International Incident Party – Scones

(We interrupt this Road Trip for an International Incident…)

Memory is a funny thing, you know.  When I think of scones, I think of my maternal grandmother, Nana R and how often she used to serve these for morning or afternoon tea when we went to her house on the weekends as little girls.  My memory of her scones of of fluffy, light, pillowey puffs, served warm with melty butter or jam and a good dollop of cream.  Until yesterday, that is.  But I guess it’s been a long time between scones as there was a long period in my life when I didn’t eat them so perhaps my memory isn’t what it used to be. Or perhaps I am being selective in what I am remembering…

When I lived in France, you never saw scones anywhere so when I moved to Canada, I was excited to once again, be in a scone-eating land. Except that I wasn’t.  Scones (in North America, this word rhymes with “stones”, in other parts of the world, it has a shorter vowel “o”as in “songs) were triangular (!) and hard. And often adulterated with all sorts of flavours. Not your my granny’s scone, in other words.  So I rarely eat scones. Oh, sure, I could make them myself but let’s be honest, who needs batches of scones sitting around just asking to be eaten.  When Penny announced that the theme of this month’s International Incident party was to be scones, I was quite excited and set out to recreate the scones lingering at the back of my memory from my childhood.

Now I am not much of a baker so I enlisted my mum’s help.  On the aforementioned Road Trip, my dad seemed to consume a large amount of scones.  Everytime, they were the North American version and this was verified by my mum.  I requested that immediately upon arrival home, she send me “Nana’s recipe” for scones but it turns out she doesn’t use Nana’s one – rather, she is a fan of this recipe from Taste.com.au for simple Buttermilk Scones.  She suggested I halve the recipe since there are only two of us – it made 6 scones of about 5cm in diameter, perfect for two people.

I was very very gentle with the dough, as per mum’s instructions but they did not turn out nearly as fluffy as I remember them.  They hardly rose at all and were supposed to be “hollow sounding” when they were cooked. Well I could tell they were cooked but they most certainly did not sound hollow.  They did look pretty though…

When I broke one open soon after it came out of the oven, it was more doughy than fluffy and my heart sank.  But when I slathered butter and a generous dob of jam on top and took a bite, it took me back to those morning and afternoon teas of my childhood. The taste was definitely spot on.

(Nope, no shame about the butter oozing off that scone!).  This was Neil approved also.  Knowing that the true test would be with the traditional jam and cream topping, I went ahead and topped one with jam and a dob of clotted cream that we are fortunate enough to find at our local supermarket…

And then did one with cream first, then jam on top as I seem to remember Nana preferred.


The taste is definitely the taste I remember. The “fluffiness” factor, well it certainly was not what I thought it should be but it was fluffier and less heavy than some of the scones I have tasted here.  So success, I guess. But Nana, they don’t come anywhere near my memory of yours. Miss you xoxo

Check out what some of the other participants made by clicking on the thumbnails below.

54 Responses to International Incident Party – Scones

  1. girlichef August 21, 2010 at 21:12 #

    Beautiful and heartfelt…that means everything! Your scones DO look divine…love the dollop of cream and shmear of jam 🙂

  2. penny aka jeroxie August 21, 2010 at 21:16 #

    Gorgeous! And thanks for this even though you are still on your roadtrip.
    BY the way, try putting all the scones together while baking. It helps in rising!

  3. 5 Star Foodie August 21, 2010 at 22:08 #

    Your scones look so pretty and sound super delicious! Yummy with butter & jam!

  4. Xiaolu August 22, 2010 at 02:28 #

    Aw my grandmother recently passed as well and she was an amazing cook whose dishes I’ll miss dearly. Glad these were tasty despite not being exactly like your grandma’s.

  5. Anh August 22, 2010 at 05:56 #

    Gorgeous! That is one beautiful looking scone!

  6. Iron Chef Shellie August 22, 2010 at 08:00 #

    Ahhh the cream or the jam on top! It’s such a debate! As long as they transported you back to remembering Grandma, that’s the best part of the whole challenge =)

  7. Belinda @zomppa August 22, 2010 at 08:43 #

    I’ve never heard them pronounced scones with the o in song before. This is the classic bestest topping – cream and jam.

  8. Simply Life August 22, 2010 at 08:45 #

    Oh those look delicious!

  9. Trix August 22, 2010 at 09:29 #

    Funny, I had really only seen the triangular versions and now with this Incident I am seeing so many shapes! I think a “proper” scone like yours is shaped more like what I would call a biscuit, but then in British English a biscuit is a cookie … well it’s confusing! Anyway, I love that you did something from your childhood … and so glad that the taste took you right back. You are much more of a baker than you think you are!

  10. pegasuslegend August 22, 2010 at 10:21 #

    Awe what a sweet post! Its so hard remembering nana’s and the taste of the past, brings tears to my eyes everytime. These look awesome, she would be so proud!

  11. Suzie the Foodie August 22, 2010 at 10:38 #

    It must be time for tea! 🙂 I made tea biscuits before I hurt my shoulder and they are similar to yours but yours look much less dry… yum! I don’t know what is up with people making those triangular scones, I think they want them bigger and are too lazy to cut them out here. I prefer the smaller circular biscuit too! Nicely done Mardi. 🙂

  12. Cathy August 22, 2010 at 11:20 #

    Well, as any Cornish person would tell you the absolutely correct way to do a scone (or scon) is cream first (acting as butter) and then the jam. Any other way is nonsense, or you are having your cream tea in Devon.
    My best cream tea this season was sitting in the most southerly tea rooms on the Lizard Point, with as much local (Rodda’s)clotted cream as we could force into us!!!!!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 23, 2010 at 09:28 #

      Gosh Cathy – I totally should have asked you for a scon recipe!!!!!!

      • Cathy August 23, 2010 at 10:53 #

        Well, I’d have to go to my mum who would have got it from her mum (nana), who made the best scones, cornish pasties and rice pudding in the world! (Let alone in Cornwall!!).

        Glad to see summer trip was fun!

  13. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz August 22, 2010 at 11:25 #

    I think you mom was the perfect companion to recreate this recipe with. And glad the taste was spot on. Put all the butter you want. They look great.

  14. Rochelle (Acquired Taste) August 22, 2010 at 15:06 #

    Lovely scones! I’m sorry they didn’t turn out as fluffy, but at least the taste was good 🙂

    Sorry us North Americans make our scones more like our version of “biscuits” where they aren’t quite as fluffy unless you use a southern recipe (of course these recipes are the ones most look to for a good biscuit over here 😛 )

  15. Barbara Bakes August 22, 2010 at 16:55 #

    We really should have tea time in the US. What a perfect way to spend time relaxing in the afternoon with luscious scones like yours. I especially love the oozing butter pic.

  16. Tamar August 22, 2010 at 20:21 #

    Thanks for introducing us to your Nana’s recipe!

  17. jenjenk August 22, 2010 at 20:25 #

    i *heart* scones!! i’m always on a quest for the perfect scone!! and i love that you used a half a stick of butter on that puppy!! 🙂

  18. The Cilantropist August 22, 2010 at 21:48 #

    Ahh, I know how hard it can be to recreate traditional family recipes, and sometimes is difficult even when you have the actual recipe that your grandmother worked from! Not having the orignal recipe makes it more difficult, but it looks like you did a fine job and it is the journey that makes it fun. 😉

  19. Anna Johnston August 22, 2010 at 22:49 #

    I know what you mean about scones. My grandmother was a Scone Queen, they were tall fluffy light wonders that she seemed to be able to slap together in no time flat. I’m not much of a scone maker (for all the reasons you’ve mentioned, namely if I bake ’em I’ll eat ’em & ….., you know the rest 🙂
    Your scones look beautiful & I wonder., is a scone a scone without the jam & cream…, personally I think not 🙂

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 23, 2010 at 09:26 #

      Totally agree, all these flavoured versions don’t hold a candle to a plain scone with jam and cream!

  20. Conor @ HoldtheBeef August 23, 2010 at 10:47 #

    It is impossible for me to think about scones without thinking of my Nanna too. Her fruit scones are the bomb, and she’ll always have some in her freezer for when you call around for afternoon tea. I really should get her recipe.

    Yours look great despite the apparent lack of rise, and who cares how tall they are when the taste whisks you back to Nannaland?

  21. RavieNomNoms August 23, 2010 at 14:03 #

    WOW! They look fantastically good!

  22. Kocinera August 23, 2010 at 19:09 #

    Oh how I miss those beautiful, non-rocky scones! There used to be a fabby tea room near me that served some lovely ones. I think I’ll have to try making some for myself!

  23. Carolina Girl in the City August 23, 2010 at 23:02 #

    British scones are what we Americans call biscuits. English biscuits of course being what Americans call cookies. And American scones are indeed a totally different breed of tea time snack. So confusing! I had to verify all of this with my boyfriend’s British mum to make sure I wasn’t getting them all mixed up. Now don’t even get me started on “English muffins”, crumpets and American muffins…

  24. Caroline August 24, 2010 at 04:37 #

    The taste that brings you back to your childhood are the best ones. Glad you were able to do that with your scones. Hopefully the next time you make them, they will turn out fluffy just like you remembered.

  25. Celeste @ Berrytravels August 24, 2010 at 05:19 #

    Oh the scones look good!! My very first scones that i tasted were really hard and tough so I’ve never liked scones since. But I do believe I should give them another go – maybe make them myself this time!

  26. Cherrie August 24, 2010 at 06:11 #

    Your scones look beautiful. Thanks for sharing your Nana’s scones recipe

  27. Kate @ Savour Fare August 24, 2010 at 14:25 #

    I’ll have to dig out my mom’s scone recipe — they’re fluffy and wonderful. I do depart from tradition and cut them into triangles, though — it’s so much easier than circles, and there’s less handling and waste of the dough.

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite August 27, 2010 at 09:41 #

      True about the less waste and handling but somehow a triangular shape for me isn’t a scone… 😉

  28. Alli August 29, 2010 at 05:44 #

    I love scones but as a child I just didn’t get why my Mum always ordered them instead of the big cream cakes I favoured as a little girl. I am now my mother and love scones but they do have to be the light fluffy ones too with jam and cream and I ahve no problem making a batch for myself every few weeks :o)

  29. cat September 6, 2010 at 22:11 #

    food and memory are so intertwined . . . many of my own memories of my mother and my grandmother center around the kitchen and around specific dishes . . . love that you wrote about your scones through the lens of your memories of your nana!

  30. Alicia @beingLA.com November 23, 2011 at 20:50 #

    I absolutely love scones so finding this recipe was quite exciting! Thanks for sharing 🙂


  1. Round up #6 – International Scones Incident Party | Addictive and consuming - A Melbourne food blog - August 23, 2010

    […] Mardi of Eat, live, travel, write – Buttermilk Scones […]

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