Last year I spent Mother’s Day in Ireland where my daughter Rachel treated me to high tea at Gregans Castle in County Clare. Whenever I want to relive that wondrous feast, I start out by concocting a batch of scones, or three. Sometimes I can’t decide between the sweet and the savory.

My grandchildren and I had a “scone-a-thon” one recent morning and baked up our favorite scone trio. While teaching these young bakers the proper way to “scone,” I thought it would be nice to share my recipes and tips with readers so you all can make scones for Mom, whether it be for a Mother’s Day tea party or as a treat for another day. Either way, I’m sure your efforts will be much appreciated!

First of all, when making scones, be sure the butter, eggs and liquid are very cold. Another tip is that since buttermilk isn’t something we always have on hand, simply stir 1 teaspoon white vinegar into each half-cup of milk the recipe calls for and let it sit on the counter for at least 15 minutes. This works just fine.

If you don’t have a stand mixer with a paddle, mix the scones by hand, cutting up the cold butter as finely as you can, then using a pastry blender or your hands to mix the butter into the dry ingredients. No matter what method you use, once combined with the dry ingredients, the butter pieces should be the size of peas.

Always use a baking sheet with a rim as some butter will escape the scones as they bake. Lining your baking sheet with parchment paper keeps the scones from spreading and makes cleanup easier.

Bacon and cheddar scones are delicious on their own, but if you really want to impress Mom, split them in half and fill with fluffy scrambled eggs for a decadent breakfast sandwich. These scones are also a fabulous base for eggs Benedict.

As for the ginger lemon scones, I discovered them just recently when my friend Lisa gifted me with a few one rainy morning. (I confess I was supposed to share . . . but didn’t.)

And lastly, orange chocolate chip scones are grandchildren-approved, with three thumbs up.

So what are you waiting for? Turn on the oven, get out your best tea set and let’s scone!

An assortment of scones are shown fresh from the oven. (Karen Schneider photo)

Bacon and cheddar scones

8 scones

2 cups flour, plus 2 teaspoons more for mixing with cheese and bacon

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup cold butter, diced

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 extra large egg

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/2 cup bacon, diced, cooked and cooled

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)

Flaky sea salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. With the mixer set on low, combine dry ingredients. Add butter and combine as instructed in the accompanying story.

Whisk buttermilk and egg together in a small bowl. With the mixer still on low, add the liquid to the flour and mix just until moistened. In another small bowl, combine cheese and bacon with a pinch of flour and add to the dough, with the mixer still on low, until combined.

On a floured surface, knead the dough lightly. Roll out into a 5-inch-by-10-inch rectangle. With a sharp, floured knife, cut the dough into 8 rectangles. Place on baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sea salt and bake 20 minutes until browned.

Ginger lemon scones

24 scones, using a 3-inch cookie cutter

6 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons lemon zest

1 1/2 cups cold butter, diced

1 1/2 cups crystallized ginger, chopped

2 cups of buttermilk

1/4 cup cream (to brush tops)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients, including zest, in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. With mixer on low, add butter as instructed above. Add ginger. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add buttermilk and mix until dough holds together. Place dough on lightly floured surface and gently knead lightly, forming into a ball. Flatten dough into a circle and roll out to 1 inch thickness. Cut with floured cookie cutter. Place on baking sheet, leaving at least an inch between each one. Brush each scone with a little cream. Bake 20 minutes. Cool slightly and spoon glaze on tops.

Lemon Glaze

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons lemon zest

Mix all ingredients together until smooth.

Orange chocolate chip scones

16 scones

3 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup old butter, diced

1 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup cream

3/4 cup buttermilk

10 drops food-grade orange essential oil, such as doTERRA (or 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1 teaspoon grated orange rind can be substituted)

1/8 cup cream and 2 tablespoons sugar (for tops)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. On low speed, mix ingredients. Continuing on low speed, add butter and chocolate chips and combine as instructed above. In another small bowl, whisk cream, buttermilk and orange oil together. Add to dry ingredients, using low speed, just until combined.

On a floured board, knead the dough lightly then divide into two balls. Working with one ball at a time, roll dough out to 1 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 8 triangles with a sharp, floured knife. Brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Cool slightly and swirl glaze over tops.

Chocolate icing

1/2 cup chocolate chips

2-4 tablespoons cream

4 drops orange oil (optional)

Microwave chocolate chips and cream 30-60 seconds or until chocolate is melted. Add orange oil and stir until smooth.

The writer’s grandchildren enjoy a snack after their recent “scone-a-thon.” Scone flavors from left are: orange chocolate chip, bacon and cheese, and lemon ginger. (Karen Schneider photo)

Orange-chocolate chip scones are cut in wedges before baking. (Karen Schneider photo)

Beat feet and start making some fresh hot scones for Mom for this Mother’s Day (or next). Add a bouquet and she’ll be so impressed! Scone flavors from left are: bacon and cheese, orange chocolate chip, and lemon-ginger. (Karen Schneider photo)


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