“A pound of best butter — that’s what you told me to ask for, and I did, but I kept wondering whether there was such a thing as second-best butter, or worst butter –” Brianna was handing over wrapped packages to Fiona, laughing and talking at once.
“Well, and if ye got it from that auld rascal Wicklow, worst is what it’s likely to be, no matter what he says,” Fiona interrupted. “Oh, and ye’ve got the cinnamon, that’s grand! I’ll make cinnamon scones, then; d’ye want to come and watch me do it?”
“Yes, but first I want supper. I’m starved!” Brianna stood on tiptoe, sniffing hopefully in the direction of the kitchen. “What are we having — haggis?”
“Haggis! Gracious, ye silly Sassenach — ye dinna have haggis in the spring! Ye have it in the autumn when the sheep are killed.”
“Am I a Sassenach?” Brianna seemed delighted at the name.
“Of course ye are, gowk. But I like ye fine, anyway.”
Diana Gabaldon, Voyager, Chap 3
What traditions does your family keep on Christmas morning?
We used to gather in the living room, and Dad would bring in coffee and hot chocolate while we opened our stockings. Mom always put a mandarin orange in the toe, along with some mixed nuts, still in the shell (it was the 70’s – does anyone still do that?) Those, and the little games, puzzles and books that came along with them would tide us over while Dad returned to the kitchen to make his famous potato pancakes, with strips of bacon running down the middle.
We needed a huge breakfast to fuel the session of present opening that was about to commence. We would each open one at a time, while everyone else watched. It took a long time, what with 5 of us and several presents each, but everyone got to see what everyone else got, we laughed a lot, and we genuinely shared Christmas day, beyond the gifts we exchanged.
These days, when we spend Christmas at home, it’s a slightly smaller affair. We tend to go a little lighter on the prezzies AND the breakfast — after all, it’s Christmas — there’s lots more food to come later in the day…
I can’t say that this would have been how Fiona made her cinnamon scones back in 1968 — grating the butter and rolling the dough isn’t exactly traditional — but it does result in a wonderfully tender crumb and a cinnamon-bun-like appearance with lots of crunchy sweet edges to munch on.
For an easy, no-mess Christmas morning treat, make these up ahead of time, then freeze them uncooked. Warm up the oven while you get the kettle/coffee maker on, pop the frozen scones in the oven, then get down to the business at hand and open those stockings! (See the tips below the recipe.)
Fresh-baked cinnamon scones scenting the house and a table full of happy wames…that’s what an Outlander Kitchen Christmas is all about.
Merry day one and all.
(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)
Yield: 8 scones
Light, buttery scones rolled with cinnamon sugar. Perfect for a sweet start to the day when paired with a cup of coffee, or a delicious afternoon snack alongside a soothing cup of tea.
Brown Sugar – ½ to ¾ Cup
Cinnamon – 1½ tsp
Flour – 2½ Cups
Sugar – scant ½ Cup
Salt – ¼ tsp
Baking Powder – 1½ tsp
Baking Soda – ¼ tsp
Butter, frozen – ½ Cup (divided)
Milk – ½ Cup
Yogurt – ½ Cup
Icing Sugar – 1 cup
Milk – 2 Tble
Ensure the rack is in the middle position and preheat the oven to 425° F.
Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
Mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut away approx. 1 tablespoon of the frozen butter and set aside. Grate the remaining butter and stir it into the flour mixture.
Stir the milk and yogurt together in a small bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until combined into a slightly sticky ball.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured counter and sprinkle with a little more flour. Quickly and lightly, knead the dough 5 or 6 times. Return the dough to the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes. Roll it out to a 12”x12” square, sprinkling lightly with flour as required to keep it from sticking.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough in a thick layer, pressing down on the sugar lightly with your palms. Roll the dough up into a log, using a bench scraper or spatula to un-stick the dough when necessary. Pat it out to about 4” wide x 12” long.
Flour a knife or bench scraper to cut the log into even quarters. Cut each quarter in half on the diagonal, for a total of 8 scones.
Carefully transfer to a parchment or silicon lined baking pan. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and brush over the tops of the scones. Bake until the tops and bottoms are golden, about 18-22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Stir together the icing sugar and milk in a small bowl.
Drizzle the glaze over the scones and serve while still slightly warm. Store in a sealed container for up to 2 days. Reheat slightly before serving.
Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)
I kept these basic, but you can dress them up if you want:
- Stir 1/4 tsp ground cardamom into the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Sprinkle 1 cup pecans or walnuts on top of the cinnamon sugar.
- For a real Highland treat, soak 1 cup raisins in 1/2 cup whisky for 20 minutes before sprinkling them as above.
- Not a cinnamon lover? How about 1 cup of blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar and the zest of a lemon instead?
- If you’re planning ahead, mix together the dry ingredients and grated butter, and chill them in a sealed container in the freezer overnight. Stash the bowl in the freezer overnight too. The colder everything is, the easier the dough is to work with.
- For fresh scones in the morning without all the work, make a batch ahead of time, then freeze the scones on the baking pan. Transfer the frozen-solid scones to a freezer bag or sealed container and return to the freezer. To serve, bake the scones on a parchment-lined baking pan at 375° F for 25-30 minutes, then glaze as above.
- You may have trouble cleaning the pan if you don’t line it with either parchment or silpat. Use aluminum foil in a pinch, but watch carefully to make sure the bottoms don’t burn.
- For more photos, check out Outlander Kitchen on Flickr.