Easy Wholemeal Molasses Scones Recipe
Once when we were children, our mother was ill in bed, and, presumably because our father thought it was the thing to do if you were looking after children, he baked scones.
For years afterwards, we would ask our mother, “When are you going to be ill again so Daddy will make scones again?”
I can’t actually remember what our father’s scones tasted like. They must have been okay or we wouldn’t have eaten them, but I’m fairly sure they were not exceptional and definitely they were no tastier than my mother’s. It was our father baking scones that was exceptional. As far as I’m aware, he never has done so again.
But however exciting his scones were, when as an adult I tried to bake scones and they came out of the oven hard and flat, it was my mother I turned to for advice. As you can see in the photo above, following her advice does create well-risen and fluffy scones. (If I had some way of letting you know how good they also taste I’d do that, but you’ll have to follow this recipe and to yourself to find out.)
How to make great scones: my mother’s advice.
- Have the oven very hot.
The first thing I was doing wrong when making scones was that I didn’t have the oven hot enough. The oven needs to be very hot for scones, at 220ºc/200ºfan oven, 450ºF or gas mark 8. This makes them rise quickly and give a soft texture.
- Roll the dough only very lightly or pat it instead.
I had been rolling my scone dough far too much, getting it smooth and flat and pretty. If my mother makes a large batch of scones she only rolls very lightly, and for smaller quantities she usually just pats the dough out with her hands. It needs to be thick – around an inch or 2.5 centimetres or more to get a soft scone.
- Have the butter at room temperature, or use soft butter or margarine.
If you try to rub in butter that’s hard from the fridge it won’t be evenly distributed through the flour, and that doesn’t make good scones. You can either use a spreadable butter or margarine or leave your butter out for a while to let it soften.
- Scone dough is softer than pastry dough, but it is firmer than muffins or cake.
The mixture should be soft and should hold together to easily form into a ball. In my early attempts at making scones the dough was often too wet and sticky so the scones didn’t rise.
Nutrients in Molasses
These scones are sweetened with molasses instead of sugar, which, along with the spices, gives the scones a gingerbread flavour. Molasses is what is left behind when sugar is made from cane, and includes all the nutrients! White sugar has no nutrients, but molasses contains iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium and calcium. So not only does it taste good, it is good for you.
- 8oz/225g/2 cups wholewheat flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- half a teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 oz/50g/half a stick butter or margarine
- 2 tablespoons unrefined molasses
- 1 egg
- around 3 fl oz/90ml/third of a cup milk, (amount may vary slightly depending on flour)
To accompany your scones
Serve with strawberries or raspberries and greek yogurt or cream. Or you can go the more traditional way and serve with butter and jam.
1) Set oven to 220ºc/200ºfan oven, 450ºF or gas mark 8.
2) Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into a bowl.
Video on how to rub in butter
3) Add the butter. First cut it into small pieces and then rub it in until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
If you are not used to baking, watch the video opposite to see how to rub in butter. (It's very easy, and the video is short!)
The photos below also show you what to watch out for when rubbing in. After you have rubbed in for a while, shake the bowl and any larger lumps will come to the top, as in the first photo. The butter is still unevenly mixed and needs more rubbing in. The picture on the right shows the mixture when ready.
4) Add the molasses. To get it to slide more easily off the spoon, first warm the spoon in hot water and then dry it before dipping into the molasses.
5) With the tablespoon, mix in the molasses until it is all coated in flour. Then use your fingers to rub it in more thoroughly.
(My mother then adds the molasses along with the butter, but this gets a bit sticky so I adapted her method a little.)
6) Add the milk a little at a time to get the right consistency. The dough should be soft, but not sticky.
If it is too sticky, as mine was, just add a little more flour. If it is too hard, then add a little more milk.
It is now ready for rolling or patting out.
The photo on the left below shows a dough that is too sticky. Your dough should look like the one on the right.
7) Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll lightly or just pat to flatten it to around 2.5 cm or 1 inch thick.
Shape it into a circle and cut the circle into eight wedges
Use a cutter to cut the scones into shapes. Using this method you will need to collect together the scraps of dough after you have cut the first batch and then reroll and cut out again. Or you can simply roll the dough between your hands into a round shape, as shown in the picture.
Hexagonal cutters are a good option because they need fewer times of rolling out.
8) Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
You can cut the scones into wedges or with a cutter.
Nutruitional Value for one scone when mixture is divided into 8 scones
|Serving size: One Scone (59 grams)|
|Calories from Fat||63|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 7 g||11%|
|Saturated fat 4 g||20%|
|Carbohydrates 26 g||9%|
|Sugar 4 g|
|Fiber 3 g||12%|
|Protein 5 g||10%|
|Cholesterol 35 mg||12%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Molasses scones are rich in iron.
One scone contains 9% of daily iron requirements. Eating strawberries along with the scone, as shown in the photographs, increases the absorption of that iron.
How much do you know about scones? Take the quiz and find out.
Traditionally, where scones are eaten around the world
Hungary has a pastry similar to scones, known as pogácsa. These are usually savoury and eaten with toppings such as cheese.
More by this Author
A modern slant on the classic British mince pie - mincemeat muffins are easy to make and fun to eat. The recipe includes step-by step instructions with photographs to guide you.
Many people are put off baking bread because they expect it to be difficult, but bread making can be easy and fun. Find out how in this recipe.
A healthy and delicious recipe for carrot cake, made with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. This cake is suitable for diabetics.