I’ve always had two definitions for a scone. The first is a baked treat, usually a little dyer than a biscuit and certainly not flaky, with additions like raisins or blueberries inside. The second is a stretched piece of fried bread.
It wasn’t long ago that I realized most people had no clue what I was talking about when I mentioned that second type. My mom, who spent some of her childhood in Idaho, made this fried bread for me and my siblings growing up.
We ate these pieces of fried bread with butter, syrup and jams. My favorite way to eat it was to tear the scone apart and dip it in grape jam. Now, I love to let a layer of butter melt on top and pour maple syrup over it. Yes, this dish is nowhere near healthy.
During a recent trip north to Utah, I was speaking with my aunt about these scones and how I’ve never seen them sold at any restaurant, how none of my friends knew what they were and how I was pretty sure it was a dish that was only known in that part of the country. Kind of like fry sauce, which it what they use to dip their fries in. But fry sauce has made its way down south through chain restaurants, and scones haven’t.
My aunt calls the scone Indian fry bread, but I should probably call it Native American fry bread. She said the concept of scones was started by Native Americans.
While we were talking about it, she was in the process of making the bread from scratch. When I peaked at her recipe book, I noticed this dish had another name: Squaw Bread. I’m just going to stick with “scones.”
Throughout my life, we’ve eaten scones at any time of the day, but always with the simple toppings. My aunt gave me a new way to eat them, which was as the base of taco ingredients. I piled my scone with ground beef, beans, lettuce and avocado and dug in. It was new, but still delicious. With how popular tacos are, I could imagine this being a new thing that sweeps the south.
How you make it also changes what it looks like. Some are thicker, doughier and others are thinner with “bubbles” of dough. It also depends on if you let your dough rise before frying it. Maybe that’s why there’s so many different names to go along with it.
If you want to make it from scratch, take 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of baking powder and mix together. Cut in 1 tablespoon of shortening with a fork, add 1 cup of luke-warm milk and stir to make the dough. When you’re ready to fry, heat the oil, grab a chunk of dough and stretch it out before putting it in the oil. Make sure the oil isn’t overly hot, meaning the outside would brown before the inside can cook.
But if you want to do it the easier way, like my family has been doing my whole life, buy frozen bread dough and set it out in a closed container to thaw and rise over night. If you use a lot of frozen dough, just know that it expands more than you think, so make sure your container is big enough.
My mom suggests coating your hands in just a little oil or butter while stretching out the dough so it doesn’t stick to your hands. The scones can be any size you want. Just make sure you eat them while they’re still warm.
Scones would be such a great concept to expand here. Since it was my idea, I call dibs. I’m kidding, of course, but if you do know of a place in Texas that sells these scones, I seriously want to know.