These Old-Fashioned Treacle Scones are just like the ones Scottish grannies and mammies have been baking for many many years! So rustic yet soft, and packed with treacle and gingerbread flavours. Try one warm from the oven, spread with butter and a dollop of fruit jam, for one of the best old-fashioned bakes. Perfect for a classic British afternoon tea, or brunch, but also tasty for breakfast, snacks, or supper-time. Delicious spread with butter and fruit jam. If a tin of treacle is difficult to come by simply replace with light molasses for delicious Molasses Scones.
These large Old-Fashioned Scottish Treacle Scones are just the perfect Afternoon tea or tea-time treat. If you've never experienced a treacle scone before then you are in for a wee surprise. Not too sweet, but soft and rich with the flavours of treacle and gingerbread. Try one warm from the oven for an extra special treat.
History of treacle scones
The scone is thought to have originated in Scotland, where it was originally made with oats and baked on a griddle. The name "scone" may have been derived from the Gaelic word "sgonn," meaning a shapeless mass or large mouthful. Another theory is that the name is taken from the Stone of Destiny (or Scone), where Scottish kings were once crowned.
Treacle, a syrup that's a byproduct of refined sugar, has been a staple in British cooking for centuries. Black treacle, similar to molasses, is often used in richer, darker recipes like gingerbread, while lighter treacle (or golden syrup) is used in lighter bakes. Its inclusion in scones would have been a way to add sweetness and moisture.
Traditional scones were quite plain and bread like and evolved out of the Scottish Bannock Bread which is a type of flat bread prepared with barley flour, wheat, or oats, water, butter or a fat such as lard or dripping, and sometimes dried fruits. As baking soda and baking powder became more widespread in the 19th century, scones became lighter and fluffier. Treacle would have been included as a way to flavour and sweeten the new emerging scone variations.
Scones have always been popular in Scotland but when the tradition of afternoon tea began in England during the 19th century, scones became even more popular throughout Britain. Treacle scones, with their rich sweetness, soon became a favourite.
Nowadays, treacle scones are a common scone in mostly all good Scottish cafes, tearooms, and bakeries.
For more interesting information about scones as well as useful scone baking tips, do check out our other scones posts for Vegan Cheese Scones, traditional Edinburgh Fruit Scones, Vegan Buttermilk Plain Scones, and our family favourite Old-Fashioned Cherry Scones.
As we are a vegan and plant-based family recipe blog our recipes are naturally free of animal ingredients, but everyone is very welcome to use these recipes, including meat-eaters! All our recipes are prepared with everyday pantry ingredients and no special hard-to-find ingredients are included, and are based on real old-fashioned recipes. If you do not use plant-based milk or vegan butter, etc, then do feel free to substitute these ingredients for what you do have at home.
How to prepare treacle scones
Vegan margarine or vegan butter, or whatever cooking fat you normally use, can be used for these treacle scones. If ground ginger is not available replace with cinnamon, mixed spice powder, pumpkin or apple spice powder. If you don't have treacle then use light molasses.
First, sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and ginger powder into a mixing bowl.
Stir through the salt and sugar.
Add the margarine.
Using your fingertips rub the margarine into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Give the bowl a shake and it will bring up any large lumps that require rubbing in.
Pour in the treacle.
Pour in half the plant milk and stir.
Add small amounts of milk and stir, bringing the dough together with your hands until it comes together into a dough.
Knead lightly for just a few seconds and then pat down to about an inch [2.5cm] thick.
With a cookie cutter stamp out 4 rounds and place onto a baking tray.
Brush a little plant milk over the top of each scone.
Bake for 15 minutes or until scones have risen, are firm and have dark golden bits at the side.
Leave on the baking tray until cool.
Recipe Notes and FAQ'S
Store treacle scones within a covered container or within a food or bread bag for up to 3 days. Older scones can still be enjoyed, but its recommended to split older scones into two and toast each side, before spreading with margarine or butter. Or refresh older scones by popping into a warm oven for a few minutes just until they are heated through.
Treacle scones can frozen for 2-3 months, probably a little longer, but do wrap up well with food-safe wrap and pop into a food bag or covered container to avoid excess frost developing on the scone and freezer burn.
Treacle or black treacle is a byproduct of the sugar refining process. It is a rich thick dark brown syrup that is not too sweet, a little bitter, has notes of caramel, and similar in flavour to molasses.
Black treacle is a popular ingredient in British supermarkets and stores and can be found within the baking section alongside the tins or bottles of golden syrup. Golden syrup is also a byproduct of sugar making, but is much lighter in colour compared to treacle and is a lot more sweeter.
If you can not source black treacle for this treacle scone recipe then it can be substituted for the same amount of molasses.
Molasses is like black treacle in terms of flavour and consistency, and there are different types of molasses - light, dark, and blackstrap - with the dark version being the most similar to black treacle.
Alternatively, golden syrup, light molasses, dark corn syrup, or maple syrup can replace the treacle, and although the flavour of the scones will change and they won't have that distinctive treacle flavour, the scones will still be delicious.
Warm from the oven, split open, and spread with butter or margarine, and a nice cup of tea! Our family likes vegan butter or margarine but your usual spreads are fine. A few tasty ways to enjoy a treacle scone:
1. You could always eat the scones plain with no spreads but it is recommended to add some butter or margarine!
2. Slice a room temperature or warm scone in half and spread a good layer of butter on the cut side. The butter will melt irresistibly into the warm scone.
3. Similar to a traditional cream tea, you can slice the treacle scone and spread whipped plant-based cream on one half, followed by your favorite jam.
4. Scones, including treacle scones, are traditionally enjoyed with a cup of tea.
5. Treacle scones can be topped with fresh berries, thin banana slices, or a fruit compote, or even a sweet onion chutney.
6. Slices of vegan cheese or soft cream cheese is a surprisingly nice accompaniment to sweet treacle scones, as well as a few cherry tomatoes.
7. Enjoy a treacle scone along with a home-made soup such as our Budget-Friendly Tomato Soup or this Budget-Friendly Carrot and Cumin Soup.
More traditional scone recipes
Being a Scottish family we love a good home-baked scone as nothing beats a warm home-baked scone just out of the oven and a nice cup of tea or chilled glass of oat milk. Simple but so satisfying and is the perfect way to turn a gloomy day into a much better one!
For more traditional baking recipes do check out our Vegan Baking Recipes collection. All our recipes are prepared with everyday pantry ingredients, and the milk and fat used can be your usual sort, so no special ingredients required.
For useful scone baking tips that can help you bake the best scones then do have a look at the recipe notes and FAQ section of our Old-Fashioned Cherry Scones post. Our Cherry Scones can also be baked as Cherry Bakewell Scones and these look so cute and are just delicious.
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Old-Fashioned Scottish Treacle Scones
- Baking tray with sheet of greaseproof/baking paper if required
- biscuit or cookie cutter 3 inch [7 ½cm] or thereabouts
- Mixing bowl
- Pastry brush for brushing plant milk over each scone, optional as can just use fingertips
- 225 grams plain flour all-purpose flour, sieved
- 2 teaspoon baking powder level teaspoon, sieved
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda level teaspoon, sieved
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger or cinnamon/mixed spice/pumpkin spice
- 60 grams vegan margarine or vegan butter
- 30 grams granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 2 tablespoon treacle or light molasses
- 200 millilitres plant milk more or less may be required, plus a little extra to brush over each scone
- Preheat the oven to 220 Celsius/ 200 Fan/ 428 Fahrenheit/ Gas 7.
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, if necessary.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and ginger powder into a mixing bowl. Stir through the sugar and salt.225 grams plain flour, 2 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 30 grams granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Add the margarine and using your fingertips to rub the margarine into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.Give the bowl a shake and the larger un-rubbed lumps will appear on the top. Rub these in.60 grams vegan margarine
- Pour in the black treacle and half the milk. You may not require all the milk so just add a little at a time and stir, bringing the scone dough together into a ball.Sprinkle flour over your work surface.2 tablespoon treacle, 200 millilitres plant milk
- Knead the dough lightly for a few seconds. If the dough is too sticky sprinkle in extra flour and if the dough is too dry smooth over extra milk with your fingers and work it in, until the dough is smoothish.
- Gently pat the dough down with your hands until its about 1 inch thick.
- Stamp out scone rounds with a biscuit cutter. The cutter can be dipped into flour so that it doesn't stick to the dough.[Top tip: don't twist the scone cutter when lifting the scone out, just lift the cutter straight up and gently press the scone out of the cutter.]
- Bring the dough scraps back together into a ball and pat down. Repeat until all the dough has been used. This recipe usually yields 4 large scones but a smaller biscuit cutter will result in a few more scones.
- Brush a little milk over the top of each scone. Use a pastry brush or your finger tips.
- Place the scones on the baking tray and place on to the middle shelf of the oven, for about 15 minutes.Fan ovens may take a few minutes quicker so check after 12 minutes.Treacle scones are ready when they are firm, risen, have dark golden bits around the edges, and sound hollow when the base is tapped.
- Either leave on the baking tray to cool or transfer to a wire rack. These scones can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature.
- Nutritional information is for guidance only and is not an exact calculation as ingredients vary.
- Don't panic if your scones come out the oven in strange shapes! This sometimes happens when baking scones but the scones will still taste perfect. Not twisting the biscuit cutter when stamping out scones can help prevent wonky rising.
- This recipe yields 4-5 large scones, if a smaller 1 ½- 2 inch [3-5cm] biscuit cutter is used the recipe could make 6-10 smaller scones.
- Store scones for up to 3 days, within a food or bread bag, or within a covered container. Wrap in kitchen foil to keep fresher for longer.
- Older scones can be refreshed by splitting into 2 pieces and toasting the inner sides. Spread with some vegan margarine or butter.
- Or place the scones into a warm oven for a few minutes until warmed through.
- Treacle scones can be frozen for up to 3-4 months. Wrap well to avoid freezer burn.
- Treacle scones are delicious split and spread with vegan margarine, vegan butter, chutney, hummus, peanut butter, fruit jam, marmalade, etc.
Prepared these rustic Old-Fashioned Treacle Scones? We would love it if you would leave us a comment below and let us know how you liked the recipe. Sharing a photo on social media? Tag us in using @traditionalplantbasedcooking or #traditionalplantbasedcooking Thanks so much! Love Jacq x