Great Grandmother McCracken’s Scone Recipe

In response to my blog a friend of mine from High school sent me their family recipe for scones.  Here it is in its entirety: Great Grandma Mc Cracken’s Scones (Name of donor withheld by request.)

(This recipe will serve 5 with leftovers, as you may have noticed.  This recipe is the equivalent of a whole loaf of bread.  I usually cut the ingredient amounts in half for two to four people and make a dozen or so.  See below for how to cut them.)

3 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ cup firm butter or margarine, cut in small pieces (room temperature is firm enough – refrigerated makes for very hard work cutting the butter in)

¾ cup chopped pitted dates or currants (or whole raisins or other dried fruit, chopped)

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1 cup buttermilk (in a pinch, a cup of milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice to curdle it)

1 tablespoon of milk

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed with 2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt until thoroughly blended.  (Or sift them together – the traditional cookbook method.) Using a pastry blender, or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse cornmeal; stir in dried fruit (see end note) and orange peel.  (I use the whisk in an electric mixer for this step, but that’s heretical.)  Make a well in the center of the butter-flour mixture; add buttermilk all at once.  Stir mixture with a fork until dough cleans the sides of the bowl.

Flour your hands.  With your hands, gather dough into a ball.  (Don’t mash it hard, just pat it together.) Sunset Cookbook method: Roll or pat into a ½-inch thick circle and cut into hearts or other shape with a cookie cutter.  Southern biscuit method: Roll or pat into a thinner layer, dust with flour and fold, pat or roll down slightly and cut into squares.  (The cooked scones can be split with your fingers to butter.  It’s an insult to a biscuit cook to use a knife to split a biscuit.)  British method: Roll or pat into two or three dough balls and cut them in quarters or sixths to make thick pie-wedge shaped scones.

Place scones 1 ½ inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet.  Brush tops of scones with milk; sprinkle lightly with cinnamon-sugar mixture.  (I use a shaker for this.)

Bake in 425-degree over for 12 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.

End note: Raisins on the top or bottom of a scone may get burnt and slightly bitter when baked.  My way of preventing this is to use the southern biscuit method and layer the raisins or other fruit between the two layers of dough so they stay moist while baking.

Thanks to my anonymous donor for this recipe.

Your recipes and comments are welcome!

About kunstkitchen

Visual artist and writer hunting words, languages, visions, and insight in my kitchen - connecting Art (Kunst) and culture and slow food cooking. Credits: Do not own a microwave oven and never have. Do not own a food processor. Chopped veggies in a Zen monastery for a weekend. (Seriously) Classically trained artist. Paint and draw with traditional materials. Live in the Northland where it's six months of winter. Appreciate the little things in life. Sharing food and art experiences and the lessons that my talented and generous friends have given me.
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