Yvonne Spence loves to create healthy recipes and believes we don't have to give up enjoyment when we give up refined sugar.
A Healthier Recipe for Classic Scotch Pancakes (Dropped Scones)
Scotch pancakes, or dropped scones as they are often known, are similar to American pancakes in that they are thick and spongy. However, while in America pancakes tend to be a breakfast dish, in Scotland dropped scones are traditionally spread with butter and jam and eaten at teatime.
A Teatime Tradition
In Scotland, particularly in workers’ families, dinner was traditionally eaten in the middle of the day, while teatime happened around five or six in the evening. It consisted of a light main course, such as eggs, macaroni cheese or a salad. After this came items such as scones (biscuits to Americans) and pancakes.
Few Scots eat this kind of meal nowadays. Nowadays, if we eat pancakes, it’s likely to be at breakfast as in America or at afternoon tea, which occurs sometime between 2 and 5 pm, as in England.
Afternoon Tea: History and Revival
This English custom began in the mid 19th century. During an era when people were more active than most of us are today, the meal filled the gap between the midday meal and evening meal. Afternoon tea used to be a formal affair for the upper classes, but then it waned in popularity for many years. Lately, the custom has had a revival, with smart hotels serving dainty sandwiches and cakes on three-tier cake-stands, and ladies of the Church Women’s Guild serving home-bakes in church halls.
My Children Discover Scotch Pancakes
I hadn’t made pancakes since I was a teenager, so it was in a church hall that my children ate their first Scotch pancakes. They fell in love. Chocolate cake, fairy cakes and iced buns went unnoticed as the pancakes disappeared. The elderly serving ladies were delighted to see two tiny children with such good appetites!
And I soon relearned how to make pancakes.
Scotch Pancakes are traditionally made with pure white flour and refined sugar, but this recipe has a mix of half white, half wholegrain flour and muscovado sugar.
- The wholegrain flour adds fiber, and making the mixture half and half means it is still light.
- Muscovado sugar has more nutrients than refined sugar, containing calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and iron. It is also very tasty!
- Another possible substitute is agave syrup.
Recipe for Adults and Kids to Cook Together
One of my daughters and her cousin made these pancakes, and they had some fun with them, as you will see!
- 4 ounces/approximately 3/4 cup flour (either half white, half wholegrain as we did, or you could use unbleached white)
- 1 tablespoon muscovado sugar or 1 tablespoon of agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 1/4 pint of milk (you may need a little more or less depending on the flour you use; wholegrain flour needs more than white)
- Oil for frying
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- Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
- Add the sugar (if using.)
- Make a well in the dry ingredients. (Kids love this part.)
- Add the egg and most of the milk (and the agave syrup, if using that). Kids enjoy dropping the egg into the well, and older kids will manage this on their own. Little ones will probably need some help—if you crack the egg into a cup, your little one can tip it from there into the bowl.
- Mix all ingredients till no dry flour is visible, and then beat the mixture until smooth. (The traditional way is with a wooden spoon, but you could do as we did and use electric beaters.)
- The secret of how to make good pancakes is to get the consistency right. In the photos below, the mixture is sticking to the beaters, so it is too thick. The girls added more milk until the mixture dropped easily off a spoon. This is the right consistency.
- Now that the pancakes are the right consistency, it’s time to cook. Add a little oil to a frying pan, or spray lightly.
- Children love to pour the batter onto the pan, and as long as you supervise them closely, they will be safe. Put the pan on a back burner to avoid any risk of the pan tipping over.
Adult and Kids' Jobs
- The girls decided they wanted their pancakes to be perfect circles, so they oiled an egg ring and poured the batter into that.
- If you don’t have an egg ring, you can still make the pancakes: Just drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the pan. Each pancake will need 1 tablespoon of mixture.
- When bubbles form on the top of the pancake, it’s ready to turn.
- Cook for a few moments until the second side is golden brown.
More Fun Pancake Shapes
The girls' circular pancakes came out great, but they wanted more variety, and so we used metal cookie cutters to create different shaped pancakes. Turning the cookie cutter pancakes was a bit of a challenge and required a spatula and a napkin!
However, it’s possible to buy heart-, star- and flower-shaped egg and pancake rings, which would make the job much easier.