The easiest scones you’ll ever make! These blood orange rosemary Irish soda scones are soft and moist with a citrusy blood orange glaze.
I’m just going to say it—these Irish soda scones are the best scones I’ve had in my life. Scones usually get a bad rep for being dry, but not these babies. They’re soft and moist (almost like a biscuit) with hints of rosemary and citrusy blood orange. If you’re a scone skeptic like me, you have to give these a shot.
I came across Martha Stewart’s Irish soda scone recipe when I was brainstorming content ideas for St. Patrick’s Day and it piqued my interest because I’d never heard of a soda scone before. When I read how simple the ingredients and instructions were, I was immediately on board. It’s basically the scone version of quick bread.
Quick breads use ingredients other than yeast to leaven the bread. In this case, we used baking soda. The lactic acid in the buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to create bubbles of carbon dioxide, which act as the leavener. S C I E N C E.
This method of baking was introduced to the Irish in the 1830s when people were forced to make the most out of what ingredients were available and what they could afford during times of financial struggle. Flour, baking soda, salt, and sour milk were all it took to make a quick, filling, and most importantly inexpensive meal that could feed the fam.
Although the Irish made soda bread popular, they cannot be credited for coming up with the idea. The Native Americans were actually the first documented people to use soda instead of yeast to leaven bread. They used a natural form of soda known as “pearl ash” created from wood ashes. When the Irish discovered the process, they brought it to Ireland where it gained popularity.
Because we’re not using yeast in this recipe, the scones come together really quickly. After you make the dough, you’ll just scoop 1/2 cup mounds onto a baking sheet. No resting. No chilling. No shaping the dough into a disc and cutting it into wedges. Just scoop and dump.
They’re perfect for a lazy Sunday morning at home in your pjs. Plus, the scent of freshly chopped rosemary and orange zest is total bliss—it’s basically a free aromatherapy session. I mean, every time I even look at a blood orange I can feel my cortisol lower.
They produce the most gorgeous ruby red juice, which creates that lovely soft pink color for the glaze. The glaze is just two ingredients. A cup of sifted powdered sugar and up to 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed juice. For a thicker glaze, you’ll want less juice. I usually start with 1 tbsp and see how I feel from there. Sifting is important to get a nice smooth consistency.
If you’re not one to start your day with baked goods covered in sugar, you could always save them for dessert. Or skip the glaze and go naked! The scone itself isn’t very sweet and you’ll still get hints of orange from the zest in the dough.
Blood orange rosemary Irish soda scones
For the scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 tbsp (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 2-3 tbsp blood orange zest approx 1 orange
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 2 tbsp blood orange juice freshly squeezed
For the scones
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter to flour mixture and break apart the pieces with your fingers until a crumbly, coarse meal forms. This will take a few minutes.
- Add cold buttermilk, rosemary, and orange zest and stir until just combined.
- Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, scoop mounds of dough onto the baking sheets leaving at least 3 inches of space in between each.
- Bake 15-20 mins until bottoms are brown. Tops will still be light. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet.
For the glaze
- Sift powdered sugar into a bowl and gradually whisk in orange juice a little at a time until desired thickness. Add more juice for a thinner consistency. Whisk rapidly.
- Drizzle glaze on top of cooled scones and enjoy!
For more sweet breakfast ideas check out my Tropical carrot cake pancakes.