In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
Work in the butter with a fork just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's ok for some large chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
In another mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and milk. Stir in the fruit, chips, and /or nuts, if using them.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
Scrape the dough onto a floured pan or a parchment lined baking sheet, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5" circle; or a 6" circle ( if you've added fruit, nuts, etc. ). The circles should be about 3/4" thick.
Using a knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
Carefully, pull the wedges away form the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.
Sprinkle scones with coarse sugar ( or cinnnamon ), if desired.
Place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered.
While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 400º F.
Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm.
To store scones, cool them in a wire rack. When they're completely cool, wrap in plastic and keep at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Notes: To make free-form rather than wedge-shaped scones, use a large ice cream scoop or spoon, dollop the scone dough in a 1/3 -cupfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Scones can be frozen. To reheat frozen scones, tent them lightly with foil and place them in a preheated 350º F oven for about 20 minutes.