These rich and buttery scones are extra special, as they are full of candied dried ginger chunks and then topped with a drizzled white chocolate glaze. With only seven simple ingredients, these candied ginger scones so easy to make, super delicious and perfect for a holiday treat.
I really love scones! Scones are the quintessential British quick bread pastry, perfect for breakfast, tea time, or anytime. Buttery and delicious scones, in their many forms, are tasty and fulfilling. I love that there are countless variations.
Years ago, after making many varieties of scones, I happened upon a really wonderful batch of dried candied ginger pieces at a local natural food shop. Dried candied ginger can be fabulous – soft and juicy with a nice gingery bite… OR… dried ginger can be too dry and stringy and tough; it really depends on the supplier and the particular batch.
So, having a great bunch of candied ginger on hand, one day I had the epiphany of making candied ginger scones. Someone, somewhere in the world had probably already done this, but it was a new idea for me. You might think by the name that they are like gingerbread (which wouldn’t be a bad idea, now that I consider it). But no, these scones are regular butter scones, bumped up a notch with the inclusion of yummy dried candied ginger pieces. Just wait ‘til you try these; if you love ginger, you won’t be sorry.
I recently came upon another incredible batch of crystallized candied ginger so I was very happy to make these ginger scones again!
I remember the first time I had authentic British scones, when we lived in England for a few months many years ago. We had taken an overnight flight from the US and were headed to a small town in Devonshire on the southwest coast of England. Immediately after landing in London, we went to the train station for another trip across the whole country to reach our destination.
Needless to say, we were exhausted. I remember that Jay fell asleep for the entire train trip. He has this amazing ability to fall asleep in almost any position, so he was out for the train ride. I, however, cannot fall asleep unless I’m tucked into bed in my jammies, so I usually read, watch scenery (or non-stop movies, on a plane!) while Jay is blissfully snoozing away… lucky him!
Anyway, we were met at the train station by our colleague, who bustled us into his little car for another 2 and a half hour ride (!) to the town where we would be staying. He was so kindly and chatty, pointing out every scenic spot along the way, even though for all of his efforts, we were about to just pass out from fatigue. All of a sudden, he swerved onto a side road and exclaimed that he knew just what was needed for our introduction to Devonshire – a Devon Cream Tea!
At this point all we wanted was a bed and a day’s rest, but he was so excited that we couldn’t say no (well, it looked like he had gotten it in his head that we needed this and that was where we were headed anyway) so off we went to a lovely village farm-to-table sort of venue where they served Devon Cream Tea. He assured us that this place was famous for its Cream Tea – which we had no idea about at all.
Apparently, cream tea is not a cup of tea with cream in it… oh, no! Cream Tea is a cup of tea, served with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam.
It is not a prolonged social time with a variety of tea snacks, as is Afternoon Tea, nor is it a larger meal with tea, such as High Tea. Cream Tea is a “sit down, drink your tea, eat your scone and go” type of tea – which was perfect for us, as our host rightly suggested!
As for the importance of a Devon Cream Tea… well, according to Michael from Teahow, that’s because Devonshire (and the whole southwestern part of England) is known for its thick clotted cream, a particularly rich variety of whole cream derived from full dairy milk. It’s yellowish and so thick that it resembles butter. My opinion? Completely divine.
There are different varieties of clotted cream from Devonshire and Cornwall, (and in most of what is considered the “West Country’ of England). There is also a specific order in each area as to how tea is served and even how the cream and jam are applied to the scones! Michael’s whole article about the cream tea tradition is very fascinating!
We didn’t observe all of the rituals at our cream tea, (mostly because we were falling asleep ’til that first bit of caffeine hit us) but oh, my goodness, was that clotted cream with jam on scones fantastic! I’m not sure anything ever tasted so wonderful to me as that little tea snack. It was probably a combination of the circumstances and the high quality fresh ingredients, but I am truly thankful for this experience – one of my fondest travel memories associated with regional foods.
Anyway, that really got me off to a fine start with loving scones, although it was several years before I tried making them myself. Not that I needed to have been hesitant about it… scones are exceptionally easy to prepare and so worth it!
Let’s Make Ginger Scones
A scone is more or less a type of unleavened biscuity quick bread.
It’s important to use good quality butter, because there are so few ingredients that each one should be unadulterated to ensure the best flavor.
The flour, baking powder, salt and sugar are mixed together into a mixing bowl. Then cold butter is cut in, in small pieces and mixed with your fingers until the butter is evenly reduced to small pea-sized chunks.
The chopped ginger is added to the crumbly dry mixture and evenly distributed.
Then milk is added and the dough is quickly formed without any mashing or over-blending – just until it holds together. Scone dough is something that you want to deal with minimally to preserve the light buttery crumb and to avoid toughness in the final product.
The dough is formed by hand into a flat round disk and turned onto a floured cutting board, then minimally rolled/patted into a disk of about 1 ¼ inches in thickness.
I like to cut these scones into triangle shapes, but you could certainly make rounds as well. For triangles, you can make either 6 huge scones, (as I did for this recipe) by cutting the disk into half and then each half into thirds or…
You can make 8 smaller scones, by cutting the disk into quarters and then the quarters again into halves.
If you make triangles, you have absolutely no dough scraps, which I like. If you make rounds (or scalloped rounds or any other shape) and then gather the scraps and reform and roll again for more rounds, the reformed scraps may make a tougher scone. Either way, you choose!
Make sure that all of the ginger pieces are pushed into the scones (especially on the bottoms or they will stick and burn) so they do not fall out or pop up and look odd. If any pieces fall out during cutting the dough, just place them where they are needed and look best. Try to ensure that the ginger pieces are distributed evenly throughout the dough, because no one wants the scone with too few ginger pieces! (I speak from experience; one of my regular ginger-scone-loving customers called me out on that one day! Eek! I replaced her less-than-perfect scone and gave her an extra one – with lots of ginger pieces!)
The scones are placed on a parchment lined baking sheet. Normally scones do not stick, but parchment is extra insurance.
The scones bake for only a few short minutes; you can check the bottoms and they should be removed when the bottoms are only lightly browned.
These ginger scones are fantastic just as they are, right out of the oven and don’t really need any further decoration. Although for this batch, I decided to drizzle them with melted white chocolate, just for a change and to dress them up a bit.
But they really don’t need extras to be delicious. In fact, several years ago when we were living in Mexico, I did dessert catering and sold these ginger scones right out of the oven, at a little shop that was frequented by expats in the area. I would deliver them early in the morning and several customers got into the habit of picking up one of these yummy ginger scones with a cup of coffee to start their day. When we finally left the area, I had to leave my recipe with the shop owner – because, you know, positive addictions need to be fulfilled!
Expats can be a discerning group, so if they were happy with these scones, you probably will be too!
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Delicious Bakery Style Candied Ginger Scones
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 TBSP baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 TBSP sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup unsalted cold butter
- ⅔ cup milk
- ⅓-½ cup candied ginger chunks, cut to approx ¼ inch
- 7 oz white chocolate, approx. 200 gr.
- pinch of oil for thinning white chocolate if necessary
- Mix flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and sugar in large mixing bowl. Blend thoroughly
- Cut in cold butter and mix with fingers until butter is roughly pea-sized
- Add ginger pieces and mix to distribute (I usually use about ⅓ cup of ginger pieces, but you can add up to ½ if you prefer more pieces
- Add milk and mix together until the dough just holds together and all flour has been incorporated – I usually use my hands for this. Avoid overworking the dough.
- Form dough into a ball and then flatten by hand to form a nicely rounded disk. Place disk on floured cutting board and roll slightly with rolling pin to get the disk about 1-1.5 inches in thickness (the thicker the dough, the taller the scones)
- With a sharp knife, cut the disk in half; then cut each half into pie-shaped thirds (triangles). You can also cut the disk into quarters then eights if you want 8 smaller scones.
- Lightly press down any popping-up ginger pieces and replace any that may have escaped during cutting.
- Place scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment
- Bake in oven preheated to 400°F for between 10-17 minutes. Check scones while cooking for browned bottoms which indicate doneness. Baking toward the upper end of timing will result in crunchier scones with browner tops – be sure to check that bottoms do not burn!
- Set scones on rack to cool.
- Melt white chocolate on low in a small pot, stirring frequently to avoid sticking. If your chocolate does not easily flow for drizzling when melted, add up to ½ teaspoon oil to thin chocolate to drizzling texture
- Drizzle chocolate onto cooled scones with a spoon, or through a pastry bag (or corner of a plastic bag with tip cut out) as preferred