The scone is a British snack of Scottish origin
A scone is a small quickbread made of wheat, barley or oatmeal, usually with baking powder as a leavening agent. British scones are often lightly sweetened, but may also be savoury. In the U.S., scones are drier and larger, and typically sweet.
British scones closely resemble a North American biscuit
(many recipes are actually identical) — itself not to be confused with the English biscuit, which equates to the American cookie.
In the United States, scones are drier, larger and typically sweet. Those sold by coffee shops often include fillings such as cranberries, blueberries, nuts, or even chocolate chips. More original fillings include Smarties and M&M's. There are also floral scone mixes available which make scones that taste like the scent of flowers: rose, violet, jasmine, lavender, and orange blossoms are all popular.
British scones frequently include raisins, currants, cheese or dates. In the United States, scones sold by coffee shops often include fillings such as cranberries, blueberries, nuts, or even chocolate chips. However, most fillings tend to be spices, including cinnamon and poppy seeds. In both Britain and the U.S., mass-produced scones tend to be doughier than home-made scones.
In Canada, both tend to be called "biscuits" or "tea biscuits".
In some countries one may also encounter savoury varieties of scone which may contain or be topped with combinations of cheese, onion, bacon etc.
In Scotland and Northern Ireland, savoury varieties of scone include soda scones, also known as soda farls, and potato scones, normally known as tattie scones, which resemble small, thin savoury pancakes made with potato flour and resemble the Jewish latke. Potato scones are most commonly served fried in full a Scottish breakfast or an Ulster fry.
The scone is a basic component of the Cream Tea or Devonshire tea.
The griddle scone
The griddle scone is a variety of scone which is fried rather than baked. In some countries one may also encounter savoury varieties of scone which may contain or be topped with combinations of cheese, onion, bacon etc.
Other common terms include dropped scone, or drop scone, after the method of dropping the batter onto the griddle or frying pan to cook it.
A more recent version of the scone is the 'lemonade scone,' which is made with lemonade and cream instead of butter and milk. However, most fillings tend to be spices, including cinnamon and poppyseed.
Scones around the world
Scones are popular in Ireland as well as England and Scotland, and were chosen as the Republic of Ireland representative for Café Europe during the Austrian Presidency of the European Union in 2006 (the United Kingdom chose shortbread). Scones are also a popular pastry in the Scandinavian countries. Pumpkin scones are a popular variety in Australia, and they became even more popular during the period when Florence Bjelke-Petersen was in the public eye.
In Canada, scones are popular in the Pacific coastal province of British Columbia and widely sold in both bakeries and ordinary grocery stores.
Scones are quite popular in Argentina (brought by Irish and English immigrants and from Welsh immigrants in Patagonia). They are usually accompanied by tea, coffee or mate.
Round-shaped British scones can resemble North American biscuits in appearance, but scones rely on cold butter for their delicate, flaky texture, while biscuits are more often made with shortening and are crumbly rather than flaky. Also, while scones are served with coffee and tea or as a dessert, biscuits are served more as a side bread often with breakfast.
In some US states in the Mountain West region, especially Utah and Idaho, a "scone" commonly refers to a deep fried flattened bread which serves as the basis for "Navajo" tacos and is commonly consumed by itself with honey butter. It is similar to frybread or sopaipilla.