Recipe: A Different Scone

I am constantly disappointed with the scones I get in coffee shops and bakeries.

Scones in England are a thing of beauty: soft and sweet, creamy yet flaky, dense yet fluffy. Most of the scones I've tasted in America seem to be made from some sort of bastardized biscuit recipe that probably turns out biscuits as hard and tasteless as the scones. Whoever is responsible for perpetuating these recipes and these scones needs to be disposed of, swiftly. (And they're not doing much justice to the great Southern biscuit legacy, either.)

Perfect buttermilk biscuits are a post reserved for another week, and for a time when we all have a leisurely weekend ahead of us to properly make and enjoy them. For now, here's my default scone recipe using a secret ingredient that makes the scones incredibly moist and flavorful, just as the god of scones intended. You can easily add in fruit or shredded cheese to take them in either a sweet or savory direction. They whip up very quickly with very little preparation needed -- perfect for a busy weekend morning or, if you're truly ambitious, a weekday surprise breakfast.

Bonus: Because you have to work the dough with your hands, this is a great stress reliever or a great activity for the kids, as long as they're supervised.

Vanilla-Lemon Scones


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (light works very well in this recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a crumbly texture. Add the yogurt, sugar, lemon peel and heavy cream and mix briefly to form a soft dough.
  • Using your hands, lightly knead the dough in the bowl until slightly warmed by your hands.
  • Form the dough into a large ball. Place ball on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten to a height of roughly one inch. Leave the center of the dough slightly higher than the edges. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into eight wedges. If desired, sprinkle the extra granulated sugar on top of the dough before putting into the oven.
  • Bake in preheated oven for ten minutes or until risen and golden brown. These are best served freshly baked with butter and honey or jam.

Your friends, family, cat or breakfast guests will never look at an American scone the same way, trust me. And you don't even have to tell them the secret ingredient: healthy, delicious, good-for-you yogurt.

And save your money: Don't buy packaged scone mixes that you see in stores. Not only do they contain far too many non-food ingredients, they don't taste as good and cost far more to make. It took me far too many attempts and wasted dollars to learn that lesson.

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Katharine Shilcutt