I've had a lot of bad scones in my life. For a while, I thought I hated scones in general. It only took one good bite to turn me around. As it turns out, the scones I'd encountered before just weren't made right. They were dry, dense, crumbly, everything a scone shouldn't be. It's a shame how misrepresented these little guys often are. I'll just make my own from here on out.
2 cups flour
0.25 cups sugar
3 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp salt
0.25 cup butter
0.75 cup cream
1 tsp vanilla
A little extra cream for brushing on
Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into pea-sized chunks and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, a potato masher, knives, or some careful finger movements - the mixture should have about the consistency of damp sand. Whisk the cream, egg, and vanilla together in a measuring cup until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the mixing bowl with the dry and stir gently until a dough starts to form. With your hands, press the dough together and knead about five times. It's okay if a little of the dry mix never gets incorporated - it's more important that you don't overknead the dough or your scones won't have the right texture. Split the dough into four equal parts. Take one part and press it into a thick disk on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. With a butter knife, cut the disk into quarters. Spread them apart slightly. Repeat with the other three parts. Brush cream on the tops of the scones and bake for 10 minutes.
These scones are best about half an hour after they're baked, but they hold up well if stored in an airtight container; I always go with ziplocks. You can eat them plain - they're mild and sweet - but I prefer them with something tangy and fruity. Lemon curd and balsamic strawberry jam are both excellent options.