Cinnamon Scones (1914) ★★★

You know when you go to look something up on Wikipedia and you click on a link in the article and before you know it 2 hours have passed and you've gone from the history of pasta to the 1974 Olympics? Yeah, that's something like how I found this recipe. I was browsing Wikipedia and I stumbled across a website which had a digitized version of The Sure to Rise Cookery Book. This cookbook was originally published in 1908 and has been in print since then (but is now known as the Edmonds Cookery Book, after the Edmonds company). It is considered "the quintessential guide to traditional New Zealand cuisine". This recipe for cinnamon scones comes from the 1914 edition.

Because there weren't a lot of directions included in this recipe and because I have never made scones before, I took some direction from a slightly older scone recipe I found in an American cookbook from 1921.

Original Recipe:

The Verdict:
Not bad. At 20 minutes, mine were slightly overcooked, but I think I also made them on the small side. The cinnamon on the inside was a little dry - it didn't soak into the dough at all, so it just sort of sat there. I think maybe mixing it directly into the dough or brushing the inside of the scones with milk or melted butter would help the cinnamon get a bit wetter. I used 4 heaping tablespoons of sugar, and although these weren't very sweet, I liked them that way. The 1921 recipe called for just 2, so it could be reduced. I should also note that I used about a 1 to 4 ratio of white to whole wheat flour, so they were a bit dense and weren't very fluffy. More like cookies, than scones. I'm not sure if I would make this exact recipe again, but I will definitely eat all of them because they are tasty. I give them a high 3 star rating, because the taste is good, but the execution needs improvement.

Modernized Recipe:
(Adapted from The Sure to Rise Cookery Book)

1 pound FLOUR
3 teaspoons BAKING POWDER
SUGAR, to taste (I used 4 tablespoons)
A pinch of SALT
1 EGG, beaten
1/3 to 1/2 cup MILK
2 teaspoons CINNAMON

1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl or in a food processor, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
3. Use a pastry cutter or your food processor to blend in the butter. Add the egg and enough milk to make a soft dough. If it's a little wet, that's okay, because it will absorb flour during rolling.
4. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2 an inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch squares and sprinkle on cinnamon. Fold into triangles and press lightly.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.


  1. The key with scones is to handle the dough as little as possible. You don't want to develop any of the gluten and you also want to get them into the oven as fast as possible once you've activated the baking powder. (I'm assuming NZ scones are the same as English ones...)

    I thought the instruction to sprinkle the cinnamon on afterwards was a bit odd- all that rolling! I'd have added it with the flour.
    I often don't even roll the dough out, just pat it to a thickness of about 3 cm (so a good inch) You need a thick dough to get nice high scones. I'd then either cut out circles or for speed, cut into squares or triangles (this also means no scraps of dough to re-roll.) I'd expect 10-12 scones from that recipe.

    You could also brush the tops with milk or egg for a shine and even sprinkle sugar or cinnamon sugar on the top before baking.
    Mmmm! I may have to make some of these today!

    1. Thanks for the tips! I can definitely see where I went wrong. Either way, they're tasty as long as you don't overcook them.

  2. I love the concept of your blog. And, hats off to you because this kind of makeovers need more efforts than normal cooking. Thank you for sharing all those amazing recipes. :)
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  3. I've been baking a different type of scone recipe each week for the last 6 weeks. Usually I handle the dough as little as possible. But this recipe uses a different scone shaping technique where you roll out the dough into a rectangle, sprinkle on the cinnamon, then fold the dough into thirds by bringing one end to the middle and pulling the other end up and over the top, then you roll it out againg, then cut your triangles. That's how the cinnamon sugar gets "embedded" into the dough. While it is true that double acting baking powder is time sensitive - kneading or shaping dough for a few minutes will not develop gluten to the point of compromising the dough- using this folding method of shaping scones will yeild a type of scone we are perhaps not accustomed to but I'm going to give it a try. I've been wanting to use this shaping technique and now I have a recipe to try it out on. I do like a little sheen on my scones, so I will brush with egg white wash. Love your blog and will subscribe- great work on finding these original recipes!

  4. Made these scones today - they were great! Normally I use a pastry blender to cut in the flour but this time I mixed with my hands until I got a dry mixture that was sandy - so much easier than using a pastry blender. I used a little more than 1/2 cup buttermilk in the mix. Patted into a triangle, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and raisins, folded and patted back into a rectangle, cut the triangles and baked for 12 minutes on a preheated pizza stone - stone helps crisp up the crust. The folding does not compromise the dough any more than a quick knead. Really impressed with your blog - it's great to have access to authentic cookbooks - thanks for sharing all your work. Wow!!

    1. Thanks for posting your experiences!
      I always make pastry dough with my hands. It's a bit messy, but it saves on dishes ;)