Date-Orange Scones

CENTRAL PARK SNOWI think nature gives us lengthening days in late January and early February to help us get through the interminable winter and remind us that spring is just around the corner.

More than once this past week I have headed out of my windowless office after a long day, having braced myself for the cold and dark, only to find my spirits uplifted by a still light blue sky. That same evening sky beckoned me to forgo the crosstown bus twice this week and walk through the snow covered Central Park instead.

fifth ave snow

If Punxatawny Phil is correct, we still have another five weeks of winter.  I prefer to think if it as five more weeks of increasingly long days. Sunset today is at 5:30 pm, but on March 16, it will be at 7:04 pm!  By then, it may even be warm enough to bike a loop in the park after work.

If that’s not enough to cheer you up, maybe these scones will.



These scones were modified from the recipe for Orange-Currant Scones from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, written by the late great Judy Rogers and acclaimed by many as one of the best cookbooks ever written.

This recipe breaks from traditional scone recipes by using an egg, which is thought to act as a leavener and extend the shelf life of a scone.   It makes sense that a cafe chef would use an egg in her scones, which are notorious for becoming dry and stale very quickly, to allow for advance preparation.  Rogers also bakes her scones at a lower temperature, doubling the baking time. If you want a more traditional scone that bakes in 10-15 mins, try my perfect scone recipe.

I’ve also made these scones using sheep’s milk yogurt instead of milk (adding a tbsp or so of skim milk or water to thin it before using). The recipe makes 12 scones, and the extras freeze well – just reheat in the oven or a wide toaster. Or cut the recipe in half to make 6 scones.

  • 3 cups flour (13 1/2 ounces)
  • Scant 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried dates
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated orange rind
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter till the size of small peas. Add dates and orange zest and mix well. Whisk  egg and milk together and add quickly to dry ingredients.  Don’t over mix.

Divide the dough in half, dump out onto a floured surface and pat each half into a one once think round. Cut like a pie into 6 wedges.

Bake until golden and firm to touch, about 25-30 mins.  Best served warm form the oven.

date-orange scone 4


More on scone recipes and technique from TBTAM

Other food bloggers try the Zuni scones

  • Tea for Six gets a gorgeous rise out of hers. So does Angela. Hmm…maybe I need to freshen up my baking powder…
  • Alice Garden makes a Meyer Lemon and Blueberry version of the Zuni scone
  • Cooking Zuni has the same thoughts I have about scones helping make it till spring


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.