2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk, cream, or a combination
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat in the oven.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl. Use your fingertips to work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture just holds together. Working the mixture as little as possible, add 1/2 cup milk and mix until it forms into a soft, slightly sticky ball. Add more milk if needed to reach desired consistency.
Place the dough on a very lightly floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, gently roll the dough to a 1-inch thick slab. Slice the dough into triangles with a floured knife or bench scraper, or dip a biscuit cutter in flour and cut out the individual scones.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and arrange the scones on it. Bake 8 minutes, turn the scones over, and bake another 4 to 6 minutes, or until just barely brown.
Serve with butter, preserves, and freshly whipped cream.