Orange and Oat Scones Recipe

Rustic orange-scented oat scones peppered with currants inspired by a recipe in Romney Steele's new Big Sur-based My Nepenthe cookbook.

Orange and Oat Scones

I spent most of the week under my favorite blanket on the couch - sniff, cough, cough, sniff, sneeze, repeat. The good news is I'm on the mend, and after a short walk today something tells me I wasn't alone in my misery. It seems as if half the city is coughing into their elbows. So yeah, last week was all about the small victories for me - going downstairs to get the mail, finishing a load of laundry (as in one), writing letters, and eventually, as I was starting to feel better, making a batch of orange and oat scones from the My Nepenthe cookbook. If only you could have been there when they came out of the oven, yum.

Orange and Oat Scone Recipe

They were good later too though. I nibbled at a golden corner of one of the scones a couple hours after they came out of the oven, then four hours later, then six - they seemed to be improving with age.

In fact I wish I had one right now. In hindsight, I should have frozen some of the dough, then baked them off a few at a time.

Orange and Oat Scone Recipe

I'm so looking forward to trying more from Romney's new book, she includes an eclectic mix of recipes including the full range of mains, soups, side salads. But it's the sweets and breakfast recipes that I suspect will make an appearance in my kitchen in the near future - the wheat germ buttermilk hotcakes, persimmon pudding cake, and the triple berry pie.

Orange and Oat Scone Recipe

If you haven't seen the book yet, look around for it. I think it's just starting to show up in stores. It's just the sort of cookbook that takes you to another place and time - beautifully designed and photographed, and the story she tells of her life and legacy at Nepenthe in Big Sur is very special. For those of you who love the Tessa Kiros cookbooks, aesthetically this book is similar in spirit.

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Orange and Oat Scone Recipe

I made a few tweaks to Romney's original recipe, and they are reflected below. I use whole wheat pastry flour here, but you can use unbleached all-purpose flour, or a blend of both if you like. This version of the recipe makes 8-10 huge scones. The next time I make these I'll likely pat the dough into two 4-inch rounds and cut each of those into 6-8 smaller scones before baking.

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups rolled oats
zest of 1 orange
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup coarse turbinado or Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
2/3 cup dried currants

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse 15-20 times or until it looks like sandy pearls. (If you are working by hand, cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter.) Transfer the dough to a bowl and stir in the oats and zest. Stir in the buttermilk and currants until just moistened.

Bring the dough together with your hands. If the dough is still too crumbly, stir in more buttermilk a tiny splash at a time, but try to avoid over mixing. After bringing the dough together, gently pat it into an 8-inch round. Cut into triangle shapes (see photo) and transfer to the prepared baking sheet with some room between each scone. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Bake for 12 to 15 minute or until the bottoms are deeply golden.

Makes 8 extra-large scones, or 12 to 16 larger ones.

This recipe was adapted from My Nepenthe by Romney Steele. Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, November 2009.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 15 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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ohhhhh... these look divine... i initially thought the currants were bits of licorice, which might be good, or might be really weird. i'm definitely going to try making the currant version of these! thanks again!! :)


The kids think these are heaven. Thanks for all the excellent ideas. Glad you are feeling better.

From Africa

This looks like a great variation on a scone which I will be trying. Here is a brilliant quick scone recipe when you need something in a hurry. 4 cups self raising flour.1 bottle (300ml) cream. 1 can lemonade (sprite or 7up in US). Put flour in bowl,stir through cream, and tip in lemonade,mix quickly to a sticky dough, pat out on a well floured board, cut as desired and get into a hot oven (220C) FAST. They are soft, fluffy and delicious. Try with home made raspberry jam and whipped cream.


@ Anne-Renee: a pound of butter (454g) has 4 sticks, so 1 stick is about 115g. Just to confuse the rest of the world more, we also refer to 1 stick of butter as 1/2 cup or 8 Tablespoons of butter. And also note when you're doing conversions that American pints, quarts, and gallons are smaller (i.e., have fewer fluid ounces) than those in the UK. Measuring dry ingredients by weight is SO much more sensible and accurate.


Wow, these sound absolutely wonderful. Glad you're feeling better! I think I'll have to make a gluten-free version. (To Jeff: I have found that a combo of sorghum flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and brown rice flour, plus a bit of xanthan gum, subs well for flour in biscuit-y recipes like these. However, if they come out as well as I hope - I'll definitely post!)

Wow, these sound absolutely wonderful. Glad you're feeling better! I think I'll have to make a gluten-free version. (To Jeff: I have found that a combo of sorghum flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and brown rice flour, plus a bit of xanthan gum, subs well for flour in biscuit-y recipes like these. However, if they come out as well as I hope - I'll definitely post!

I have been on a hunt for true, dense, tasty scones. Seems they've changed over the years and its hard to find something thats not cake-like in texture. And you have two of my favorite ingredients!


Hope you are all better now Heidi. I think I will make these for hubby this afternoon. I may use lemon in place of the orange as lemon is his favorite in the whole world. :-) Thanks for such lovely recipes.

Beverly Jane

These sound wonderful! However, I'm wondering if you have any insights on how to offset real whole wheat flour. I grind my own and am wondering if I can add dough enhancer or wheat gluten or something to "make" my flour reflect the properties of a pastry flour. Any ideas? I really appreciate your time/thoughts on this. Thank you!!!


Having never had a scone, I've always wondered what a scone is. I've looked at them at bakery shops, but they seemed heavy, so I grabbed the lighter weighted pastries or buns. Reading your recipe (like reading other scone recipes) doesn't give me a clue as to what to expect if I bit into one. What's a scone? I guess I may have to try one someday...

Yogurt will work just fine on these. I use no fat yogurt for all my Irish breads and scones. We have a perfect scone day here on the B.C. West Coast. Thanks Heidi I'm off to make a batch. Keep well.


I'm glad to see that this looks like a pretty dry batter. I made Deb's Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones a few weeks ago and they were a complete disaster! I'm sure this was completely my fault as a scone novice, but I don't think I am going to try another recipe with egg in it for a little while.

This so takes me back to my fabulous lunch @ was years ago, and I have never been back (I live on the east coast). DARN... I will put it on my list for the next trip west!!!! Thanks for the memory.... Susan


i am loving scones at the moment! i've been baking up batches of jalapeno-cheddar ones and triple chocolate ones... and lemon scones... just loving them. :0) thanks for adding another option to my list!

These sound great, but would it be possible to make them gluten/dairy free? Thanks!

Glad you are feeling better, Heidi - and these scones look to die for! (and another book I MUST get...) Take care, xx

YUM. I would so experiment chopping up crystallized ginger to sprinkle on top instead of sugar. Or, I've never thought of this before but would be nice to soak sugar with fresh ginger to see if it gets gingered flavor (like vanilla sugar) and sprinkle that!

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