Rosemary Lemon Buttermilk Scones

It was really cold in Boston last week, and I didn't want to go out and buy yogurt. 

I baked these last week, right before I went home for Thanksgiving. I was worried that the half dozen lemons I had sitting in the fridge would go bad while I was gone (this concern for whatever reason did not extend to the eggs that had been hanging out in there for the past four weeks). I considered making a lemon yogurt pound cake--but I didn't have yogurt, and acquiring some would mean a 10-minute trek in the cold to the CVS in Harvard Square. 

So I made scones. And no, I didn't use the month-old eggs.

This is a lightly-adapted version of my master scone recipe, only I swapped out the cream for buttermilk. I've never used it before until this month, and I really suggest you give it try in your baking. You can easily substitute milk with some vinegar added, but buttermilk has a unique flavor that's hard to replicate.

I also changed the amount of  liquid in the dough from 2/3 cup to 1/2 - 2/3 cup, depending on how dry the dough is due. I usually need 2/3 cups, possibly because our heater in the dorm is set to Sahara Desert (which is one of two thermostat settings, the other being Broken.)

Enjoy, all!

Rosemary Lemon Scones
A Pass the Cocoa Original Recipe, Flavor inspired by The Pioneer Women
Yields: 12 Scones

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 tablespoons butter, cold
½ to ⅔ cup buttermilk, cold
1 egg
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Lemon Rosemary Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1 tablespoon lemon zest

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Whisk together ½ cup buttermilk, the egg, rosemary, and lemon zest. Place in the refrigerator and let sit for 15- 30 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  4. Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes. Make sure it remains cold.
  5. Add the butter to the dry ingredients.
  6. Using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your hands, cut the butter into the flour. It’s okay if a few lumps remain. Work quickly so that the butter doesn't melt.
  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  8. Use a fork or wooden spoon to mix it until the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough barely holds together. DO NOT OVER-MIX. If the dough is too dry, add in the remaining buttermilk a little bit at a time.
  9. Turn the dough onto a floured surface.
  10. Shape the dough into a circle 10 inches in diameter.
  11. Cut the circle into 10 - 12 wedges.
  12. Place the scones onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden. Let cool.
  13. For the glaze, mix together the lemon juice, zest, and rosemary. Let sit for 10 - 15 minutes. Mix in the powdered sugar. Drizzle the glaze over the scones.


  1. Lovely, lovely scones! What a treat to have with some tea. I love the flavor profile you used, too. It seems like it must be very refreshing.

    1. Thanks, Nora! I like the rosemary-lemon flavor too, and definitely want to experiment more with it!

  2. I love a good, flaky and buttery scone like this one. I haven't added rosemary to any of mine yet, but it sounds like a wonderful flavor combination with the lemon and buttermilk!

  3. Rosemary and lemon sounds like a wonderful combination! These look wonderful!
    Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe Caroline! :)
    xox Amy

  4. Looks lovely! (But how do you bake in a dorm?) I posted a link to your post on my blog at http://www.rawinthemiddle.com/link-love-3/

  5. # 2 In your instructions you say to whisk the buttermilk, egg, VANILLA, rosemary and lemon zest.
    Vanilla does not appear in your list of ingredients. I'm trying it with about 1/2 tsp vanilla. Wish me luck.

    1. Thanks for catching the mistake, Diane! It's been fixed-I deleted vanilla from the directions. Sorry for taking so long to reply, and I hope your scones turned out well!