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They’re fattening too! Why scones are Britain’s most controversial food

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Scones with Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream

Are you sitting down – perhaps with a sugary West Country bakery item to help with the shock? For it turns out that scones are … fattening. A Food Standards Agency (FSA) report has found that the average scone contains 408 calories, with the best – sorry, most fattening – clocking up a remarkable 756 calories and 39.2g of sugar. Add jam and cream to the largest scone tested, and you are talking more than 900 calories.

At a time when the poor scone already has enough on its plate, such as looking very old-fashioned in an age of freakshakes and mille crepe cakes, this report will only deepen the gloom in Britain’s chintzy tea rooms. How then do we secure the scone’s future? Here is a five-point plan:

Agree how to pronounce it Britain’s oppressed minority (42% in a 2016 YouGov poll; predominantly C2DEs), who sensibly pronounce scone to rhyme with bone, find ordering them in public intimidating, lest they be corrected by their “betters”, who insist it rhymes with gone. Open up the scone world by ending this middle-class bias.

Watch: How to Make Mixed Berry Scones with Lemon-Ginger Glaze [My Recipes]

Ban clotted cream Special dispensation could be made to continue limited licensed sales in the West Country, but elsewhere, clotted cream does not fly. Cream should not come with a crust, and scalding it obviously gives it a bizarre, curdled flavour. Clean, whipped double cream is the progressive alternative.

Don’t put it on a diet This report will inevitably inspire a wave of “skinny” scones: high-protein/low-carb versions made with chickpeas and served with half-fat crème fraiche and unsweetened goji berry compote. That will suck any joy out of the scone, as would shrinking them. Instead, have them as a hefty indulgence and …

Scones with jam and tea with milk close-up on the table. horizontal

© Getty
Scones with jam and tea with milk close-up on the table. horizontal

… don’t eat them every day It sounds unlikely, but the Nutritional Content of Scones report (lads, you’re looking in the wrong place), focused on Northern Ireland “due to the NI custom of including scones as a mid-morning snack. These are also frequently served at meetings and events.” We have to accept certain foods are rare treats. That, in fact, scarcity heightens enjoyment of them.

Rewind and streamline The most calorific scone surveyed contained fruit, while ludicrous hybrids (Mars scones, Crème Egg scones) unnecessarily load in extra fat and sugar. Scones should be plain: no currants, no glace cherries, no raspberry and white chocolate (22.7g of fat, that one). Instead, for optimum scone pleasure, add cream first, then jam, so that its flavour (raspberry or blackcurrant, preferably) asserts itself before your palate becomes coated in fat. Who could argue with that?

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