These date scones are delicious served warm straight from the oven and slathered in butter.
Or, for a decadent treat, serve them as part of a proper British afternoon tea, after delicate finger sandwiches and cakes.
The proper way to do this is to split them and spread each half with a spoonful of jam and a big dollop of clotted cream.
This scone recipe is so easy to make in just a few minutes and they bake in under 20 minutes, so there's not long to wait for these gorgeous morsels.
The great thing about scones is that the ingredients are so simple, with store cupboard ingredients that won't break the bank.
The method is easy too: just rub in the butter then mix in the rest of the ingredients. There's not even any need to chill the dough, so you can make these from start to finish in 30 minutes and enjoy one with a cup of tea.
My grandparents lived in Devon and my grandad worked for the Milk Marketing Board. He used to bring home huge ice cream tub size of clotted cream and we seemed to have it with every dessert, from crumbles to meringues. Even now, I can't resist scraping the golden crust from the top of the cream, so If I have date scones or plain scones, I have to have clotted cream.
❤️ Why you will love this recipe
- Budget friendly
- Store cupboard ingredients
- No need to chill the dough
- Perfect for a British afternoon tea
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- Butter -cold from the fridge and preferably unsalted. If you only have salted, leave out the additional salt.
- Flour - self raising flour or make your own by using the ratio of 2 teaspoons of baking powder to every 1 cup / 150g / 6 oz of plain flour.
- Salt - cooking or kosher salt.
- Dates - by the stoned dates specifically for baking. Sometimes they are sold for snacking in a sticky syrup which will affect the finished results.
- Sugar - caster or superfine sugar.
- Milk - whole or semi skimmed milk.
- Baking powder - make sure that the powder is freshly opened, as even in date powder can lose its effectiveness.
- Egg - free range egg for glazing.
The recipe card with ingredient quantities and detailed instructions can be found at the bottom of the post.
- baking tray - lined with parchment or silicon mat if it's not non stick
- 5.8 cm round cutter - 2.28 inches
- rolling pin - or use a glass bottle
- mixing bowl
- wooden spoon
- food processor - optional
- pastry brush
- cooling rack
Start by chopping the dates into 8 smaller pieces.
💭 Top Tip
I find it's easier to cut them in half lengthways and then cut each piece into 4.
This gives the right proportion of date in the scone. If the pieces are too large it makes them difficult to cut out and they can also fall apart.
Put a tablespoon of the flour in a bowl and stir the dates in.
This will help them to be mixed into the scone mixture evenly.
Put the flour salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Do this with a fork, a pastry cutter or cold hands.
💭 Top tip
- If you have a food processor, put the ingredients in a large bowl and pulse several times until the mixture resembles small breadcrumbs.
Tip the mixture into a mixing bowl, if you used a food processor.
Add the sugar and floured dates to the bowl, along with any remaining flour, and mix.
Now, stir in the milk.
Use a dinner knife to bring the dough together quickly into a ball, then divide the dough in half. This makes it easier to roll out and work with.
💭 Top tip
- There's no need to do any more than gently bring the mixture together. If the scone dough is over mixed the gluten will be overworked. This makes the sultana scones tough, rather than soft and melting in the mouth.
Add a scattering of flour to the work surface, hands and rolling pin.
Roll out the dough until it is about 2 centimetres or 1 inch thick.
Cut out rounds and place on lined baking sheets. There is no need to leave much space between them, as the dough will not spread. In fact, it can be a good
Repeat the rolling and cutting with the remaining dough to cut out approximately 15 scones.
Whisk the egg in a bowl and brush the top of the scones to glaze.
⏲️ Cooking Time
Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F / 170 FAN / Gas 5.
Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.
Leave on the tray for 2 minutes to cool slightly.
Transfer to cooling rack.
Ideally, serve these warm with lashings of butter or cold with jam and cream.
Cool the date scones completely before storing them if you are making then in advance.
🥗 Serve with
If you want to host your own afternoon tea, try some of these ideas.
- Jamaica Ginger Cake
- Coronation Chicken Sandwiches
- Egg Mayonnaise Sandwiches
- Fruit Loaf
- Cherry Madeira Cake
- Lincolnshire Plum Bread
- Butterscotch Tart
- Cheese and Bacon Scones
- Afternoon Tea Sandwiches
- Butter - use baking spread or margerine. Don't be tempted to use low fat spread as it has a high water content and will make the sultana scones hard.
- Flour - if you don't have self raising flour then use all purpose or plain flour and add a teaspoon of baking powder to a 100g of flour, (3.5 ounces).
- Egg - use milk to glaze if you prefer.
- Cheese and onion - add 100g or 4 oz of grated cheese such as cheddar. Chop and small onion and fry over a low heat with a little oil until softened and add to the scone mix. Omit the sugar.
- Cheese and bacon - add 100 gor 4 oz of grates cheddar and 100 g of fired and chopped streaky bacon.
- Cherry scones - stir in 100g or 4oz of some chopped glacé cherries.
- Cranberry scones - stir in dried cranberries.
- Fruit scones- use mixed fruit including raisins and currants. Dried apricolte, dates or prunes can also be used if they are chopped.
- Wholemeal scones - replace the self raising flour with wholemeal and add 4 teaspoon of baking powder.
- Plain Cornish scones - just leave out the sultanas and the dough will make about 14 scones.
- Sultana scones - use 100g of sultanas in place of the dates. There is no need to flour them first.
- Airtight container - these sultana scones are best enjoeyed the day they are made but will keep for 7 days in a tin or sealed plastic box.
- Freezer - pack in airtight containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To reheat - to refresh the scones place them on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 5 minutes at 180 C / 350 F / 160 FAN / Gas 4.
🍱 Prepare in Advance
- These scones are very quick to make but you can cut out the scones to bake just before you need them. Cover with plastic wrap to stop them drying out. If it's a hot day place the scones in the fridge, as they will rise better if the butter is cold.
There is very much an etiquette for eating a scone depending on where you live in the west country.
For a Devonshire cream tea, the cream is added first and then the jam.
However, for a Cornish cream tea, the jam is added first.
More baking ideas
See the baking page for more British baking ideas.
- baking tray lined with parchment or silicon mat if it's not non stick
- 5.8 cm round cutter (2.28 inches)
- Rolling Pin
- Mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Food processor optional
- Pastry brush
- cooling rack
- 115 g butter cold
- 450 g flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 100 g dates
- 55 g caster sugar
- 200 ml semi skimmed milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ egg
- Start by chopping the dates into 8 smaller pieces.
- Put a tablespoon of flour into a small loaf and mix in the date pieces.
- Put the flour salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes.
- Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively pulse a few times in a food processor.
- Add the sugar and floured date pieces, (and any flour) to the bowl.
- Mix the milk in gently with a dinner knife.
- Bring the dough together quickly into a bowl.
- Divide the dough into 2 portions.
- Roll out the dough until it is about 2 centimetres or 1 inch thick.
- Cut out rounds and place on lined baking sheets.
- Repeat the rolling and cutting with the remaining dough to cut out approximately 15 scones.
- Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F / 170 FAN / Gas 5,
- Whisk the egg in a bowl and brush the top of the scones to glaze.
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Leave on the tray for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
Disclaimer: The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.
Detailed instructions for this recipe, including step by step photographs, hints and tips, can be found in the main article
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.
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