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Easy Wholemeal Molasses Scones Recipe

Yvonne Spence loves to create healthy recipes and believes we don't have to give up enjoyment when we give up refined sugar.

Wholemeal molasses scone with greek yogurt and strawberries.

Wholemeal molasses scone with greek yogurt and strawberries.

Scone Baking

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 afterward, 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's scones that were 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.)

You can also eat molasses scones with raspberries.

You can also eat molasses scones with raspberries.

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.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

10 min

20 min

around 6–8 scones


  • 8oz / 225g / 2 cups wholewheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • half a teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 ounces / 50g / half a stick butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined molasses
  • 1 egg
  • around 3 fluid ounces / 90ml /third of a cup milk, (amount may vary slightly depending on flour)


1. Set oven to 220ºc / 200º fan oven, 450ºF or gas mark 8.

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2. Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into a bowl.


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 below to see how to rub in the 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.

How to Rub in Butter

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.

Note: 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.

The dough on the left is too sticky, the one on the right is right!

The dough on the left is too sticky, the one on the right is 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.


Now either:

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.

Scones hot from the oven: in wedges or hexagons, and with cream and strawberries.

Scones hot from the oven: in wedges or hexagons, and with cream and strawberries.

How much do you know about scones? Take the quiz and find out.

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Scones are traditionally British. In which part of the UK are they thought to have originated?
    • Wales
    • England
    • Scotland
  2. In the English County of Devon, scones are traditionally served with:
    • butter and marmalade
    • Clotted cream and jam
    • Kippers
  3. In parts of Scotland, scones are also known by another name. Is it:
    • bannocks
    • tea cakes
    • scoons
  4. Potato scones are popular in Scotland and Ireland. These are usually:
    • fried and eaten at breakfast
    • cooked in the oven and eaten at lunch time
    • boiled and eaten at tea time
  5. There is a town named Scone. Where is it?
    • Just south of Perth, Australia
    • Just north of Perth, Scotland
    • Just north of Perth, Australia
    • Just south of Perth, Scotland
  6. In 2005 how much did the UK population spend on scones from bakeries and supermarkets?
    • £23 million
    • £56 million
    • £64 million
  7. A dropped scone is not a scone at all, but a Scottish version of which food?
    • pancake
    • crumpet
    • muffin
  8. Scone rhymes with:
    • tone
    • gone
    • either, depending where you live.
  9. What drink is traditionally taken when eating scones?
    • Beer
    • Coffee
    • Tea
  10. In some parts of Scotland, savoury scones are traditionally eaten with:
    • Fish
    • Salted mutton
    • Jellied eels

Answer Key

  1. Scotland
  2. Clotted cream and jam
  3. bannocks
  4. fried and eaten at breakfast
  5. Just north of Perth, Scotland
  6. £64 million
  7. pancake
  8. either, depending where you live.
  9. Tea
  10. Salted mutton

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 3 correct answers: You won't be getting anything to eat with your Earl Grey tea.

If you got between 4 and 6 correct answers: You must be a coffee and muffin person.

If you got between 7 and 8 correct answers: You can have a plain scone with margarine.

If you got 9 correct answers: You can have butter and jam with your scone.

If you got 10 correct answers: You deserve a molasses scone with clotted cream,freshly made strawberry jam and extra strawberries on the side.

Where Scones Are Traditionally Eaten Around the World

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