Wholemeal Fruit and Nut Biscuits, American Style

These ‘biscuits’ are, essentially, what the British would call scones.


  • 2 tsp active dried yeast
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • ¼ lb / 570 g self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 1 oz / 30 g light muscovado sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 4 oz / 110 g sunflower margarine or other shortening, plus extra for brushing
  • 8 fl oz / 230 ml buttermilk
  • 4 oz / 110 g chopped nuts
  • 4 oz / 110 g dried fruit, chopped


Grease a roasting tin or baking sheet, and preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Mark 6. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together, and rub in the fat until the mixture forms lumps the size of hazelnuts. Mix the buttermilk and yeast mixture together, and add it to the dry mixture together with the nuts and fruit. Stir together with a fork until the dough just binds. Roll out to ½ in / 1 cm thick on a floured worktop. Cut out with a 2 in / 5 cm pastry cutter, and place close together in the roasting tin or on the baking sheet. Cover with a clean, damp cloth, and leave to prove for 1 hour. (The dough will rise but not double in volume.) Bake for 15–20 minutes, until golden brown. Brush the tops with melted margarine or butter, and serve hot or warm.