I find that honey goes beautifully with the heartier flavor of whole wheat flour, so I used half whole wheat in my honey scone mix. The nearly liquid consistency of runny honey also makes a more moist dough when you use it as the sweetener instead of more granular sugar. For this reason I bake my honey scones in a free form shape instead of cutting them into circles.
If you prefer shaped scones, simply replace the cup of wholemeal flour with white flour, and the honey with 1 tablespoon of white or brown sugar and you will have a firmer dough that allows you to cut the scones into any shape you like. While traditional rounds or fanciful shapes are fun, I prefer the caramel flavor of wholemeal flour in my honey scones, so I'm happy to sacrifice shape for flavor.
Honey scones also don't dry out as easily as scones sweetened with sugar, so they last longer. They have a moist and tender crumb which stands up well to the ravages of time. Once baked, they will keep well for several days in a sealed container. Simply reheat them before serving and they'll taste like you just pulled them out of the oven.
Make Them Your Own
Honey pairs beautifully with fresh herbs, nuts, and dried fruit, so have fun experimenting by adding different things to your dough. Stir in toasted almonds or hazelnuts, a handful of dried cranberries, cherries, or apples, and a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, or lavender. Caramelized ginger is lovely, too.
You can also add freshly ground spices to the mix. Try warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, or expand your flavor horizons by stirring in black pepper or cardamom.
Add an extra layer of flavor and a bit of crunch by brushing the tops of the scones with egg white and sprinkling with black sesame seeds, glistening granules of raw sugar, or a few finely chopped nuts.
Honey scones taste delicious on their own, but are especially good paired with a topping or two. Try slathering on a good, salted butter and a drizzle of more honey, or add a slice of double smoked ham or a fried egg. Their rich sweetness also pairs well with a sharp cheese such as cheddar, aged Gouda, or even Blue Cheese. Drizzle with more honey and you have an afternoon feast fit for a king.
Once the scones are a day or two old, they firm up a bit and make an excellent base for toasted sandwiches. Stuff them with salty prosciutto, shredded pork, or shaved ham, a generous grating of cheese and a smear of sweet preserves or caramelized onions, then pop them under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese. Blissful with hot soup.
What is your favorite topping for scones?
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- 1 cup spelt or wholemeal flour
- 1 cup white flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- 1/2 cup salted butter, cut or grated in small pieces
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
In small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and honey until combined. Set aside.
In medium bowl, stir together both flours, baking powder, salt, and ground ginger. Add pieces of butter, cutting it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, two knives, or your hands until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (If you used your hands, refrigerate flour mixture for 10-20 minutes for the butter to harden so the scones are flaky instead of heavy.)
Give the milk mixture a quick whisk to make sure honey is well incorporated, then pour into flour mixture and stir gently with a fork until everything comes together into a soft dough.
Using a spoon or your hands, scoop 1/3 cups dough onto the baking sheet in rough mounds, leaving 1-2 inches of space between scones.
Bake 12-15 minutes until tops are golden and scones are cooked through.
Serve warm with salted butter and honey. If saving for later, reheat before serving.