I was first introduced to scones when I moved to New Orleans back in 93. I had certainly heard of scones, I had just never had one, so it never occurred to me to make them. In New Orleans, they're pretty much everywhere, and for some reason, almost always heart-shaped and with currants. They're in bakeries, coffee shops, luncheonettes, you name it.
Another thing I was introduced to when I moved to New Orleans was tea. Not the drink per se, but High Tea ... at Le Salon at the Windsort Court Hotel. That's one thing I definitely miss about living there! The first time I went, I wasn't a tea drinker but figured I'd go with it for the "true" experience. After reviewing the menu a bazillion times, I settled on Oolong. It was said to be the "champagne of teas," with a peach essence. Man, I loooved it! It was so good, I didn't even need to add cream and/or sugar! Now my problem is that I can't find one as good. There are several brands of Oolong, but that one was specifically a Formosa Oolong, so there is apparently some sort of difference, and I can't find that. :(
They would first bring out your tea, followed by scones with clotted cream and jam, then there would be little tea sandwiches, followed by a serving of delicious pastries! This is probably a sexist thing to say, but I was always surprised by the number of men there. In addition to tables, they also had various seating areas with sofas and big comfy chairs, so it was also very common to see baby showers going on and that sort of thing.
When I left New Orleans and wanted to make scones, the first place I checked was online at the Windsor Court site. They did have a scone recipe posted (just checked-not there now), but unless it has something to do with their equipment and mass production, I don't think it's the same recipe. I do really like it though, so this is the one I tend to stick with. They usually put walnuts in theirs, but our family isn't big on nuts in baked goods, so I make some with mini chocolate chips for the guys and some with another add-in, usually dried cranberries, since we always have them on hand for snacking. You can try any kind of dried fruit, nuts, citrus zest, chocolates, etc.
2 1/2 c flour
5 t double-acting baking powder
4 t plus 1 T sugar
2 lg eggs
1/8 t salt
3/4 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into bits
3/4 c heavy cream
1/3 c nuts or fruit (I never measure, just judge visually)
CLOTTED CREAM : (Think I found this in Taste of Home)
3 oz cream cheese
1 T confectioner's sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/4 - 1/3 c whipping cream
Sift flour, baking powder, 4t sugar, and salt. Add butter and blend until resembles a coarse meal. Stir in cream, eggs, and add-ins, just until dough comes together. Pat out to 1" thick on floured surface. Cut into rounds with 2" cutter and arrange on buttered baking sheet. Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg + 1/3 c milk) and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake at 350 for 20".
NOTES: I have always baked them on parchment, never a buttered tray. Sometimes I'll do the egg wash, sometimes just egg, sometimes I'll brush the tops with milk or cream. Just depends what I'm doing at the time, what's on hand, etc. As for the sugar, I like to use the coarse sanding sugar on the tops rather than regular sugar. I think it's prettier that way.
I make the dough (sometimes in my mixer, sometimes not), and split it in half. I'll add chocolate chips to half and then chopped dried cranberries, apricots or whatever to the other half.
For the cream, just let the cream cheese come to room temp, then whip it with the cream, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla.
Aside from the cream, raspberry jam is great with scones. Better yet, lemon curd!