Better English Scone recipe

I've been tweaking my scone recipe to improve structural integrity, after at least three test batches and direction from Angie Ruiz, this is the new and improved recipe.

Better English Scones

Makes about 13 scones and one runty little test scone


  • 1 pound of flour (I used half wheat flour and half wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar (not necessary if you use white flour)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of nutmeg or Penzey's Cake Spice
  • 6 oz baking raisins, or chopped dried cherries, or chopped dates, or walnuts, or diced orange peel
  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 oz brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • up to 200 ml of milk

Put flour into a bowl, add salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and cream of tartar and mix. Rub butter into flour until mix looks like bread crumbs. Add sugar and mix again.

Stir in the raisins/cherries/dates, make sure they are evenly distributed. Put 100ml of milk into a jug, break an egg into it and beat. Mix in egg/milk slowly with a fork until you have a springy, slightly sticky, dough. You might need more milk, pour out another 100ml but don’t use it all.

On a floured surface, roll out to 3/4 inch thick, cut into 2in rounds and put on a greased baking tray. Brush tops with the leftover milk and sprinkle with brown sugar, or cinnamon sugar if you prefer.

Bake at 450F for 20 minutes, they should be golden brown on top. Eat with butter and strawberry jam or honey at around 3pm, with a mug of hot tea with milk.

Overnight Breakfast Glop

Can also be called "pudding" if "glop" sounds unappetising. This recipe uses the US tablespoon, which is a 15ml liquid measure. I put everything in a Blender Bottle to get everything mixed up, it works well. Also I don't have an electric blender. If you don't like the texture of tapioca pudding, you probably won't like this, the chia has a gelatinous texture when it's hydrated.

Makes 1 serving as written.
Prep time is 10 minutes BUT you have a 30 minute pause in the middle, AND this needs to be left for at least three hours to let the chia seeds do their thing. Or leave it in the fridge overnight.


  • 1 cup of almond milk (or your milky substance of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons of Organic Gemini tigernut smoothie mix
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds

Optional ingredients, choose one or two:

Put the milk into a Blender Bottle and add all the ingredients except the chia. Mix well. Add the chia, mix again, and leave in the fridge for a half hour. Mix well, decant into another container, and put back in the fridge. Clean the Blender Bottle immediately or stuff will cement onto it. Leave for three hours, or overnight. Eat the following morning with a spoon, top with fruit or nuts if you like.

I found chia recipes when I was looking for Paleo alternatives to oatmeal, and it is surprisingly filling. This glop has a lot of texture from the ground flax, chia, and tigernut, you need to use a spoon instead of trying to drink it.

(If you're not using Amazon Smile and making Amazon donate to National Novel Writing Month, please consider doing that.)

Recipe: Rock Cakes

Why yes, I am pathologically incapable of following a recipe as given. I assembled this from several recipes online and tweaked it to work with US measures. I made two batches, my other substitutions are below. This is a good recipe for using up small amounts of dried fruit and nuts leftover from other recipes.

Rock cakes, batch #2 , with diced dried orange peel & cherries #baking

A photo posted by Alison Hawke (@quantumtea) on


  • 8oz self-raising flour
  • 3oz brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of spice (Penzey's Cake Spice and Baking Spice worked, get something with nutmeg in)
  • 4.5oz unsalted butter (1 stick and 1 tablespoon)
  • 5oz or more of dried fruit and or nuts
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Makes 16 rock cakes. Set the oven for 350f.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and spice together. Cut the butter into small slices and rub it into the flour mix until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the dried fruit and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk, and vanilla extract together.

Add the egg mixture to the flour and stir until you have a lumpy, sticky dough. If you need to, you can add a teaspoon more milk.

Put a dollop of rock cake into each of 16 muffin cups, sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 350f for 15-20 minutes. At the 15 minute mark, see if you can push the top of a rock cake down. If you can, they probably need another 3 minutes.

These two batches helped clear out a bunch of stuff from the pantry, and also tasted good. Not too sweet, a little crumbly, and full of interesting flavours.

Instead of white self-raising flour, you can use whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour and turn it into self-raising flour by adding 3 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Add a half cup of ground flax seed to the dry ingredients.

Mix and match your dried fruit. I used 4oz baking raisins and 2oz walnuts for batch #1, then 5oz diced dried orange peel, 1oz baking raisins and 1oz dried cherries for batch #2

Rehydrate a teaspoon of dried orange peel, add it to the egg mixture.

New Zealand Chelsea Buns

I've made one batch of these from my mother's recipe, I made a few mistakes but they were still delicious.

New Zealand Chelsea Buns.

Ingredients for the bun

  • 8oz flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3oz unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup of milk

Ingredients for the filling

  • 4oz brown sugar
  • 2oz butter
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon

Heat oven to 425f.

Rub the butter into the flour and baking powder. Mix with the beaten egg and add milk a little at a time until you have a lump of dough. Roll it out into a long strip, at least 11in long and 8in wide.

Cream the butter, sugar, and cinnamon together. Spread across the dough in a thin layer. Roll up the dough on the long side and seal the edge with a little milk. Cut into slices and put in a foil-lined 8x8 dish.

Bake for 20 mins, you should see the filling melt and bubble.

My big mistakes were that I didn't roll the dough out thinly enough, and I didn't spread the filling over the whole width of the dough, so some parts of my buns are missing cinnamon filling. But they still taste delicious.

Batch #2 will be cooked at 450f to see if that gets the sugar all melty, and double the cinnamon in the filling.

Muffin test kitchen

I've been testing out muffin recipes, especially Paleo and gluten-free ones. These are the successes, I've only had one really bad fail. The biggest lesson I've learned is that manually grating a carrot is a lot of work.

Paleo Morning Glory muffins
I used buckwheat honey, and added a half cup of five grain cereal because my mix looked very wet. It bumped up the cooking time by five minutes and gave me 16 muffins, not 12. Instead of 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, I used one each of cinnamon and nutmeg. They taste fabulous! Dense, moist, great flavour. I ran the nutrition info for these through SparkPeople since it's not on the recipe page.
Nutritional info: Calories: 255.6, Fat: 15.3g, Carbs: 27g, Fibre: 3.3g Protein: 3.6g, Cholesterol: 46.5mg

Carrot Walnut muffins
These are tasty and very light and fluffy, I've made two batches so far. In the Yoga Journal magazine for August 2015, it gives nutrition info, the website doesn't give you that. This was my first time using coconut flour.
Nutritional info: Calories: 134, Fat: 9g, Carbs: 11g, Protein: 4g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 178mg.

Applesauce Oatmeal muffins
I take issue with the directions saying prep time is 5 minutes when the first line says to soak the oats in milk for an hour, but these are tasty and filling muffins. I used nutmeg instead of cinnamon for these, plus some leftover flax seed and millet. Might add flax meal next time to bump up the protein, and switch out the whole wheat flour for almond flour. I like that they use egg white and not whole eggs.
Nutritional info: Calories: 92.3, Fat: 0.5g, Carbs: 23.6g, Fiber: 1.7g, Protein: 3g, Cholesterol: 0.4mg, Sodium: 203.7mg

I love muffins and I'm also trying to eat less carbs and more protein, definitely less sugar.

Recipe: Banoffee pie

This seems to be a pie unknown to Americans, and it's really easy to make. The only hassle is that it takes time to do it right. You need a five hour stretch to get really good caramel.

Banoffee pie (pre cream).

  • 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust
  • egg white
  • 2 or 3 fresh bananas
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • (optional) 1 tbsp Bailey's

The day BEFORE you want to eat the pie (or the day of if you have lots of time) cut the labels off the cans of condensed milk and put them unopened into a pan filled with boiling water. Boil for five hours. Do not let the cans touch the bottom of the saucepan, I use a wire grid in the bottom of a casserole pot. You can refrigerate the cans once they're cooled, and you'll need to keep checking the water level.

Brush the inside of the pie crust with egg white and bake at 375f for 5 minutes.

Open the cans carefully and spoon out the sticky caramel goodness into the pie crust. Layer with slices of fresh banana. Add the vanilla essence and Bailey's to some of the cream and whip it until fluffy. Spread cream over the caramel and serve.

We took one of these to Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and it went down well.

Recipe: Coconut Ice

I remember my mother making this when I was a child. It is so sweet!

Coconut Ice.

  • 350g (¾ pound) of sugar, preferably fine baker's sugar
  • 150ml (¼ pint) milk
  • 125g (4oz) coconut
  • 1 or 2 drops of vanilla essence

Put the sugar and milk in a saucepan on a low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes. Put this into a basin, and add the coconut and the vanilla. Beat until you have a thick syrupy mess. Spread into a greased tin, I used a foil loaf tin. You can make a second batch, adding some red food colouring, and pour a second layer into the tin. Allow to cool until solid, then cut into small cubes.

I got this recipe from a Farmhouse Kitchen book, which is a compilation of recipes sent in by viewers of the Yorkshire Television show, published in 1982. Some are weird, some very traditionally British, many are family recipes.

The Nutella Experiment

A friend sent me a recipe in the New York Times to make your own chocolate hazelnut paste, aiming to re-create Nutella at home. The first step is toasting the hazelnuts.

How to toast hazelnuts

Heat the oven to 350F. Spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for at least 10 minutes, you may need more time if you're using a clay baking sheet. Wait until the nuts are golden brown.

Pour the nuts into a clean tea towel and let them sit for a minute. Then gather up the corners of the towel and rub the nuts together to remove the skins.

We used a Pampered Chef baking sheet and some giant Filberts, so it took about 20 minutes before the nuts were toasted. The skins flaked off most of them easily. The nuts went in the blender to be ground into hazelnut butter with a few tablespoons of walnut oil. This is where our ailing twelve year old blender failed. It got partway through blending then the speed dropped drastically and smoke started coming out of the back, so we have a chunky spread with a few whole hazelnuts in. The rest of the mixing happened in the Kitchenaid stand mixer.

The chocolate/butter mix suffered a slight water bath incident, so we lost a little butter getting the water out, but it smelled fantastic. We used a block of Callebaut dark chocolate for our semisweet ingredient. Once the mix was in jars, we put it in the fridge and over a few hours it solidified. It is easier to spread if you extract a few spoonfuls and leave it at room temperature for a half hour, then spread it on a toasted bread product like a crumpet or an English muffin.

We doubled the recipe and ended up with three small jars full. Definitely one to make again! As soon as we have a new blender...

Recipe: Honey-roasted Swede (or rutabaga)

This recipe isn't mine, we found it several places on the web. It works, and the result is delicious!

  • 1 swede (rutabaga) peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • 3 tbsp of honey
  • 3 tbsp margarine or butter, melted

Heat the oven to 400F. Mix the honey and melted margarine, put the swede cubes into the mix and make sure they are all covered. Put the cubes into a Pyrex dish, pour some of the remaining liquid in the dish, and put in the oven for 45 minutes. Every ten minutes, take the dish out and turn the cubes. They will turn brown and crispy on the edges when they're done, and soft inside like a cooked potato.

Swede/rutabaga is almost guaranteed to boggle the grocery store checkout people. I have to point out which vegetable it is, or it'll get held up with a "what IS this?" or rung up as a turnip.

Recipe: English Flapjacks

English flapjacks are an oat bar made with golden syrup, not a pancake. We found Tate and Lyle's Golden Syrup in the grocery store this month (Dierbergs in Creve Coeur, with the other syrups), and set about making proper English flapjacks. It took four batches to get this recipe right.

If you cannot find golden syrup, this page has some ideas of alternatives.

English Flapjacks.

  • 6 oz (1½ sticks) unsalted butter or margarine
  • 6 oz (almost 1½ cups) dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Tate and Lyle's Golden Syrup (available in some US grocery stores, can use 3tbsp golden syrup and 1tbsp dark molasses if you want)
  • 10 oz (3¼ cups) quick oats (cheap thin oats work best for flapjacks)
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • (optional: 3oz of raisins or dates)

Set the oven for 350F. Melt the margarine, add the golden syrup, salt, and sugar, and mix well until the sugar is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the oats, making sure all of them are covered. It will look like you have too many oats, just keep stirring until all of them are coated.

Grease an 8 inch square Pyrex dish with cooking spray, add the mixture and squish down with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes only, even though it won't look cooked by the end. Leave in the dish to cool and solidify, loosening the edges with a knife, then turn out and slice into squares while still slightly warm. Store in an airtight container.

This makes sixteen squares about two inches across, or eight bars. Ours didn't last long.