A Vintage Recipe: Raisin Scones
I’m fortunate to have inherited a number of recipes from my great-great aunt, who was a remarkable cook. Of course, a lot of these recipes have needed some updating or tweaking. Tastes have changed since the 1950s. She was also handwriting these recipes for herself, perhaps hastily scribbling down something from a cooking show before it was possible to pause and record live TV.
I recently posted the updated scone recipe that I use all the time. That got me curious enough to dig out one of the full-on vintage recipes and make it exactly as directed. The problem was that the recipe doesn’t quite direct the baker how to create it. This is what happens when a person who knows how to make scones writes down a recipe to use just for herself. I love how personal vintage recipes are - notes and handwriting and the old-fashioned ads that appear on the back of them.
The recipe lists ingredients, but all we get for directions is “cut margarine in flour add sugar & buttermilk.” No word on how long to bake them or the oven temperature. Since I make scones almost weekly, I felt pretty good about forging ahead. Here’s the recipe (with actual instructions). It’s really a good one. Aside from adding instructions, I wouldn’t change a thing.
2.5 cups all-purpose flour 2.5 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup sugar (this seemed like a lot to me, but I just went with it) ¾ cup cold butter or margarine (nothing says vintage recipe like ‘margarine’) cut into 1-inch cubes 1 egg 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup raisins (again, this seemed like a lot, but in the interest of historical accuracy I used the full amount)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Cut cubed butter into flour mixture until crumbly. Stir in raisins. Set aside.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, beat egg with buttermilk. Slowly add to flour mixture and beat with a fork until dough comes together. The dough will be slightly wet. Turn it out onto a floured surface - I recommend using a sheet of wax paper.
With floured hands, press dough into a disc about ¾ inch thick. The disc will be 10-12 inches across. Cut it into eight very generous scones or twelve smaller ones. We’re dedicated scone eaters and always go back for seconds, so I made eight gigantic ones. No one needed a second one today.
Move the scones carefully to the baking sheet, using a spatula if necessary. You could also do the drop method instead of making a disc - just drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto the parchment.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool or eat immediately. These smelled amazingly good while baking, and the buttermilk yielded an exceptionally tender, flaky scone. Despite the large amount of raisins and the sugar, they didn’t taste overly sweet to me.