Sweet sweet Friday: Delectable Date & Orange Scones

At my day job I can count on getting at least three emails a week from readers wanting me to print a recipe for date and orange scones from a trio of cafes in town. The clever woman who invented these scones isn’t keen on sharing her recipe for fear that every other coffee joint in New Zealand will start making them, which is fair enough. But I have got so sick of emailing these people back with the stock reply that I’ve taken matter into my own flour-covered hands and invented a recipe myself. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, isn’t it?

Date and Orange Scones
These are much lighter than the scones at Maranui, Deluxe or Queen Sally’s Diamond Deli, which are dense slabs of date-streaked heaven. A dear friend declared mine to be better, but then, she was sitting in my kitchen eating one at the time. See what you think.

3 cups plain flour
2Tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups dates, chopped into thirds (this eliminates the danger of biting into a stone)
2Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or melted butter, but evoo is easier!)
1Tbsp golden syrup (or date syrup, or brown sugar)
1 egg
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1 – 1 1/4 cups orange juice (the good, freshly squeezed stuff, with ‘bits’ in it, not concentrate)
1 navel orange, washed and finely chopped (skin ‘n’ all, though you can discard the navel bit)

Preheat the oven to 220C and put the oven tray in to heat up (don’t grease or flour it).
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, then stir through the dates. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a jug, then pour into the dry ingredients.
Mix VERY lightly with a flat knife or rubber spatula until a soft dough forms. Add the extra 1/4 cup of orange juice if it looks very dry. Tip out onto a cool floured bench top and pat into a flat shape about 2.5cm high. Cut into squares and put immediately on the hot oven tray that has been waiting in the oven for this moment. Leave about a thumb space between them so they have room to nearly join up while cooking.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden, crusty and well risen. Leave on the tray to cool briefly, then eat with lashings of butter.

Thanks for all your great food for thought this week, I’ve loved reading it. Thanks too to everyone who came up with a suggestion for what to do with the coconut flop. (What do you mean, ‘throw it away?’) It was too eggy to biscotti-fy, I haven’t been in the mood for trifle and it was too fragile to turn into a frisbee (the BW was about to try, then saw the look on my face). In the meantime, I’ve stashed it in the freezer while I work out what to do next. It’s probably quite good frozen, I think…

Have a sweet, sweet weekend x



  1. October 6, 2011 / 7:49 pm

    Ummmm lovely! I want a local cafe that serves scones like these ones!

  2. October 6, 2011 / 7:56 pm

    Oh Lucy, these sound really really delicious- does this mean you'll be opening your own cafe??

  3. October 6, 2011 / 8:07 pm

    Another reason why I need a date shop here… 🙂
    They don't know scones here in Belgium either, not a clue. I've never seen anything resembling one in any cafe. The more I read foody blogs from Aus/NZ, the more I realise I am missing here!
    Thanks for your delicious looking recipe, as always 🙂 x Rhi

  4. October 6, 2011 / 9:33 pm

    Scones like this in the morning..so comforting:)

  5. October 6, 2011 / 11:19 pm

    Mmm, have definitely taken a liking to scones without butter *in* them, and having the butter or cream with the scone. Makes for a much lighter scone as you say that is fluffier and keeps a bit longer than an hour post-baking!
    Cheers for sharing 😀 Love this flavour combo.

  6. October 7, 2011 / 3:13 pm

    Ah thank you, thank you Lucy.
    I have been wanting to make scones the past few weeks, but just wasn't being inspired. These I will just have to make and am bookmarking to make after I've made the chocolate muffins my husband has requested (to be made of course with your NZ dark chococlate!).

    Thank you so much x

  7. October 8, 2011 / 6:54 pm

    They look delicious! Date and orange sounds like a wonderful combination, does the orange skin go soft and chewy during the baking? I can't quite imagine putting all the skin and pith in there, but it does look fabulous. I do love a good scone!

  8. October 10, 2011 / 11:18 am

    They look amazing! Dates are a favourite in my book. Haven't seen them paired with orange before, yum 🙂

  9. October 10, 2011 / 11:12 pm

    Oooh, yum. I think I'm going to have to make these! Date scones are amazing, but with orange? Yum!!

    I just stumbled across your blog, love it! 🙂

  10. Anonymous
    October 7, 2013 / 1:25 am

    Just made – found after googling "orange date scones". Was most delicious! Thanks 🙂

  11. Anonymous
    July 6, 2014 / 3:15 am

    Fantastic recipe, and am now on to my third batch!

  12. Anonymous
    July 3, 2015 / 9:25 pm

    Thankyou Lucy, I love this recipe! Its a little bit too sweet for me but all my friends and family love it. (I dont put in the golden syrup when Im making them for me). Yum, yum, yum…

  13. July 28, 2015 / 9:31 am

    Hi Lucy my scones didn't rise well. Any idea what might have gone wrong?

    • July 29, 2015 / 1:29 am

      Hi Gemma, these scones don't rise super-high, but they should still taste good. Was your oven hot enough? Did you over-mix them? Best of luck, Lucy

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