Thursday, January 11, 2018

Guest Molly MacRae Is Serving Up Scones!

MLK happily welcomes Molly MacRae, who's giving us wonderful scone recipe in honor of her new book, Scones and Scoundrels. Who doesn't like a warm scone? Tell us about the book, Molly!

In Scones and Scoundrels, book two in the Highland Bookshop Mystery series, baker Summer Jacobs is perfecting a new scone recipe. Summer’s business partners at the bookshop and tearoom have the pleasure of taste-testing her experiments—warm from the oven, smelling of orange, almond, and spice. That’s all well and good for them, but it was a little hard on me, the writer. I enjoyed writing about them enjoying their scones, but it left me wanting one, too. And that posed a problem, because the whole thing is fiction and I didn’t actually have a recipe.

No worries, though. A bit of myself makes its way into some of my characters, and like Summer, I enjoy baking and experimenting. It took three tries and several tweaks over the past week, but I think this is a recipe the women in the Highland Bookshop Mysteries would be happy to serve.

That leaves the question—are either these or the scones in the book deadly? Perish the thought.

Orange Almond Scones with Cardamom

3/4 cup almond flour (also called almond meal – it’s really nothing more than ground almonds. I have a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Super-fine Almond Flour)
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut
   into small cubes
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
zest from one orange

Preheat oven to 400º F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt. Cut in butter until pieces are no bigger than baby green peas. Gently stir almonds in with a fork.

In another bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, almond extract, and orange zest. Add to dry ingredients, and use a fork to gently combine. As soon as the dough begins to come together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead a few times until dough comes together in a ball. Divide into two balls. Transfer balls to a parchment-lined baking sheet

Flatten each ball into a 6-inch circle. Cut each circle into six triangles. Separate the triangles and bake them 2 inches apart for 12-15 minutes, until scones are firm to the touch and beginning to turn golden brown.

Serve warm as they are, or with butter, jam, or clotted cream and fresh berries.

Unbaked scones freeze beautifully and you can put them straight into the oven from the freezer. They’ll only take a few minutes longer to bake.

If you’d like the recipe for the Pear Ginger Scones that appear in Plaid and Plagiarism, book one in the Highland Bookshop Mystery series, you can find it on Lois Winston’s blog Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers.

Scones and Scoundrels, the new mystery in the Highland Bookshop series, brings together a body outside a pub, a visiting author determined to find the killer, and a murderously good batch of scones . . .

Barnes & Noble

About Molly:

The Boston Globe says Molly MacRae writes “murder with a dose of drollery.” Molly writes the Highland Bookshop Mysteries and the award-winning Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries. Her short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990 and she is a winner of the Sherwood Anderson Award for Short Fiction. Molly lives in Champaign, Illinois. You can visit her at and, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Thanks for the recipe. Love scones! Looking forward to this book! Dspinlexo at aol dot com

  2. You're welcome, Dee. Hope you like the scones and the book! Thanks for stopping by the blog today.

  3. Scones are one of those perfect foods, and these sound lovely.

    1. Thanks, Pj! Happy/sad news about Malice. The sad is that I can't make it this year. The happy is that our youngest is getting married that weekend. Yay! (But they won't even consider moving the wedding to Maryland).

    2. They really are a perfect food, Shiela (and these really are lovely). :)

  4. Thoroughly enjoyed BOTH books, and your Haunted Yarn Shop series. Thanks for the scone recipe - one of my guilty pleasures. See you at Malice? pjcoldren(at)

  5. What a marvelous marmalade tabby!
    These sound delicious.

    One Question--When do you add the orange juice?

    I didn't see a reference to a give away? Did I miss it and that's why people are posting their emails?

    1. I didn't see one, either. :) Add the orange juice to the buttermilk. Sorry about leaving that step out. The orange juice was an addition to my third attempt and I guess I forgot to note when to add it.

  6. Oh goodie! A recipe I can use up some almond flour from an experiment that failed. Love scones but have never tried to make them.

    1. Give them a try, Pat. They're pretty easy, as long as you don't work the dough too much. Have fun!

  7. Maybe the scones are deadly good? They certainly look good.

  8. Oh this looks amazing!! May give it a try. I have failed at all of my other scone attempts!

  9. This flavor combination sounds so good I'll have to try it this weekend. After all, I've never met a scone I didn't love.

  10. Thanks so much for the recipe. Actually almond flour is a bit more finely ground than almond meal. I’d suggest folks use the almond flour for this recipe. I think the almond meal might be a bit heavy. I’ll give it a try with all almond flour and see how the scones turn out. They’ll be gluten-free without the wheat flour. Yum!