Date scones are delicious, buttery pastry with bits of sweet soft dates. They are so easy to make and they turn out so well!
Why should I make these easy date scones?
This is the perfect step by step recipe for date scones that gives you crispy on the edges, flaky and tender in the center scones studded with caramelized dates.
The recipe comes together really simply, with standard pantry and fridge ingredients.
These freeze really well, and warm up beautifully.
If you don’t know what scones are, they are a British baked good, made with plenty of butter and leavening powder. Flaky and soft on the inside with a crumbly exterior, they are best enjoyed with cream and jam.
Why add dates to scones?
I love a good plain scone. Something I don’t like is a scone that has raisins in it. I will always pick out any raisins or currents in scones. Dates are different. They become a little jammy when baked, and add a beautiful toffee infused sweetness to the overall scone. Date scones are miles better than raisin scones.
They also play homage to the Gulf region of the Middle East. Especially when enhanced with a hint of cinnamon powder. It’s just a little something extra that allows you to make scones with not a lot of sugar in them, but that are still more than sweet enough to enjoy plain.
Ingredients in date scones:
The scone base is divided into dry ingredients, butter, and wet ingredients:
Flour- All purpose flour. I highly recommend scaling this to get an accurate measure so that your dough texture will be spot on.
Baking powder- a good tablespoon so that the scones rise well and remain fluffy.
A pinch of salt for flavor, a little sugar for sweetness, and cinnamon to compliment the dates.
Butter: I got the method of adding frozen grated butter from Sally’s Baking Addiction’s recipe for master scones. The reason for using frozen butter, and for making sure the wet ingredients are cold is to keep the dough from getting too warm so that it still bakes up flakey with pockets of butter.
Wet ingredients: Heavy cream which adds richness, an egg, and vanilla extract for flavor.
Dates: What kind of dates to add to scones? Any type you like. Medjool work great, as well as any soft or chewy dates. The firmer the dates are the easier they’ll be to chop, but the sweetness of soft dates is a bonus.
How to make date scones:
- Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon)
- Add the grated frozen butter, and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips or a pastry cutter. It’s ready when the butter pieces are pea sized.
- Separately, mix together egg, heavy cream and vanilla, then pour into butter flour mix and stir until combined. Add the chopped dates, and stir until just combined. You might knead it a couple times with your hands, but don’t go overboard mixing.
- On a lightly floured surface dump out the scone dough, and pat into an 8 inch circle. You may find it easier to line an 8 inch cake pan with parchment paper, pat the dough into the cake pan then flip it out of the pan onto the counter. See the recipe video below for an example.
- Cut the dough with a sharp knife or pizza cutter into 8 equal sized wedges, then place on a parchment lined baking sheet into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 F (200C).
- Once oven has come to temperature, brush the top of the scones lightly with heavy cream. Optionally, you can sprinkle some coarse sugar on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.
The first thing we need to keep in mind, is that texture is so important in scones. You don’t want gummy scones, or hard dry scones. The important thing is a crisp interior and flaky soft interior. You also want enough height to the scones so they aren’t flat disks.
How do I keep my scones from flattening out or spreading too much?
Make sure the dough isn’t overworked, and that the butter doesn’t melt too fully into the dough. You need little pieces of butter to remain intact so that when the dough goes in the oven, the butter melts there and create pockets of steam which results in that flaky dough.
Another factor is chilling the shaped scones before baking them, to ensure the dough goes into the oven cold.
We don’t want the butter melting BEFORE going in the oven. Using frozen butter is what accomplishes that, and also the fact that you are using grated butter which is easier to work into the dough with your fingers.
How to grate frozen butter:
Place your block of butter in the freezer for at least 20 minutes to harden. Working quickly, grate the butter on the coarse side of a box grater. If at any point it starts to soften too much between your fingers, place it back in the freezer to harden again.
If not using butter immediately, place the grated butter in the freezer.
Troubleshooting scone dough:
If you feel the dough is too dry: Add a drizzle of heavy cream until you get the consistency desired.
If you feel the dough is too wet: Add a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough can be worked with.
How long to bake scones for?
You want them to look like the photo- light golden brown edges and top. If you lift one from the parchment, you’ll see that the bottom is dry and a light golden brown as well. Don’t over bake, you still want a soft inside.
What to serve scones with?
Traditionally, scones are served with clotted cream and jam. The good thing about this recipe, is that the scones are so moist and the dates add the perfect hint of sweetness, that these are delicious plain.
I also cut some in half, and spread with some cream. I used fresh cream (not clotted). You can even try mascarpone cheese or regular butter.
Different scone mix-ins:
Try some orange zest and dried cranberries, chocolate chips, raisins (if you must!), blueberries, chopped nuts.
How to make scones ahead of time:
You can prepare the dough all the way to cutting it into wedges (before brushing with cream) and refrigerate overnight, loosely covered, to bake the following morning.
You can also freeze the scone dough by letting the wedges freeze on a baking sheet until hard, then placing in a freezer safe bag. Bake from frozen as directed, adding a few minutes to bake time.
You can also bake the scones, then freeze them once cool. You can warm them in a hot oven for 10 minutes or in a microwave for 20-30 seconds.
- 2 cups flour 250 g
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoon white sugar 40 g
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 stick frozen butter, grated on the large side of a box grater 115 grams
- 1 egg, cold
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup pitted, chopped dates 150 grams
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon.
- Add the grated frozen butter into the flour mixture, and work it in with your fingertips until it resembles wet sand, see post above for visuals. You can also use a pastry cutter, but I find hands easier!
- In a separate bowl mix together heavy cream, egg and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients and the chopped dates to the flour, and mix together until combined with a spatula or fork. You can give the dough a couple kneads with your hands, but don't overwork.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and pat it into an 8 inch circle. Cut the circle into 8 wedges, and place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place the sheet with the dough on it into the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.
- While dough is resting, heat oven to 400 F (200C). Take scones out of the fridge, and brush the top of each with a little heavy cream, and optionally sprinkle with some coarse sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until edges and top are a light golden brown.
- Serve warm, either plain or with some clotted cream and/or jam.
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