Breakfast treats for mum: Eight fresh scones put to the taste test

A LOVELY start to Mother’s Day, fresh scones won’t tax the budget. Scones are a calorific luxury to be confined to treats, but what better occasion to indulge?

A savoury scone sandwiched with a rasher or slice of tomato will make a neat breakfast treat, or later in the day, serve cream and jam with freshly brewed tea or coffee and a big smile. She’s worth it.

Toasted seeds can be sprinkled on bought or homemade sweet and savoury scones and contrast beautifully with the sweetness of jam. Toasted almonds and hazelnuts are delicious too.

I’m not sure when scones became so big, but they are way beyond what any of us need as a snack or treat. Whoever started the trend for enormous scones is responsible for our delusions that we need a treat of this size.

A large scone could clock up a quarter of your advised daily calorie intake (or
whatever measure you choose to use to keep yourself in check), and there is little fibre or protein to compensate.

Good value is what bakers are aiming for, but once one starts to make large ones, the rest look mean. We could, of course, share.

Scones can be frozen, but only when fresh. Freeze on the day they are bought/made.

This time we tested fresh scones only. Longlife brands tend to be much drier.

Hassett’s Artisan Bakery €1 each

Plain, fruit, brown and cherry and almond scones were consistently good across all types.

Tasters particularly liked the moistness and flavour of the rich almond paste with the cherry which was the favourite of the selection. Available in Cork: Douglas Court and Blackpool shopping centres, English Market and Washington Street, Main Street, Carrigaline.

Score: 9

Bradleys €1.30 each

Also available in a wholemeal version (not on the day we bought), these fruit and plain scones are made by Ali’s Kitchen, Cork. Tasters particularly liked their rich flavour. The texture was quite crumbly, good for lightness, but they fell apart easily. We bought in Bradleys North Main Street, Cork.

Score: 8.5

Dunnes Stores €1 each (4 for €3)

Plain, brown, dried fruit, cherry and blueberry varieties are finished in-house to good effect. The texture is a little dense, but the fruit helps to lighten them. Not a favourite of any taster, but no complaints either, especially when served with cream and jam.

Score: 6.25

SuperValu 90c each

O’Keeffe’s bakery in Cork supplies the raw dough scones to the Merchant’s Quay branch here which are finished in the shop. The result is a decent scone which has a good balance of fruit in the fruit scones. The brown one is slightly heavy, and the plain one lacks flavour,

but were all enjoyed. SuperValu stores countrywide use different bakers and some even bake from scratch in-house, so expect a variation.

Score: 6.75

Tesco 39c each

A lovely crunchy top is what tasters appreciated most with these. And inside the crumb was not too dense. These freshly baked scones, finished in-house (in Ballincollig, Co Cork, as well as other stores) have a good balance of fruit too. Good value.

Score: 8.5

Pana €1 each

Fruit scones were flavoursome and light and were a little less sweet than most samples. All tasters liked them. The bottoms were a little over-baked, but some of the tasters liked the toffee-like chew. From Coal Quay market stall on Saturdays and Merchant’s Quay shopping centre, Cork.

Score: 8.75

ABC €1.20 — €1.80

The widest range of all bakers in this survey included a chocolate, a raspberry, a blueberry and a spelt scone with pear and apple, as well as brown, plain and dried fruit. But the favourite of most tasters were the savoury – cheese and onion and cheese and chilli. The balance of sweet and savoury was perfect and could make an easy lunch. Prices vary according to flavours, and unit price decreases with increased quantity.

Score: 8.75

Marks and Spencer €1.10 each

With a good variety in

cheese, brown, plain and fruit, finished in-house, they all have quite a dense texture. Not a favourite of tasters, but, as with all samples, better with jam and cream/butter.

Score: 6.75


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