Scones are one of my absolute favorite foods.  I think that’s because it’s one of those British foods that synchronizes perfectly with my Southern heritage!  No, you don’t serve these with sausage patties and red-eye gravy (which I never particularly liked, anyway).  And, for heaven’s sake, you definitely don’t have these with your morning coffee (yeah, Starbucks, I’m looking at you!).

No, scones are an afternoon pick-me-up, at minimum.  Done indulgently, they’re an afternoon feast!  On the weekend, there is nothing the mister and I love quite so much as going out for afternoon tea with scones, sandwiches and tiny cakes.  Add a couple of newspapers and we can while away a couple of hours, refilling our tea pots and nibbling on tasty treats.

I’ve been working on this recipe for a while, trying to make a scone that had a little bit of holiday spice without turning into a ginger- or cinnamon-fest.  Which is why I love mixed spice – it has a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg in it, but has an earthiness that keeps it from tasting like apple pie spices.  These scones are mildly spiced for a little bit of scent.  Light and fluffy, you can feel free to indulge in two … or three … without feeling like you have a big bread brick in your stomach.

Find yourself some Cornish clotted cream retailers online – trust me on this, it’s not a good scone without dollops of clotted cream – and the best strawberry jam you can find.  Then dive in!!  Make ahead and treat yourself following an afternoon spent shopping or wrapping.

Mildly Spiced Holiday Scones

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice (heaping half-teaspoon)
  • 5 1/2 oz. chilled butter, cubed
  • 1 handful currants, golden raisins or a mixture of both
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk – seriously, do get some buttermilk for this recipe – it makes all the difference
  • 2 eggs
  • a dash of milk

Preheat oven to 425 F and prepare a cookie sheet by lining it with a sheet of parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and mixed spice to sift.  Add the chilled butter and pulse until thoroughly combined and you can see the flour has turned into pea-size bits.  Pour into a large mixing bowl and toss with the raisins and/or currants, then form a well for the wet ingredients.  In a 2-cup measuring pitcher, measure out the buttermilk, then add the eggs and use a fork to blend together before pouring into the wet ingredients.  Toss and mix until thoroughly combined, but try not to overwork the flour – you don’t want to develop the gluten, you want to keep it nice and light.  The final mixture will be a little crumbly, but will hold together when you squeeze it.  Dust your work surface with a little flour, then tip out the dough and form into a disc.  Use your rolling pin to smooth it out into a 1″ thick disc, then use your hands to smooth the edges.

Use a 2″ fluted cutter to cut out your scones and line them up on the baking sheet, about an inch apart.  Try to be as efficient with the dough as you can so that you don’t have to work it too much (there are some bakers who don’t like to reform the scraps, but I say “waste not, want not”).  Gently squeeze the scraps together, flatten and cut until you’ve used all your dough.

Lastly, pour a couple of tablespoons of milk into the same pitcher you used for the buttermilk, swish around with a pastry brush and brush the tops of the scones, then pop into the oven for  20 minutes until lightly golden on top.

Serve warm with clotted cream and jam.

Mildly Spiced Holiday Scones scones with jam