Aside from kilts, heather-infused beer, and fantastically imposing claymore swords, I’d say that Scotland’s greatest contribution to the world is the humble — yet hearty! — scone. (Incidentally, Scone is also the name of a Scottish town that dates back to medieval times. Knowing that might come in handy if you’re ever playing a culinary-themed version of Trivia Pursuit.)
Like tea biscuits and muffins, scones fall under the category of “quick breads”: they’re leavened with baking powder/soda rather than yeast, and since they don’t have to rise, they’re quick to make. The biggest difference between scones and their fellow quick breads is that scones are usually cut into pointy shapes rather than dropped into cups or rings that result in round cakes.
While scones can be sweet or savory, for this batch, I opted to go the latter route by omitting any kind of sweetener and instead including oregano and savory potato flour. And in the interest of making the scones more Scottish, I included oats, too. You could even stir a handful of rolled oats into the dough if you’d like.
Oat & Oregano Scones
Makes 16 scones.
1/2 cup potato flour* (NOT potato starch!)
1 cup millet flour*
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour* (I ground up g-f rolled oats in my food processor until I had flour; it takes about 15 seconds)
1/2 cup sorghum flour*
1/2 cup brown rice flour*
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 T. dried oregano
2 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
3/4 cup buttermilk, preferably milk from grass-fed cows
1 stick butter, preferably made with grass-fed cow milk (see “Best of the Best!” for dairy product suggestions), chilled
Halved cherry tomatoes (optional, but a nice garnish)
Preheat the oven to 375F and grease two baking sheets. I like to use the wrapper from the butter to do the greasing. Or you could cover the sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda and powder, salt, and oregano. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.
Use a pastry cutter to blend the stick of butter into the dry ingredients. This is easier to do if you cut the butter into rough chunks first. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use two knives in a criss-crossing fashion to scissor the butter into small bits. (This is why you want chilled butter — soft butter doesn’t cut, it smushes.) You’ll wind up with a big bowl of buttery crumbs.
Stir the eggy buttermilk into the flour. Shape the dough into a big ball with your hands and then smash it out flat onto either a greased cutting board or a very clean and smooth counter top. Keep smashing it flat until the dough is about an inch high. Use a regular dinner knife to cut the dough into 16 equal triangles. (The easiest way is to quarter the dough and then quarter the quarters.) Slip a spatula underneath each wedge and then transfer it to the waiting baking sheets, arranging 8 scones on each sheet.
If you like, press a halved tomato into the top of each wedge before slipping the sheets into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes or until scones are golden brown along the bottom edges. (They’ll be entirely golden brown on the bottoms, but you won’t see that until you lift them off the sheets.)
Let scones cool COMPLETELY before storing in a tin or any other closed container. If you’re not going to eat them within a few days, store them in the fridge to prevent mold from forming. Serve with cheese and additional tomatoes if you’d like.
* These are gluten-free flours. If you’d like to make a wheat-based version, substitute equivalent amounts of spelt, kamut, or whole-wheat flours. I’d try to keep the potato and oat flours, though — they lend the scones a decidedly savory flavor.
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