following the recipe of your choice. For best results, use a trusted recipe from a reliable source. Use cold fats and liquids to ensure a flaky result. Knead the dough as little as possible to get it to cling together; it does not need to be smooth and soft.
Follow the recipe as closely as possible. Many cooking projects can stand up to -- or even benefit from -- creativity. This is not as true with baking as with many other tasks, however. Make basic substitutions, like dried raspberries for dried cranberries, but do not change the proportions of the ingredients unless you are a confident and experienced baker.
Form the dough into a smooth ball, then press it flat. Use a rolling pin to flatten it until it is approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick. This is enough to create six scones. If your recipe makes more than that, divide the dough accordingly before making it into balls. For example; if your recipe makes 18 scones, divide it into three balls and repeat this process on each one.
Make score marks across each flattened scone ball with a long knife. Make three lines across each ball to divide it into perfect sixths. When you are content with the lines, cut the dough along them.
Transfer the cut scones onto a baking tray and immediately place them into an oven, preheated to the temperature your recipe requires. Do not leave them out before baking them, as this causes them to warm up and results in a less flaky product.
Bake the scones only until they are done, and no longer. Overbaking your scones causes them to dry out and lose that moist flakiness you worked so hard to achieve. Your scones are done when they are golden, and when a toothpick inserted into one comes out clean.