Saturday, January 30, 2016

Identity Crisis – Is it a Scone or a Southern Biscuit???

Being from New Orleans, I grew up eating Southern Biscuits. Hot and steaming from the oven I would slather the puffy gems with butter and jam and stuff them into my mouth.

In the early 1980’s, after a trip to England, I developed a fascination with Scones. Hot and steaming from the oven I would slather them with clotted cream and jam...

Hey wait!

I always thought Scones and Southern Biscuits were different creatures, but are they really different?

Pictured below is a "Scone" and a "Southern Biscuit". Can you tell which is which?

   In researching both Scones and Southern Biscuits I have come to the belief that the Southern Biscuit is just another name for a Scone. (And by Scone I mean traditional English/Scottish/Irish type Scones and not Starbucks style scones.) Some people swear that they are different – that Scones have sugar whereas Biscuits do not. But I have found Biscuit recipes with sugar and Scone recipes with no sugar at all. Other people say that an egg is the difference, but again you can find Scone recipes with and without eggs and you can also find Biscuit recipes with and without eggs. Still others say that buttermilk is the defining ingredient, but invariably you can find Biscuits made without buttermilk and Scones made with buttermilk.

  So if it is not the ingredients that dictate the difference is it the method of preparations? I have never found a Scone that is “layered” with flaky sheets that pull apart (a la Pillsbury Grands), but that criteria can't be used because not all Biscuits are flaky. Copeland’s of New Orleans has the best biscuits I have ever tasted. They are puffy and cloud-like without a layer in sight.

So what is the answer? Is there really an answer?

Over the last few weeks I have come to realize that there are as many Scone/Biscuit recipes as there are cook’s in the kitchen, as many recipes as there are grain of sand on the beach or stars in the sky.

The variations of each are infinite so the defining line between the two is near impossible. So what do you think? Is a Southern Biscuit just another name from a Scone?

Now for the test ---  can you tell which is which?

One is called "Classic Scones" and the recipe is from the BBC, and the other is just called "Southern Biscuits".  So which is which?  Hint: they both have buttermilk (kind of).

(Note: I will post the recipes in later blog entries...  )

Happy Baking,


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