Growing up in Ireland, our neighbor made the best scones. They were simple, but always perfectly executed. Buttery, and warm on the inside and crumbly on the outside, I remember thinking she never needed to change the recipe. They had little raisins on the insides, which would plump up when cooked in the oven and become juicier and more flavorful. They were just perfect, as they were.
A Zesty Addition
It’s far from traditional, but you’ll love the sweet and citrus combination of flavors working to balance out the heavier, buttery flavor of the scone. Orange zest gives a citrus element to these scones, which pairs beautifully with the dates for a lighter, more interesting flavor.
Why Dates Instead of Raisins?
Here, I’ve added organic dates in place of the raisins. Dates are one of my favorite ingredients to add, due to the additional nutrients they provide. They’ve got more potassium per ounce than a banana, and are filled with antioxidants. I use Date Lady organic dates, a variety from California that are some of the best tasting dates I’ve tried.
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4 cups flour, plus a little more
2 tablespoons sugar, plus more
2 tablespoons baking powder
4 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, in small cubes
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons orange zest
1 cup cold heavy cream
10-12 chopped organic dates
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine 4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Use your hands to mix in the cold butter. Do not overmix. You need chunks of butter in the dough to get those delicious layers.
- In another bowl, mix the eggs and heavy cream with the speed on low. Once it’s blended together, add the orange zest and mix.
- Add the two mixtures together, combining until blended. Again, be sure not to overmix.
- Finally, add the chopped dates. Mixture will be sticky. At this point, you can sprinkle in a little extra flour – not more than a tablespoon.
- Lightly knead the dough on a floured surface. Do not overwork the dough.
- With floured hands, roll the dough out until it is ¾ inch thick.
- Cut the dough into round mounds and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Brush the egg wash on top of the scones and finish with a sprinkle of sugar.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned on top and fully baked.
- Serve with butter and marmalade or jam.