Posted by: A Part of the Solution | January 18, 2012

Breakfast Scones My Way

I grew up eating scones. We had scones at breakfast way more often than we ever ate biscuits. And the scones were delicious: every single time.

You don’t have to be of Scottish descent to appreciate a decent scone. You do have to catch scones soon after they come out of the oven, though. Otherwise their slightly sweet, tender-crisp character becomes a mess of dense, dry crumbs. No, really. I once tried to eat a scone at the British Museum in London, at about 2pm. Boy did that experiment in ecumenical dining learn me a good lesson.

Scones, as those of you who patronize (or just walk by the picture windows of) modern coffee shops well know, come in all different flavor combinations. As well, most of the scones in America today are approximately the size and mass of a Prius. Happily, the home baker has quite a bit of individual control over both those aspects of sconage (sconerie?).

Cut this in half for groups of four or fewer. Suggested variations given below the main recipe.


4 cups, 20 oz, all purpose unbleached flour

1/3 cup, 2.35 oz, sugar–flavored sugars like brown, vanilla, lemon and orange are all good here

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

12 TBSP butter, or butter and shortening, or butter and lard, or Earth Balance–cold and cut into little cubes

1 TBSP vinegar


15 TBSP milk or cream, or non-dairy alternative (i.e. to make a cup, 8 oz, of liquid)

2 eggs, lightly beaten OR 3 TBSP ground flax meal beaten with 5 TBSP water until goopy and foamy

3/4 cup, 5 oz, currants or raisins

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Whisk dry ingredients through salt together in a largish mixing bowl. Add the fat next and cut it into the flour mixture with a couple of knives, or use your fingers to split and flatten the fat and work the flour into it, or use a food processor and give the ingredients 10 X 1 second pulses.  You want no pieces of fat larger than a green pea when you’re done. Toss your dried fruit with the flour-and-fat mixture. Beat the eggs (or their alternative) into the clabbered milk, cream or what-have you.

Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredient mixture all at once. Using a fork, stir the dries into the wet–in as few strokes as possible, lifting from the bottom and the sides to incorporate more of the dry ingredients each time. Before you’ve got all the dry bits worked in, dump your scone dough onto a flat work surface. Knead the rest of the dry ingredients into the dough mass. Pat the dough out into two circles, each about 8″ (20 cm) in diameter. Slice the circles into twelve, or eight, wedges. Place the scones on ungreased cookie sheets, about half an inch (1.25 cm) apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on the top. Serve at once with whatever you like best.

Scone Variations


Add 1 tsp powdered ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom and 3 TBSP chopped crystallized ginger to the dry ingredients

(Add one inch (2.5 cm) grated fresh ginger to the wet ingredients) optional but very effective

Use chopped dried apricots in place of the raisins or currants in the master recipe

Cherry Almond:

Add 1/2 tsp almond extract to the wet ingredients

Use chopped dried tart cherries in place of the raisins or currants in the master recipe

(Press slivered almonds into the tops of the scones before baking) optional



  1. Ooh, scones! How I love thee!

    • Yup. Fast. Easy. Reliably delectable. Cranberry pecan are also good. As are lemon blueberry (with lemon zest and frozen blueberries of course).

  2. I’ve done the frozen blueberry lemon zest ones before – they are deelish. Definitely want to try doing the cherry ones. Yum!

    • The cherry ones never even make it to lunch time. They’re just too darned good. And you, of course, could always chop crystallized ginger up, and squeeze the juice of freshly grated ginger into the liquids (and substitute lemon juice for the vinegar here), add the lemon zest and you’ll be having ginger-lemon scones. The plu-poerfect vehicle for lemon-ginger curd!!!

  3. Almond. *droooool*…..

    • Yup. But you could also praliné some pecans, chop them, use vanilla sugar and a little vanilla in liquid ingredients to make yourself a pecan praline scone of some real distinction.

  4. Thank you for the scone recipes! We are working on opening our own bed and breakfast in Virginia on the historic property where James Madison was born. So I am always on the lookout for some really good recipes for breakfast!

    • I’m glad they work for you. There’s lots of food here focused on breakfast. Look around. Ask questions. I’m delighted to be of use.

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