Very few recipes can stand the test of time… but, this one… this one has.
A time-tested recipe can take on an almost living character. It has history… reputation… memories… it becomes an everlasting thread that is woven into the fabric of our lives. It becomes well-worn with age, whittled and adjusted over time to near perfection, the paper on which it is printed dog-eared from frequent use, splattered and stained. But the taste is always fresh and delicious, and somehow, just… right. Every time.
This is one of those recipes. I can still remember the moment I first tasted these scones.. and I knew. I can still picture the kitchen we were in, and where I was sitting, and that basket of warm scones wrapped in a towel sitting in front of me. I was on orchestra tour in college at the time. Now, each night, rather than staying in hotels, our tour manager arranged to have local families (usually through a school or church) host several members of the orchestra in their home. In the mornings, sometimes our hosts would offer us breakfast. Well, one fateful morning on orchestra tour, Edie’s Oatmeal Scones and I met in our host family’s kitchen, and we have never parted ways since then.
So, what makes this a time-honed recipe, exactly? Well, over the years I have shuffled through a myriad of breakfast muffins, scones, coffee cakes and quick breads, always looking for something just a little bit better, a little closer to what my mind has imagined, and often feeling slightly disappointed. But, from day 1, I have never ventured away from these scones, never even thought of finding a version that is “just a little bit better”. I go back to them over and over, and find them perfect and satisfying every time. While other recipes have come and gone in my breakfast world, these scones have been steadfast.
But what’s really amazing about a time-honored recipe, is the role it plays in our lives through the years, making our memories more vibrant and delicious and becoming part of our personal traditions. This recipe has seen so many mornings in my life that just the thought of it makes me feel like cozy PJs, a warm steaming mug of coffee, morning conversations with best friends, and lazy Sunday crosswords.
These scones are simply delicious. “They are not dry or crumbly!” exclaimed a friend once who had only ever experienced dry and crumbly coffee-shop scones in the past. The flavors are simple and rustic, but with a sweet buttery richness from the dates. They are easy to make, and hard to mess up, with ingredients you most likely have on hand. A pastry cutter is supremely helpful for this recipe, however, I spent several years cutting the butter painstakingly into flour with two knives until I finally bought one! So, even with limited resources, you should make these. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup cold butter
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- ⅓ cup dates, chopped
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Mix in the oatmeal and dates. Add the buttermilk and stir, just until combined.
- On a floured surface, knead lightly for only 7-8 turns. (I do this directly on a large baking sheet I will use to bake the scones)
- Pat dough into a circle about 7 inches in diameter. Cut into 8 equal sized wedges. Transfer wedges to an ungreased baking sheet. (Or, simply separate the wedges by at least 1 inch, if you have patted them out directly on the baking sheet)
- Brush the tops with a bit of melted butter, if desired.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.