Buckwheat Polenta Scones


My dearest favorite scones,

You are so fluffy and light, and I love your for it. I really do. You always put a smile on my face on a grey day, or a sunny one. You play well with my favorite fruits. My friends comment on how great you are, and ask me to share you with them. I still remember the giddy first days of loving you, when I brought you to my friend’s going away to London party. You fit in so well, and I just wanted to gobble you all up. I couldn’t keep my hands off of you.

But I have a confession. Over the past few years, my eyes have, on occasion, strayed. To scones with a little more substance. Scones that are a bit more hardy. Scones with a depth of flavor. Scones that are a bit less simple.

The moment I saw these certain buckwheat cornmeal scones and I was taken in. I must have had too many spoonfuls of the strawberry rhubarb jam that was simmering away on the stove top. I didn’t know what I was doing. Before I could come to my senses, my hands were sticky with dough. I had crossed the line.


I should regret my actions and beg for forgiveness. But, you see, these scones filled a need in me I didn’t even realize I had. I didn’t know how riveted I would be by their subtle nuttiness. How tantalized I’d be by the grain. I simply can’t stop nibbling on them. And they make me happy. Right now, they are just what I need.

So, dear scones, I just need some space. I jumped in far too early with you, declaring myself yours before I really even knew who I was as a baker. I need to experiment. To try new grains and new flavors. Perhaps, once I know myself a bit better, I will return to you. Until then, I wish you the best. I will always think of you fondly.


Buckwheat Polenta Scones

This recipe comes from Alice Medrich’s wonderful cookbook, Pure Dessert. As it turns out, I was out of cornmeal but had some coarsely ground polenta on hand. The polenta holds up quite well and gives a nice little crunch to the scones. I had to add a bit more all purpose flour to get a workable dough though, perhaps because of the difference in the texture of the polenta. If you use cornmeal, start by adding only 6 oz of flour.

1 egg
1/2 cup milk, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 oz all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1.5 oz buckwheat flour
1.5 oz course polenta
1/3 cup sugar
1 scant tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
1 tablespoon raw sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Whisk the egg, milk and cream together and set aside.

Combine the flours, polenta, sugar, baking powder and salt, and add the butter, coarsely chopped. Use your fingers to work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles wet sand, with some slightly larger clumps than others. Slowly add the milk mixture, and fold in until the dry mixture is just wet (you may not use all of the milk mixture). The dough should be rough and sticky, but hold together in a ball when lightly kneaded. If it is to wet, add a bit more all purpose flour.

Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, turn once, and press to about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into equal pieces (I used a 3.5 inch cutter… you can recut any scraps, but don’t work them much before recutting). Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and refrigerate.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Brush the tops of each scone with a bit of milk, and sprinkle with a bit of raw sugar if desired. Bake for only 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tops are a lovely golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, and serve immediately, ideally with some lovely strawberry rhubarb preserves.

20 thoughts on “Buckwheat Polenta Scones

  1. Oh my god, do these look good. I have been on a big scone kick recently, and I love that they have buckwheat and polenta. I love baked goods that have either/or, especially when it’s something that they lend a nice density to. These sound most excellent, and I can’t wait to try them (slathered with butter and jam, natch).

  2. Hello Lara,

    We’ve selected you as our Foodista Food Blog of the Day for 8/1! Your blog entry about buckwheat polenta scones will be featured on the Foodista homepage for 24 hours. This is a new feature that we recently launched and are thrilled to post your blog.

    Since you are now a part of the Foodista Featured Blogger of The Day Community, we’ve created a special badge for you to display proudly on your blog sidebar. I couldn’t find your email on your blog to send you the access code for the special badge, but I want to make sure you get it if you are interested. Please send me an email and I’ll send it right away.

    We are really enjoying your blog and look forward to seeing your recipes, tips and techniques on Foodista! If you would not like to be recognized on Foodista please let me know and I will remove your blog from our queue.

    Foodista staffer

  3. Glad you made a little note on your ‘old’ blog that you moved! I was starting to wonder where all the wonderful posts where! Got some catching up to do now! Your scones look delicious!

  4. I’m always looking for the perfect scone – its an obsession. Almost every coffee shop I pass, every recipe I find, I have to try. It’s like a nervous tick. This recipe looks amazing – definitely going to try it, and who knows, it might be the one!

  5. Being English I think I have been made to love scones. I just made a fresh batch of cheese scones using Stilton cheese. They are strong but perfect for summer soups.

    I use cheese a lot while cooking and get most of my inspiration from: http://www.stiltoncheese.com/blog. Check it out and see what you think.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Hey Lara,
    These look great. I’ve just been on a scone kick as well with vegan scones (from Vegan with a Vengeance). I did discover a big typo. They call for 2 Tablespoons of baking powder in all their scone recipes. After I made them I noticed a very unpleasant acidic aftertaste in the back of my mouth. After reducing it to 2 teaspoons of baking powder the aftertaste was gone and I still had a good rise.

    We just came back from Islandwood and they had great blueberry scones. The pastry chef would not give me her recipe however! They were really fluffy. What do you think the secret was?


  7. Hey Vickie,

    It’s hard to say… but my guess is that her recipe is probably similar to the one in the Macrina Bakery cookbook, which uses whipped cream, folded in just before rolling out.

    That recipe also uses a lot of baking powder (which is also how I usually make them). I haven’t noticed a metallic taste, but then, I also use baking powder that is aluminum free, which might make a difference too.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *