This recipe is taken and adapted from the book, The Baker’s Tale by Catherine Brown, using the recipes of Mr Jimmy Burgess, baker at the famous One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow for many years. I would recommend it if you are interested in traditional Scottish baking.
If you are not sure what treacle scones are like, think of them as a cross between a plain scone and gingerbread, which actually has a lot of treacle in it.
You will need a couple of baking trays and a round scone cutter (big or small, you choose).
I use strong white bread flour for these, as it seems to give them a better rise and appearance, but plain white flour will give good results too. Make sure you don’t roll the dough out too thinly, which you will almost certainly do the first time you make scones. In fact, you can just flatten the dough out a bit with your hands if you like. It won’t rise as much as you think it will, and if you are going to half them and add butter you want them nice and big. This makes around 12 large scones or 20 mini scones.
250 ml buttermilk (or squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a jug and top up with regular milk to 250 ml, giving it a good stir, to make soured milk)
4 tablespoons treacle
450g strong white bread flour (or plain white flour)
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
3 tablespoons caster sugar
100 g unsalted butter (chilled)
Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease and flour your baking trays.
Pour the buttermilk/soured milk into a jug and beat in the eggs with a fork, then beat in the treacle. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Stir in the caster sugar and give it a good stir. Cut up the butter and rub it into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the middle of your floury mixture and pour the buttermilk, egg and treacle mixture in. Combine the mixture gently, you really want to handle it as little as possible now. When it is just combined, tip the dough out onto a floured surface. It will be quite sticky, but try to avoid the temptation to add much more flour when rolling it out if you can, although you will need a bit to avoid it sticking to the rolling pin or your hands.
Gently roll out the mixture to around one inch/2.5 centimetres thick. Remember, you are not making pastry, so it might be a lot thicker than you expect.
Cut out the scones using the scone cutter and place them on your baking trays, giving them a bit of space to expand. Combine the leftover bits, roll out and cut out again, you can use your hands to shape the last bit if it’s easier.
Cook for approximately 20 minutes for large scones, 15 minutes for smaller scones and maybe slightly less for mini scones depending on your oven, turning the trays half way through cooking to ensure an even bake. Keep a close eye on the scones, especially when they are nearing the end of their cooking time. Treacle scones tend to look like they are overcooking even when they are not because of their naturally dark brown colour, but you will see when you take them out if they are nicely browned or not.
When they look golden brown, remove from the oven and place on a baking rack. Give them a few minutes to cool down slightly, then serve whilst warm. If you want to keep them warm place a clean tea towel over them. Since they already have treacle in them, they only really need a bit of butter in them (I prefer unsalted) and they are good to go.
This does make quite a few scones, so if you are not going to eat them all that day you can put them in the freezer in an airtight tub. To serve them again, heat them on defrost in the microwave for a couple of minutes, or defrost at room temperature then heat them up in the oven again for a few minutes. The sooner they are eaten once they come out of the oven, the better they will be. It is always nice to have a few in the freezer, then if you have unexpected guests you can pop a few in the microwave and present your guests with warm scones in about the same time as it takes to make a cup of tea. Alternatively, they are a very nice thing to eat yourself on a chilly winter’s evening.