Drop scones are small, thick pancakes, so named because they are made by dropping spoonfuls of batter on to a hot griddle or frying pan.
I loved drop scones when I was a little girl. Lemon and sugar pancakes, which are more like crêpes, featured on our Pancake Tuesday menu, but on other days we enjoyed these hot delicious treats, spread with golden syrup and melting butter.
The primary difference between regular scones and drop scones is that the first is made from a dough baked in an oven, and the latter is made from batter cooked on a hot griddle or in a skillet.
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Drop scones are also called Scottish pancakes or Scotch pancakes, and in the past were sometimes called pocket pancakes. They were the perfect size for popping into a pocket to stave off the nibbles and munchies.
They actually taste great even when eaten cold, but should only be popped in the pocket if they haven't been drizzled with syrup.
Originally invented in Scotland these little pancakes have been adopted and adapted by cooks throughout the British Isles.
Apparently Queen Elizabeth made drop scones for President Dwight Eisenhower when he visited Balmoral Castle in 1959. Somehow, I don't think the Queen rustled up the batter herself and personally dropped and flipped the President's scones. But you never know.
In the United States the term drop scones conjures up visions of drop biscuits. But trust me there's no dough kneading involved here. Instead dollops of thick pancake batter are dropped onto a pan.
They are very similar to American pancakes, but drop scones are thicker, and a little smaller.
So why don't we call them pancakes. Scones take their name from the Stone of Destiny, also called Scone, the coronation site for Scottish Kings in days gone by. So if the Scottish people wish to call these little pancakes "scones", then I say they have every right to do so. Hey, they invented scones in the first place!
A Royal Breakfast At Balmoral
Queen Elizabeth made a batch of drop scones for President Dwight Eisenhower when he visited Balmoral Castle in Scotland back in 1959.
She used a family recipe, which she later enclosed in a letter to President Eisenhower. I hope my drop scones are as good as the Queen Elizabeth's drop scones.
Ingredients for Drop Scones
Here's a quick list of what you'll need. Check out the printable recipe at the bottom of this post for exact quantities in US and Metric measurements.
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- golden syrup (white sugar or corn syrup if golden syrup unavailable)
- whole milk
- butter (for frying pancakes)
- golden syrup, honey or jam to serve
I use baking powder as the leavening agent instead of baking soda. Since fresh whole milk is used as the base for the wet ingredients rather than buttermilk, it's best not to add baking soda.
These drop scones are sweetened with golden syrup rather than caster sugar (a fine sugar sold in Ireland that is similar to regular American sugar).
You can use self-raising flour instead of all purpose flour and baking powder if you wish. However, I prefer to control the amount of baking powder so I usually do not opt for self-raising flour.
Directions for Drop Scones
Let's get started making our pancake batter.
Toss the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and whisk them together to eliminate any lumps in the flour. Alternatively, you can sift them together into the bowl to remove any clumps.
Next prepare the wet ingredients by whisking the eggs, milk and golden syrup together in a pitcher or small bowl.
Golden syrup is very thick and will fall to the bottom of the pitcher. It takes quite a bit of whisking to blend it completely through the milk and egg mixture.
If you cannot find golden syrup, fine white sugar or brown sugar will work instead. I prefer the slightly caramel flavor golden syrup adds to these pancakes, so if you can put your hands on a tin, then I highly recommend using it.
In Louisville, I can buy golden syrup at my local Meijers grocery store.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk everything together.
This is a great recipe for children. My kiddos love whisking the batter, and searching for lumps.
Whisk the batter well until it is smooth and completely blended.
It's important to stir it well but not to overbeat the mixture.
Next let the batter stand for 15 minutes before cooking.
This is an important step. I believe this little bit of standing time allows the gluten in the flour to start breaking down.
Next heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
I love how drop scones cook evenly in my cast iron pan. It takes quite a while for it to heat up fully, but the final product is worth the wait.
Melt a knob of butter in the pan before adding the first batch of pancakes.
Drop about 2 tablespoons of batter in circles on the pan. The batter spreads out rather than sitting in mounds.
I use my ¼ cup measuring spoon, and fill it. I drop most of the batter into the pan.
These pancakes are about 3 inches in diameter.
They are smaller than regular American pancakes and bigger than silver dollar pancakes.
Cook for two to three minutes until the upper surface starts to bubble.
Those little bubbles are telling you it is nearly time to flip your pocket pancakes.
Flip the pancakes over and cook for an additional two minutes on the second side, until golden.
Re-butter the pan and continue to cook the drop scones in batches until the batter is gone.
I made 22 pancakes in total with this volume of batter.
Place the cooked pancakes on a plate and cover them with a clean dish towel to keep them warm and moist while finishing the cooking.
Drop scones are delicious served with golden syrup.
A knob of soft butter melting on a drop scone is equally mouth wateringly delectable.
Honey adds an extra layer of ooy-gooey sweetness.
You can upgrade your drop scones by serving them with fresh fruits such as raspberries. This is extra delicious with jelly or jam.
You can also add some fresh fruit to the batter if you would like to get very adverturous. Blueberries, raspberries or cranberries are a good choice.
And a spoonful of jam spread on top is simply scrumptious.
Let's face it! As for toppings, there's no limit.
Whatever you think will work to tantalize your taste buds, then drop scones are the perfect base for building a special treat.
Smoked salmon with cream cheese gives them a savory twist, and strawberries and cream are simply perfection.
Wishing you all days of happy scone dropping.
Here's a video summarizing the steps for making drop scones.
Here's the printable recipe.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup use corn syrup or white sugar if golden syrup is unavailable
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ounces butter for frying pancakes
- 2 tablespoons honey to serve
- Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into a bowl.
- Whisk the eggs, milk and golden syrup together in a pitcher until fully blended.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together until smooth. Leave the batter to stand for 15 minutes.
- Melt a little butter on a frying pan or griddle. Drop two tablespoons of batter in circles on the pan. Space the pancakes apart so they do not stick together.
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the upper surface starts to bubble. Flip the pancakes over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more until golden.
- Re-butter the pan and continue to cook the drop scones in batches until the batter is gone.
- Serve hot with melting honey.
- Drop scones are delicious served with butter and jam, or with maple syrup or golden syrup.
- Drop scones are also delicious when served cold. They were often on the lunch menu in years gone by and stuffed into a pocket for eating later in the day. Hence the name pocket pancakes.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
Happy pancake flipping from my Irish home to yours.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade
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