or scroll for handy tips and a little nostalgia.
The rich, buttery goodness of scones combined with the sweet, caramel-like flavour of dates creates one of the more popular variations of the classic scone: Date Scones.
The Recipe for Date Scones
Aussies have loved Date Scones for decades and, while they’re definitely a nostalgic treat, you can sometimes still find them at country bakeries.
The earliest Australian recipe I could find for date scones was in a Melbourne newspaper in 1922.
I found a few recipes for date scones in Nana Ling‘s collection, and one really stood out.
I discovered it in this collection of recipes from a “cookery contest” held by the Australian Women’s Weekly in the late 1940s.
This recipe is not only packed with dates, but also contains a little fresh orange juice and zest.
The tanginess and citrusy aromatics of the orange improve the natural richness and earthiness of the dates.
It’s a whole lot more flavour in one little scone!
Ingredients for Date Scones
To make these scones, you’ll need:
- dates (dried, pitted) – they wouldn’t be date scones without them!
- caster sugar
- orange zest
- fresh orange juice
- SR flour (or plain/all purpose flour + baking powder)
Ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make Date Scones
First, soak the chopped dates in warm water for about 10 minutes. If you chop and measure out the dates and cover with water this first, it’ll be about 10 minutes before you’re ready to use them in the recipe.
Just add enough water to cover the dates completely.
To prepare, you also want to pre-heat the oven to 210 degrees celsius/410 degrees fahrenheit and grease the tin you’ll cook the scones in. A cake tin or other baking dish with sides works best rather than a flat baking tray
Let’s make scones
Cream the butter, sugar and zest until pale and fluffy.
Add the beaten eggs and drained, chopped dates.
Add the sifted flour, cinnamon and salt, one third at a time, alternately with milk and juice – all while stirring with a butter knife.
Don’t overmix. Just stir enough to combine the ingredients.
How does your mixture look? The mixture should be sticky and soft but hold shape.
If it’s too sticky and soft, add a little extra flour. If it’s too dry, add a little extra milk.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and shape into a rectangle about 1 inch thick.
Cut out scones
Using a 5-6 cm scone cutter, cut out circles.
Place circles about 1/2 – 1cm apart on the greased tray. Brush tops of each circle with milk.
Bake for 12 minutes or until a pale golden colour on top.
Allow to cool for a minute or two in the tray before turning out into a clean tea towel placed on a cooling rack. Wrap in the tea towel and serve while still warm with butter.
Q. How long will Date Scones keep for?
All scones are best eaten as fresh as possible – ideally straight from the oven! Or at least the day they’re made.
You can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days, however they might be a little drier than fresh scones.
Q. Can I freeze scones?
Scones freeze well in an airtight container or zip-lock bag. However be sure to let them cool first and then consume them within three months.
Q. What type of dates are best for this recipe?
Use the dried, pitted dates that are available in the dried fruits aisle of the supermarket.
Q. Do you have other scone recipes?
- 5-6 cm scone cutter
- cake tin (or any baking dish with higher sides)
- 1 cup chopped dates (145 grams)
- 60 grams butter
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar (40 grams) (superfine sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 cups SR flour (or plain/all purpose flour + 5 teaspoons baking powder)
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- extra milk (for brushing tops of scones)
- Soak dates in warm water for 10 minutes and then drain well.
- Pre-heat oven to 210 degrees celsius/410 degrees fahrenheit.
- Grease cake tin.
- Cream butter, sugar and zest until pale and fluffy.
- Add beaten eggs and drained, chopped dates.
- Add sifted flour, cinnamon and salt, one third at a time, alternately with milk and juice, while stirring with a butter knife. Mixture should be sticky and soft but hold shape. If it's too sticky and soft, add a little extra flour. If it's too dry, add a little extra milk.
- Turn dough onto a floured surface and shape into a rectangle about 1 inch thick.
- Using a 5-6 cm scone cutter, cut out circles. Place circles about 1/2 – 1cm apart on the greased tray. Brush tops of each circle with milk.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until a pale golden colour on top.
- Allow to cool for a minute or two in the tray before turning out into a clean tea towel placed on a cooling rack. Wrap in the tea towel and – if possible – serve while still warm with butter.