Spontaneous Spring Baking (and a nice scone recipe)

This morning I had a million things to do, but there was sun was shining into the kitchen for the first time in days, and it felt so warm and welcoming.  All I needed for complete happiness was a basket of something delicious to go alongside my cup of tea.  In spite of the sun it is a chilly day, so the “basket of something” needed a bit of substance.  Oat-currant scones would be perfect.  Though my pantry was missing two oat-currant scone staples (buttermilk and currants), I whipped some up anyway, substituting normal milk and chopped raisins.   (Raisins need not be chopped, of course, but I am a bit neurotic about food consistency, and for me a raisin is just too big a lump of squishiness to be lurking randomly in a scone.)  They came out beautifully.

But this post  is not about raisins, or even about scones.  It’s about sun and spring, and being led by our delight rather than our to-do list.  Feel like a little soulful baking-for-no-reason?  Then why not treat yourself. Scones take just a few minutes, and fear not–all your work will still be there when you’re done!  But now you’ll have fresh, warm scones to go with it.  Here’s a recipe (adapted from one by Deborah Madison):

Spontaneous Spring Scones for a Sunny, Chilly Morning

1 cup rolled oats, plus more for the cutting board
1 1/2 cups flour (I like to use 1 cup whole wheat pastry, 1/2 cup all purpose, but any combo of these, or all one or the other will do)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small squares
1 large egg
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons buttermilk (or milk, or cream, or a combination of these)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup currents or raisins (chop the raisins into small pieces if you like)–these are optional

Stir the dry ingredients together, then cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla, then add to the dry ingredients.  Stir a few times, then add the currents or raisins if you are using them.  Continue to mix just until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened.  Scatter a layer of oats onto your cutting board, then turn the dough out on top of them and pat it into a 3/4″ thick circle.  Cut into six or eight wedges, and bake until nice and golden brown for 15 minutes (or so) at 425.  I like to put them on a baking stone.  If you have one, put it in the oven before you preheat, and let it heat up for at least 10 minutes.  Then put the scones right onto it.  If using a baking sheet, you don’t need to prepare it–plenty of butter in the scones!

These are good with your favorite jam, of course, but I like them plain, right from the oven.



  1. Yay, scones–and sunshine! Sounds like milk worked just fine, but if you ever do need a substitute for buttermilk, you can add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk and then just wait a few minutes. These acids will sour the milk quickly for use in the recipe. I’ve done this in a pinch when making soda bread, thanks to a tip from my Irish grandma 🙂

  2. Lisa

    While we see the sun here nearly every day (330+ days of sun and currently 84 consecutive without rain) a lovely, cool, late-spring, morning–a respite before the heat of summer locks us into her oven–is indeed a reason to bake up a scrumptious batch of scones. Sipping some delicious vanilla cream tea, and watching the honey butter melt on top of one right now as a cool spring breeze blows in the kitchen window. Thanks for the inspiration!

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