Nothing beats a classic; except when you take a classic and throw dates and walnuts at it and it becomes an addictively scrumptious, surprisingly wholesome and completely heartwarming little scone. My Nan used to always bake date scones, and her favourite recipe used lemonade, which gave them a wonderful fluffiness. I’ve gone for this buttermilk version (admittedly to use up the leftover buttermilk I had in the fridge), and they turned out wonderfully! The wholemeal flour, sweet, juicy dates and crunchy walnuts promise tantalising texture in every mouthful, and you could happily experiment with any dried fruit and nuts you have in your pantry. Think apricot and almond, cranberry and macadamia, sultana and pecan…
I shared these around with friends, dolloped exceedingly generously with caramelised fig jam and double thick cream. They were happily scoffed down with a steaming cup of tea, and filled our bellies as we sat outside on a warm summer night and chatted about the stars and the universe and the meaning of life etc. etc…., clearly they provide sort of brain power! I hope you have a go at the recipe and let me know how they turn out. Whether you enjoy them for breakfast, dessert or afternoon tea, this clever little classic will never let you down.
Date and Walnut Buttermilk Scones
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Adapted from this BBC recipe
- 450 g wholemeal self raising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 100 g cold butter, diced
- 85 g raw caster sugar
- 285 mL buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 200 g pitted dates, halved
- 120 g walnuts, roughly chopped
- splash of milk, for glazing
- jam and double thick cream, to serve
- Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F fan-forced. Line 2 large trays with baking paper.
- Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, then transfer to a food processor. Add the butter, and blitz everything together on high speed for a few minutes, until there are no lumps of butter left. Alternatively, rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers. The mixture should be the consistency of damp sand.
- Return the mixture to the large bowl. Add the sugar, and combine thoroughly.
- In a small saucepan, gently warm the buttermilk and vanilla over low heat. Add the buttermilk all at once to the flour and butter. Use a butter knife to rapidly stir together the wet and dry ingredients, working quickly to avoid over-mixing the dough.
- Once combined, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured bench. The dough will be in big lumps that don’t quite stick together. Sprinkle the dates and walnuts over the dough, then bring everything together with your hands to form one big ball. Again, don’t mix the dough too much. Just work it enough that it all comes together.
- Pat the dough out into a long rectangle, 4 cm high and 6 cm wide. Cut into squares, then cut each square into 2 triangles. Arrange the scones evenly over the 2 trays, leaving an inch or 2 between each to allow for rising.
- Bake the scones for 10-12 minutes, until puffed up and golden brown. Leave to cool slightly on a wire rack, then serve warm with jam, cream and a steaming cup of tea!
Store the scones in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Best eaten on the day of baking.