DEAR SUN SPOTS: Does anyone have a tried and true recipe for scones?

— Barbara, Turner

ANSWER: I’m a firm believer that life isn’t worth living if you don’t make time for afternoon tea and a fresh hot scone on occasion. In Ireland, scones are enjoyed with a generous spread of butter then a layer of homemade jam is added before it’s finished off with a spoonful or two of freshly whipped cream!

In case anyone is wondering what the difference is between a biscuit and a scone, in most cases, a biscuit is either plain or savory, but when it’s sweetened with sugar and fruit or other sweet ingredients like chocolate or spices, it becomes a scone. I even have a little scone cookbook to recommend: Simply Scones, by Leslie Weiner and Barbara Albright, published by St. Martin’s Press in 1988. It’s my scone “bible”.

Here’s a recipe for Classic Cream Scones from that much-used little book to get you started:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly butter a baking sheet. In a large bowl, sift together 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cut in 1/3 cup chilled butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup cream, 1 egg, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pat the dough to 1/2 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with a floured round cookie cutter or a glass, or cut into triangles as you would a pie. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack. Serve warm. This recipe makes 1 dozen scones.

Readers, what are your favorite scone recipes? If you enjoy cooking (or just eating) be sure to read EATS on Sundays in The Sun Journal’s Sunday bPlus section. You’ll find great recipes there!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: My bathroom wash basin has rust spots around the drain. Is there anything I can do to remove them?

You are the thing I read in the morning. You do such a wonderful job.

— Theresa, Lewiston

ANSWER: It’s so nice to have so many fans! Your letters make me so happy, even when the question is extra challenging.

For those rust spots, try a paste made with baking soda and a bit of dish soap. Cover the spots with that paste and leave it for at least 10 minutes then scrub. If this doesn’t work, you may want to try a pumice stick. They are available in most hardware stores. To use, just dampen it a little. If you want to pull out the big guns, a product I have had much success with is Iron Out. You use it like any other powdered cleanser. This is available at hardware stores also, as well as big-box stores. Readers, if you have other solutions, let’s hear from you!

Use the QR code to go to Sun Spots online for additional information and links. This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can be emailed to [email protected], tweeted @SJ_SunSpots or posted on the Sun Journal Facebook page at Journal. This column can also be read online at We’ve joined Pinterest at photo photo

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.