Whenever I eat date scones I think of my lovely friend Anna in Wellington who loves a good date scone, especially ones with a decent orange flavour. I have fond memories of catching up over a coffee and a scone in one of Wellingtons lovely cafes or at one of our homes.
I have often made this particular date scone recipe for morning teas with mums and bubs and they seem to go down a treat as they are so moist and delicious served warm straight from the oven with a little bit of butter on. I made them yesterday for some new friends in Sydney and they went down just well, in fact one of the mums asked me to post them on the blog so here it is! The recipe isn’t one of mine, I’ve adapted it from an Alison Holst recipe, adding orange zest if I have it (I didn’t yesterday) and using rapadura or maple syrup instead of regular sugar. If you add a decent amount of orange zest you can leave the sugar out entirely if you want to as the dates are sweet enough already.
I’ve started to use rapadura instead of regular sugar in some recipes as because of the way the juice is separated at a low heat from the sugar cane it retains the vitamins and minerals in the sugar cane. Sugar is sugar though and I definitely class these as a sometimes food for the children. I read a summary of some interesting recent research for the recommended intake of sugar if you want to keep your teeth for life. It recommends halving the current guidelines to around 5 tsps of extrinsic sugar a day (those added by manufacturers) plus honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. Even if there isn’t much added to the dough when you combine the added sugar with the dates this recipe is pretty high in sugar even if it is mainly intrinsic sugar (naturally occuring sugars) and dried fruit is so sticky and clings to teeth increasing the risk of cavities in your children’s milk teeth. Don’t let that put you off making these though, they really are delicious!
Tasty Date Scones
This is a really great recipe to do with your children as it’s quick to make and quick to bake. I think the key to a good scone is not to over mix the dough and to make sure you cook them at a high temperature until they are just done – crispy on the outside and moist in the middle!
Makes: 8 small or 6 large scones
Preparation Time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
50g butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup dates
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar*
zest of 1 orange**
Place the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and combine it with a fork.
Measure out the dates and cut each date in half, then mix into the flour mixture.
Melt the butter. Once it has cooled a but combine with the milk and pour into the dry mixture. Stir through with a spatula. Don’t worry if it feels a bit sticky just use floury hands when you shape the scones.
You can either knead the dough into a rectangle and then cut into 6-8 scones or make the dough into scones with your hands. I prefer a more rustic look so generally go for the latter option. Either way position them about 1 cm apart from each other so the sides sat soft and the tops crisp up.
Pop them straight into the oven and bake for around 10 minutes at 210 ‘C until golden on top. Keep a close eye on them if you don’t think they are quite done at 10 minutes – you don’t want them to dry out.
Serve warm (essential) with a little butter if desired. Yummmmmm now I feel like drinking a cup of tea, eating a scone and reading my book before the children wake up. I should really get the washing in off the line though before it rains AGAIN sigh!
*I use rapadura or maple syrup or leave this out completely if I’m using the orange zest.