Orange and Date Scones

As Sunday morning rolled around (the start to the work week here in Abu Dhabi) I was already plotting my next baking attempt.  With two days off for the weekend, I had just enough time to restock my flour and sugar reserves before once again beginning to chip away at my list of recipes to test. I always seem add to the list more quickily than I can cross an item off!

I had been craving scones recently, perhaps it was me missing London.  Or perhaps just because they make a nice excuse for a snack with a cup of tea in the afternoon when you are in no man's land...hungry again a few hours after lunch and still a few hours to go before you should be thinking about dinner.  Or perhaps also because they always remind me of my little sister in California.  To her, scones are irresistible, and has been known to adjust her schedule to arrive home promptly when my scones are coming out of the oven.

I decided to make mini scones, so that you can have a few and still feel dainty.  The recipe originally from America's Test Kitchen Cookbook, called for only currents, but since those are hard to find here, I went for the local and much celebrated option, dates (I chopped them to the same size as currents).  I also added a teaspoon of orange zest since I love the addition of fresh citrus zest on just about everything.  It was a perfect substitute in texture and sweetness, allowing me to put an Arabic twist on this English treat.  

As the oven warmed in our already hot flat, I gave in and turned on the A/C.  This is winter in Abu Dhabi.  The coldest months of the year, and yes we have the A/C on everyday.  I cut the scones into perfect little rounds, using what better tool than an Irish whiskey glass!  You have to be creative sometimes, and whiskey and scones go together...or at least they are from the same island.

Before popping them in the oven I dusted them with a quick shake of coarse sugar so that they would sparkle like little coins.  

They only needed a short cooking time of 12-15 minutes before I pulled them out, and set them on the cooling rack for another 10 minutes.  I always love scones best when they are still warm, just out of the oven.  As the buttery orange scent filled the house, they were warm, golden and flaky.  Tea time anyone?  


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