By Ilene Duffy

Ilene Duffy
Issue #136 • July/August, 2012

My friend Alison and I have known each other a long time. We were roommates in college for several years, and then we both had three boys at about the same time and were busy cooking, cleaning, and mothering. She grew up in northern California on her family’s almond and prune farm, so she knew a lot more about self-reliant living than my other roommates and me. While we were in college, she could make a pie crust as good as my mom’s, and that’s saying something. We both enjoy cooking now, maybe even more than we did when our kids were young, and often share recipes via email.

I’m so happy she lives close enough to me now so that we get to meet for a “girls’ day off” quite frequently. She’s so thoughtful and always has a little present for me when we greet. On our last outing, she presented me with a brand new Lodge cast iron scone pan. Got what I wanted! I took it home, washed it, oiled it up with olive oil, and placed it in a warm oven for about 10 minutes. My new scone pan and I were ready to test some new recipes.

While trying the following recipes, I learned a few things, one of which is once you’ve got the wet ingredients incorporated with the dry mixture, you don’t want to handle the dough any more than necessary. It’s kind of like making a pie crust. The less you mess with it, the better. I also learned that it’s better to change plans and make drop scones on a cookie sheet if the dough is too wet to roll out easily on a pastry cloth. The scone pan works great, however, with a dough that is somewhat dry. The peach scone batter made with the recipe below was so moist that I wound up rolling balls of the dough gently by hand and placing them on a baking sheet. They came out just fine and I avoided a frustrating blob of dough stuck to my pastry cloth.

Banana scones

I had a few bananas on the kitchen counter that were past their prime for eating, so I found an easy banana scone recipe to try. Next time I make these, I’ll add some chopped walnuts.

1½ cups flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts, optional
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup banana, mashed
¼ cup milk
¼ cup cold coffee
1 tsp. vanilla


Heat oven to 375° F. Grease and flour a scone pan. In a large bowl, mix flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Add walnuts, if desired. Partially melt the butter in the microwave or on the stove and then add the banana, milk, coffee, and vanilla. Mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix until the dough begins to stick together. Don’t overmix.

Lightly flour a pastry cloth or board and knead the dough about 30 seconds. Roll the dough out about a half inch thick. Cut into wedges and fit a wedge into each section of a scone pan. If there’s extra dough, you can roll a few balls of dough and place them on a baking sheet, flattening them slightly, or place the balls of dough in a muffin pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool in the pan about 10 minutes before serving or transferring to a cooling rack.

These scones are packed with fresh blueberries. Let them cool about 10 minutes
after they come out of the oven before coaxing them out of the scone pan.

Blueberry scones

I love all kinds of berries, but blueberries have got to be one of my favorites. I had some half and half cream that I needed to use up, so this recipe worked out fine to use some ingredients that I had in the house. The next time I make these, I’ll add some cinnamon.

1½ cups flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup butter
1 cup fresh blueberries
¾ cup half-and-half cream
1 egg


Heat oven to 375° F. Grease and flour a scone pan. In a large bowl, mix flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter into mixture. Add blueberries and toss to coat. In a small bowl, beat the cream and egg together. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, stirring until just incorporated. Don’t overmix. On a lightly floured pastry cloth or board, knead 3 or 4 times. Roll the dough gently to a half inch thickness. Cut into wedges. Place wedges in scone pan. Bake about 20 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes before gently cutting around the edges of the scones and then transfer them to cool on a rack or serve warm.

These peach scones will rise and spread while baking, but they easily
come apart while using a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack.

Peach scones

I love peach pie, peach jam, and of course it’s hard to beat fresh summer peaches. But when I tried this recipe, there were no fresh peaches available yet, so I used a can of peaches from my pantry. The end product came out delicious, but I can’t wait to try this recipe again with fresh peaches.

2 cups flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ cup butter
½ cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 medium peaches, peeled and chopped, or a 15 oz. can of peaches, drained and chopped
cinnamon sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 375° F. In a large bowl, combine flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in butter. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture along with the peaches. Don’t overmix. Use spoons to drop the dough onto a baking sheet, or you can flour your hands and roll the dough into 3-inch balls and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon sugar on the scones before baking if desired. Bake 20-25 minutes.

The folks who work for us here at the BHM office had some ideas to add various flavoring pairs to a basic scone recipe. Rhoda’s idea was to add sundried tomatoes, chives, garlic, and olives for a savory treat. Ellen thought grated carrots and raisins would make a great breakfast scone. John likes spicy foods, so he would like a habañero and apricot jam mixture tucked in the middle of scone batter. I’d like to experiment with adding oatmeal, nuts, and raisins for a scone that would make a fine addition to a hearty breakfast. I bet we can come up with enough recipes for another article one of these days.


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