Biscuits and scones are classified as “quick breads,” a term used to refer to breads that rise due to chemical leaveners like baking soda and baking powder. Both are also made using the same essential ingredients – flour, butter (or other fat) and liquid.
Biscuits have a British history but early colonists in the South used buttermilk, lard, butter and soft wheat that were abundant in the area. Over time, this fluffy layered bread became the Southern biscuit.
In the pre-Civil War in the South, the biscuit was more of a Sunday treat. Early versions of it used fast cooking methods and based on available ingredients. Examples of these were sweet potato biscuits, cat-head biscuits and the beaten biscuits. In 1883, when White Lily made available soft winter wheat in Knoxville, TN, the biscuit became lighter due to the less amount of protein in the self-rising wheat.
The very first scones were baked in cast iron pans in the British Isles. In Scotland, scones are closely related to the Bannock, a griddle-baked flatbread.
While the Southern biscuits were no doubt fluffier and layered using locally available ingredients, in New England certain communities made “biscuits” in the same way it’s made in England. They were more dense than how they make them in the South, using eggs or cream as the liquid providing a creamier flavor than the buttermilk biscuits.
Over time, people started to name these dense biscuits as “scones.” These scones have more sugar than the classic version and the sugar in the dough renders a crusty outside and tender interior.
There are countless biscuit recipes across the South, and there are also just as many scone recipes all over the country. Savory scones with herb and cheese fillings are perfect for breakfast, while sweet scones with fruits and nuts are still the most popular scones in the US.
Scones can satisfy cravings for something sweet but not overly sweet. Unlike chocolate, cake or muffins, scones are always a lighter dessert that can be balanced out with many kinds of food items. You can pair your sweet cones with the following:
Jam or Honey
If you want a filling breakfast with a cup of coffee, you can spread some jam or drizzle honey on your scones.
Diced Fruits and Whipped Cream
Spread your chopped fruits like apples, peaches and strawberries over your scones, and then top them off with whipped cream.
Chocolate Chips or Ganache
Chocolate simply makes everything taste better, including scones. Drizzle some chocolate ganache or place chocolate chips over them for a delightful treat.
If you want your scones to have a zesty flavor lemon curd will do exactly that.
Butter is always an excellent choice if you want the mild sweetness of your scones to be the star of the show. Serve with tea for the perfect complement.
Powdered sugar is a good choice to use on your scones because of its subtle sugary taste.
Icing or Glaze
If you have some leftover buttercream, strawberry or vanilla icing, spread some over your scones.
There are a lot of options when it comes to biscuit pairings but here are the top choices:
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup tastes better when served with a fluffy and freshly made biscuit.
Biscuits and gravy is a match made in heaven and when you add sausage to the mix, well, you know you’re in for a hearty and delicious meal.
Meatloaf is a comfort food that is simply so much better when served with fluffy biscuits.
A hearty stew with either pork or beef is a classic pairing for biscuits.
Biscuits and fried chicken make a lot of sense.
Whether you prefer barbecued or baked ribs, it always does great when paired with biscuits.
If you want an easy biscuit-based meal, try it with pulled pork.
You can find biscuits and scones in many bakeries in the US. Some also specialize in pretzels, like The Pretzel Bakery, but let’s save that for another post.
Watch this video of British people trying out biscuits and gravy: