Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.
I asked the maid in dulcet tone
To order me a buttered scone
The silly girl has been and gone
And ordered me a buttered scone.
Who Invented the Scone?
Were scones invented in Scotland or Ireland—or perhaps England? No one knows for sure. The first known mention of them in print is in 1513 from a Scottish poet. But what if those who first made them didn't have writing skills? In the 16th century, there was no Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, no weekly food columns in the daily newspaper, and no Food Network. A mostly illiterate populace would not and could not have recorded recipes for the daily nosh with tea.
What of Wales? Has anyone even considered Wales? The Welsh have a tradition of cooking small round loaves of bread in ovens or on bakestones. Some say that the name “scone” is from the “Scone of Destiny” a place on which Scottish kings were crowned. Still, others point to the Gaelic “sgonn” (rhymes with gone).
Scones for Every Month
Wherever they originated, we know that scones were first made with oats, shaped in a round, cut into wedges, and then baked.
Today scones are not merely a 4 o'clock teatime treat. They appear daily in thousands of bakeries and coffee shops around the world and can be enjoyed with any meal of the day, or for dessert.
I thought it would be fun to create one dozen types of scones, one for each month of the year, using traditional flavors and seasonal holiday fruits. Here's the lineup:
- January: White chocolate and peppermint
- February: Cherry and dark chocolate
- March: Apricots and white chocolate
- April: Rhubarb and orange
- May: Strawberries and vanilla
- June: Pineapple and coconut
- July: Peaches and ginger
- August: Blueberries and lemon
- September: Apples and cinnamon
- October: Pumpkin and walnuts
- November: Carrot and raisin
- December: Cranberries and milk chocolate
January: White Chocolate Peppermint
We start the year with peppermint, a wintertime flavor for sure. Gayle, the author of the blog Pumpkin 'n' Spice has created a fluffy scone with a tender crumb, sprinkled with crushed candy canes (you still have some from Christmas, don't you?) and a white chocolate drizzle.
February: Cherry and Dark Chocolate
In the United States, the month of February is when we recognize the birthday of George Washington, our first president. There is a fable about George as a lad chopping down a cherry tree. I doubt that the story is true, but somehow the connection between Washington and cherries is stuck in our minds, so with February come cherries. And everyone knows that cherries are almost perfect. They become perfectly perfect when paired with dark chocolate.
For this cherry and dark chocolate scone, I adapted a recipe from the King Arthur Flour website. In place of the recommended 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, use 3/4 cup dried cherries.
March: Apricots and White Chocolate
Yes, I recognize that fresh apricots are not available in the month of March, but they were my Dad's favorite fruit, and his birthday was in March. Every year instead of a birthday cake Mom made for him a birthday pie filled with dried apricots that were simmered and reconstituted in orange juice. Those pies were so sweet and tangy, I can still taste them. In my mind, March and apricots go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Read More From Delishably
In 2010, Saving Room for Dessert was a part-time hobby for Tricia. Her passion for cooking and baking with fresh natural ingredients has now blossomed into a full-time job as a professional photographer, recipe developer, and blogger.
Her apricot scones are not made in the traditional way of mounding the dough into a round and then slicing into wedges. After mixing the dough, she rolls it out to a rectangle, sprinkles on the dried apricots, and then folds the dough over several times to create layers in the same way that croissants are formed. When they rise in the oven the buttery layers puff, creating nooks and crannies for all of that delicious almond-flavored icing.
The only change that I would recommend is the addition of 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips along with the dried apricots.
April: Rhubarb and Orange
Did you know rhubarb is not a fruit? Despite its common use in “all things dessert-like,” it's actually a vegetable. Botanically speaking, fruits are ripened things that contain seeds. That’s why tomatoes are technically a fruit, as are peppers, cucumbers, and squash. Rhubarb is a vegetable, like celery. Rhubarb is one of the first crops of the year, its pink buds often push up through the earth when there is still snow on the ground, so rhubarb is my choice for April scones.
These rhubarb orange scones by Seasons in Vermont are slightly tart, a little sweet, and perfectly delicious.
May: Strawberries and Vanilla
Fans of the Father Brown mystery books by G. K. Chesterton or the BBC television series of the same name are no doubt familiar with Mrs. McCarthy. She is the parish secretary, fact-checker for Father Brown, his aide and confidante, and she who ensures that he eats. She is an admirable cook and has a tendency to brag about her award-winning strawberry scones.
In her blog, Olla-Podrida, Pattie Tierney shares her concept of Mrs. McCarthy's strawberry scones. See the tender crumbs and the glistening crust of sugar sprinkles? Split them while still warm, insert a large dollop of whipped cream, and you will have the most amazing strawberry shortcake.
June: Pineapple and Coconut
June brings us summer vacations, and what is more summery than a scone bursting with the tropical flavors of pineapple and coconut?
Amy is a full-time food blogger, cookbook author, and teacher of baking classes. While reminiscing about a Hawaiian vacation with her parents and grandparents, she concocted these healthy pineapple coconut scones. Yes, I said healthy—no refined sugar or flour, only 2 tablespoons of butter, and 144 calories per scone.
July: Peaches and Ginger
Danielle has lived a life that most of us can only dream of. Her parents' work as missionaries and her travels for education, business, and pleasure have taken her around the globe—from Papua New Guinea to Midwest America, then China and here and there in Europe. She has a love for food and enjoys trying new tastes and then recreating them in her own kitchen.
These peach-ginger scones are a recent discovery from her neighborhood coffee shop in East Nashville.
August: Blueberries and Lemon
Jessica admits that once upon a time she was intimidated by scones; she thought they were fussy and difficult to make. And then one day she put on her big girl boots and gave it a try and found to her delight that they are so easy! She says "the only trick to making scones is that you need to be extra gentle and not over-work the dough because that will result in a tough, brick of a scone. Yuck. Be super gentle and you’ll have tender, perfect slightly crumbly scones every time."
In my corner of the world, August is blueberry month. Blueberries and lemon scones just shout summer, don't they? The sweetness of the berries and the tartness of the lemon are perfect compliments to each other.
September: Apples and Cinnamon
September = back-to-school = apples for the teacher. In addition, September is when fresh apples begin to ripen and are ready for harvest. It seems the perfect fruit to add to our calendar of baked treats.
Scott and Chris are the husband and wife team behind the food blog The Café. Chris is the cook, recipe developer, and food stylist while Scott handles photography, editing and a zillion other behind the scene tasks (including lots of taste-testing).
Their recipe for ridiculously easy cider-glazed apple scones is based on a technique that was devised by the staff of Cooks Illustrated. CI made a simple biscuit; Chris elevated it with the addition of fresh apple and a luxurious apple cider glaze that not only adds a layer of flavor but makes these scones drop-dead gorgeous.
October: Pumpkin and Walnuts
October is Autumn, Halloween, and (of course) pumpkins. Here's a traditional scone recipe with the sweet flavor and color of pumpkin.
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 cube) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small dice
- 1/3 cup buttermilk or 1/3 cup milk plus ½ teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spread walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden, toasted, and fragrant, about 5-6 minutes. Watch them closely—they can go from beautiful to burnt in a matter of seconds. When done, remove from the pan and set aside.
- Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2 or 3 times to combine. Add butter cubes and pulse until coarse crumbs form, about 5 or 6 pulses. (Alternatively, you can combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and use a pastry blender to cut in the butter.
- If you used a food processor, remove flour/butter mixture to a large mixing bowl.
- Stir together the milk and pumpkin puree. Make a well in the center of the butter/flour mixture and pour the milk/pumpkin in. Add the toasted (and cooled) walnuts.
- Stir gently with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon just until combined. Don’t overmix.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead 2 or 3 times to form a cohesive dough. Gently pat into a round mound (slightly higher in the center). With a sharp knife or bench scraper cut the mound into 12 equal wedges.
- Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove scones from baking sheet to a cooling rack.
- When the scones are cool drizzle them with maple glaze from Pinch of Yum.
November: Carrot and Raisin
Denay believes in simplicity—good food made easily without dozens of ingredients and 100 steps. If you love carrot cake you will love these little breads. They are tender and moist, sweet with carrots and coconut, spicy with a healthy dose of cinnamon, crunchy with a topping of walnuts, and tangy with a cream cheese drizzle reminiscent of the thick frosting on a two-layer carrot cake.
December: Cranberry and Milk Chocolate
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon shortening or coconut oil
- Mix flour and baking powder. In the large bowl of an electric mixer beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add sugar and beat 2 to 3 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Scrape sides of bowl; reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, mix just until blended. Scrapes sides of the bowl again and add yogurt. Mix just until blended.
- Sprinkle cranberries over the dough and using a rubber spatula fold in gently.
- Scoop 1/3 cupfuls of dough and drop about 2 inches apart onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover scones and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. and bake about 13 minutes longer until pale golden brown.
- While scones are cooling, place milk chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate chips in 30-second increments until melted. (Be careful not to overheat!) Add shortening while the chocolate is still warm. Stir.
- When the scones are cool drizzle them with melted chocolate.
© 2019 Linda Lum