Baking & Desserts
jan 23, 2021

Scotch Scones

We’ve been feeling a renewed urgency to preserve and share our families’ recipes, inspired by Anna Francese Gass, author of Heirloom Kitchen: Heritage Recipes & Family Stories from the Tables of Immigrant Women. For her blog and book, Anna gathered precious recipes from the troves of immigrant women, cooking elbow to elbow in their home kitchens to document every smidgen of spice and coffee cupful of flour that in many cases had never been recorded on the page. We’re thrilled she will join us for January 2021’s installment of the Salt + Spine Cookbook Club Virtual Dinner Party.
Our own heritage recipe journey tugs us back to Scotland, whence both of our family trees branched across the Atlantic generations ago. One of our most cherished treats is from Chris’ Paisley-born maternal grandfather, who arrived in the U.S. as a child with his mother’s recipe for Scotch Scones in hand. Each child in our household has completed the right of passage that is patting (& sneaking tastes of) the tangy dough into a disc before cutting into the familiar treasured triangles. Our youngest, Charlotte, often delights us with a batch on a happy weekend morning.
Scotch Scones differ from others in that they are cooked on a griddle instead of baking in the oven. They are golden brown on the outside, soft in the middle, and not too sweet. Like other scones, they make an ideal canvas for dabs of butter and the season’s best jam.

Scotch Scones

From Grandma Wilson

Author Chris Bonomo

This scone recipe comes from my maternal grandfather, who came to the U.S. from Scotland. Surprisingly to some, these scones are cooked on the stovetop, not baked in an oven. A family favorite, our kids especially like sneaking bites of the uncooked dough.

Yield   16 scones


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

¼ cup sugar

1 level teaspoon salt

1 rounded teaspoon baking soda

1 heaping teaspoon cream of tartar

8 ounces sour cream

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, melted and cooled

A little milk, if needed


Sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar. Using a fork, mix in the sour cream and then the melted butter until the dough comes together in a ball. If the dough is a little dry, add a small amount of milk.
Divide the dough in half. Put one half on a clean tea towel that has been dusted with flour. Loosely fold the towel around the dough and shape it into a disc about ¾ inch high. Unwrap and cut the dough into 8 triangular pieces. Repeat this process for the other half of the dough.
Cook the individual triangles of dough on a preheated griddle or cast iron pan over medium heat, rotating the scones as needed so all sides turn a beautiful golden brown. You'll most likely need to cook them in batches. If you can muster the self-restraint, allow the scones to cool before eating. Scones are best when allowed to 'dry out', according to Grandma Wilson.