Growing up in the South, I was served biscuits at breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Each family and restaurant has their own specific way of making them. Some are skinny and tall, others flat and wide, and some come nestled together like Parker House rolls in cast-iron pans. Served with butter or jam, smothered with gravy or topped with ham and cheese or a piece of fried chicken, biscuits are as Southern as bourbon, collards and mac and cheese.
Even though my mom has lived in the South for nearly 20 years, she’s never gotten quite accustomed to biscuits. She is in the scone camp. She likes the crunchy, slightly sweet baked good, especially alongside a good cup of coffee. And since she is the baker in the house, I became accustomed to and developed a love for scones too. They are still my go-to coffee-shop splurge, especially at 4 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon.
So, what’s the difference between a scone and a biscuit? The answer generally boils down to one ingredient: eggs. Scones have them, biscuits don’t.
Other than that, the ingredients and process are pretty much the same. Both scones and biscuits are usually made with some combination of flour, baking powder or baking soda (or a combination of both), salt, sugar, milk or buttermilk, eggs (if you’re making scones) and a fat (butter, Crisco, lard). The dry ingredients are mixed together, the fat is “cut in” with a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers, and the liquid is added until the dough just comes together. The dough is gently kneaded very briefly then cut into circles or triangles and baked.
I followed the same general recipe when developing these healthy scones in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, replacing some of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat and using just enough butter to give them great flavor. Then I mixed in sweet or savory ingredients to make each variation special. The result? The easiest, healthiest and most delicious scones you’ve ever had. Enjoy!