traybakes & more

retro recipes for the modern baker

Category: Breads/scones

Treacle Scones

Scones are a big part of Northern Irish baking. To be honest, scones are popular on both sides of the Atlantic, although the American variety do tend to be bigger. These Treacle Scones are a nice variation on a plain scone (recipe here). They are a little sweet and the treacle adds a lovely depth of flavor and color. Best served with a slathering of butter and your favorite jam.

Living in the US means that some of my traditional ingredients aren’t as easy to come by, so I needed to go to a specialist store to get the black treacle required for this recipe, as it’s not available in standard supermarkets over here. The closest equivalent to black treacle in the US is dark molasses (not blackstrap). According to the internet – and my taste test – they are not exactly the same thing, but it’s a pretty good substitute if you can’t find black treacle.

Just to check the difference for myself, I baked one batch of scones with treacle and one with molasses. The treacle batch was darker and sweeter and the molasses batch was lighter and a little more bitter. But either way, both sets of scones were delicious!

As with any scone recipe, this is a simple recipe. But don’t mix it too much, don’t knead it too much and don’t roll it out too thinly. Follow these simple directions and you’ll be rewarded with a  light, fluffy tasty scone.

Ingredients

6oz/170g/1½ cups plain flour (all-purpose flour)

1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

1 tbsp sugar

1½oz/45g/3 tbsp butter

2-3 tbsp buttermilk

1 tbsp black treacle (or dark molasses)

1 egg, beaten

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 375F/190C.

2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl.

3. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

4. Add the beaten egg, treacle and buttermilk and mix until you have a soft dough.

5. Roll out on a floured surface until the scone dough is approximately 2.5cm/1 inch thick and cut into rounds. I get 7-8 scones from this quantity of dough.

Black Treacle Scones on the left, Molasses Scones on the right

6. Place on a floured baking sheet, brush the tops with milk and bake for 10-12 minutes.

7. Remove to a wire rack to cool for as long as you can hold out. Then break open, butter and enjoy!

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Fruit Soda Bread

Soda bread is remarkably quick and easy to make. There is no yeast involved, no proving or kneading, you just mix everything together, shape it and bake it!  All the rising comes from the reaction of the baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and buttermilk.

This Fruit Soda Bread is a firm favorite in the Traybakes’ household. While best eaten on the day it’s made (especially with a generous slathering of butter) it’s also good toasted, if you have any left after a day or two!

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Tea Loaf

I drink a lot of tea. I consider it to be a normal amount, but it’s probably well above average for my little corner of suburban Massachusetts.  Perfectly normal for Northern Ireland though.  And tea features in my baking this week.  This is a recipe for Tea Loaf.  A simple, straightforward bake that requires very little hands-on time.

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Plain Scones

Another non-traybake recipe.  But scones are very traditional in Northern Ireland and there was a recipe in one of my books, so here it is!

This is a recipe for plain scones.  No additions.   No sickly, sugary glazes (American scones, I’m looking at you here).  Just plain scones, best eaten while still warm and fresh from the oven.  With butter and jam.  Or clotted cream, if you live somewhere you can buy the proper stuff.

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