Scones (either rhyming with “Jones” or “John’s”) are fluffy, buttery quick breads that are originally from the Britain and Ireland area. There are plenty of legends claiming scones are specifically from Scotland, or Wales, or Ireland- and I am not going to pick a side. I will simply say that this wonderful recipe was given to me by my Irish sister-in-law, whose mother brought it from County Mayo, on the west coast of Ireland. These light and airy scones are the perfect accompaniment to some hot tea (with creamy milk of course!). Making foods from other countries is a tangible way that kids of all ages can open their eyes differences, and widen their palate. I haven’t met a kid yet who doesn’t like bread, so I propose scones as your first culinary experience of eating your way around the world.
Before the mid-1800’s, when baking soda and baking powder were invented and later popularized, scones were made with burnt seaweed, sour milk, and acidic fruits (such as currants) which acted as the rising agents. The dough was wrapped in cabbage leaves and cooked over hot coals, and later over a griddle on a wood-burning stove. Nowadays the recipe as evolved to use baking powder and baking soda, and buttermilk- and most often scones are baked in ovens.
1.5 c of flour
2 T each of brown sugar and white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
4 T butter
Your choice of add-ins and flavors: blueberries, cranberries, raisins, mini- chocolate chips, zest of lemon or orange
1/2 c buttermilk
(if no buttermilk is available, add lemon juice to milk and let sit for 30 minutes until it curdles)
1) Whisk flour, sugars, baking powder and baking soda together.
2) Cut in the butter, and work in with hands until it’s crumbly. This is the part that kids love to do! Get your hands in there until all of the cold butter is worked in.
3) Mix in the flavors you chose: we split our batch into two and did blueberry with lemon zest in half, and cranberry and orange zest in the other. * Allergy note: I did a completely separate batch for my allergy daughter with almond milk (instead of buttermilk) and a vegan butter substitute. This recipe also works wonderfully for gluten-free diets! My sister-in-law replaces half of the buttermilk with coffee to cut the aftertaste of the gf flour.
5) Form 2 balls and flatten them. If you would like to time these to serve them warm, you can prepare them up until this point, and the cover with saran wrap and pop them in the fridge until your guests arrive.
6) Cut them into wedges. These 2 circles (above) make up a whole recipe. I cut each circle in half, and then each half into thirds.
7) Place them on parchment paper, onto a cookie sheet. Brush the tops with buttermilk and then sprinkle with sugar (another great job for kids!)
8) Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden at 350 (convection oven) or 375 (regular oven). Serve with milky tea- for our little ones we warm up milk in fancy tea cups and pour in just a spot of tea.