Award-winning author Judythe Morgan has seen a lot of the world as first an Air Force daughter, then an Army wife and a one time-Department of Army Civilian employee.
She’s been an antiques dealer, teacher, former mayor's wife, and sometimes-church pianist, who recently added Sacred Harp singing to her resume. Learn more about Judythe and her books at her website and the weekly blog she writes with her urban farmer daughter.
Annie Foster frequently enjoys a cup of Irish afternoon tea and one of her soon-to-be mother-in-law’s blueberry scones in my Irish love story, Claiming Annie’s Heart. She is in Ireland, so it’s not surprising.
Plus, scones are one of my favorite treats. Whether with breakfast on Lake Louise, the Europa breakfast buffet in Belfast, Northern Ireland, or sitting at my kitchen table in Texas with my cup of Irish breakfast tea (or afternoon tea, depending on the time of day), I savor a not-too-sweet, not-too-dry scone.
Researching Claiming Annie’s Heart in Ireland, I sampled many a scone. Some I had to load with clotted cream because they stuck like peanut butter to the roof of mouth. Others were so perfect they melted in my mouth.
Once back home, I began a quest to find a good scone recipe. I tried dozens searching for the perfect blend of sweet and moist and biscuit consistency before I came up with the recipe below. It started with a recipe on the Bisquik baking mix box.
You’ll notice many options on the ingredients. That’s because, when I make the scones, I use whatever I have on hand. I also discovered if you grate the cold butter, it blends easier, a tip I now apply anytime a recipe calls for cutting in butter.
Another option I like is to use a biscuit cutter instead of shaping into traditional scone triangles. Most Irish serve theirs as biscuits.
Don’t think the recipe is too complicated to try. It’s not.
If you’ve ever made biscuits with Bisquik or from scratch, these scones will be easy-peasy. I promise it goes together quickly, freezes well, and the scones are delicious.
Once you’ve tasted one, you’ll understand why Annie grabs the pastry whenever she can. I know whenever I take a batch some place, they disappear fast.
2 cups Bisquik or other brand of baking mix
10 teaspoons sugar, divided 7 – 3
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries, cherries, raisins, dates, figs, or currants)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup half-and-half, buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon whole milk, almond milk, or soy milk
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 to 3 tablespoons orange marmalade
Preheat the oven to 400°
In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix, 7 teaspoons sugar, and orange zest. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the dried fruit, orange juice, cream/buttermilk, and egg. Add to flour mixture and stir until soft dough forms.
On a floured surface, gently knead 6-8 times, then pat into a 3/4-inch thick 8-inch square. Cut into 4 squares, then cut each square into 2 triangles. If you prefer, form a circle and use a biscuit cutter.
Separate triangles or rounds and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush with milk; sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees F until lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool a bit before glazing.
Combine glaze ingredients, if desired; drizzle over scones. Combine orange butter ingredients; serve with warm scones.
Claiming Annie’s Heart
Annie Foster stays in Ireland after boarding school to nanny a widower’s infant daughter. Five years later, the widower proposes.
Her first love Chad Jones, whom she believes abandoned her, arrives weeks before the wedding on an undercover assignment probing her fiancé’s connection with IRA terrorists. Chad’s determined to change Annie’s mind and her heart because he’s never stopped loving her.
Which man will win Annie’s heart?