Cornmeal and Sage Biscuit Scones

Friends Drift Inn Farm – Recipes

Cornmeal Sage Biscuit Scones in Cast Iron Skillet


Savory Bread Recipe for Supper, Breakfast or Tea Time

Charlie makes some of the best biscuits in Pike County. I have seen women swoon at his feet when they sample the buttery breakfast stars and immediately offer up marriage proposals. I have seen chefs eyes light up when biscuits and gravy arrived on our breakfast table after a long night of porch sipping. I have seen toddlers tug on Charlie’s apron strings begging for more biscuits.

Living with Charlie, I just do not need bake biscuits.

The truth is no one ever taught me how to make biscuits. I know that shocks you. I am not happy to admit it. Grandpa had mad skills as a baker, but he scooted me out the kitchen fearful I would get burned on the oven door. I do not remember momma ever making biscuits from scratch.

So in my quest to have an authentic voice of Appalachian cookery, I find myself in the kitchen preheating the oven and gathering up ingredients for biscuit scones, not something Charlie has ever tried. I do not have to measure up, just measure right.

I know the ingredients by heart. Flour, cornmeal, butter, baking powder and soda, salt, sage, sorghum and of course buttermilk. If the word biscuit it used it has to have buttermilk that is just the way it is. I do not know if that comes from biscuit baker extraordinary Nathalie Dupree, or if that is something that is just somehow genetically etched into my being. Sometimes I know what I know, but I do not know why! Giggles

Are they biscuits or are they scones?


This is my blog and thus I make the rules. I say they are biscuit scones and once you try them you won’t care if I am right or wrong. You will just go find some bourbon tomato jam spread it liberally on the biscuit scones and contemplate world peace.

Go ahead and put a kettle of tea on before you start baking.

As I write this, it is not quite spring here in Appalachia. Snow is spitting down and the cold winds keep mom huddled by her fireplace. Sophie is hunkered down in the dog house with half a dozen cats.

The ‘tween seasons makes me restless. I long for killed salad with green onions. But that is weeks away. The here and now is cold and overcast. Light rabbit food can wait. Savory and hearty are still welcome words in the big red barn kitchen.

Cornmeal sage biscuit scones for tea time

Not quite a fluffy soft biscuit, the addition of sage and cornmeal gives these morsels a rustic character. But this is not cornbread, the texture is much smoother. What does it matter? When you add a little bacon dripping to the cast iron skillet, this is one savory bread that fits into this fickle time between winter and spring just fine. Not heavy, but with substance. Not ethereally light, the sage and corn keep this recipe earthy and humble.

I thought it would be really pretty to add fresh sage leaves to the top of the bread. You know how they do in the glossy magazines that have food stylists standing around with tweezers and crumb police?

I was disappointed when the sage leaves curled up and dried out in the oven. But that is ok. I just crushed the leaves on the top of the biscuit scones and while not as dramatic a photo it is assuredly much more palatable than biting into a whole leaf of sage!

Originally, I envisioned this recipe as an accompaniment to an eggs and sausage breakfast; with the sage from the sausage magnifying the biscuit scone’s seasoning. But I have made them a couple times now, and I like them as an afternoon snack with tea. I like them for Sunday supper with roasted chicken. I would probably like them as a midnight snack, slathered in tomato jam but they never seem to last that long. When I go looking they are gone!

This recipe is a simple one, not fussy or precious. Kind of like the whisperings of Spring as she covertly makes her way into the mountains of Appalachia. Take a bite and ponder the possibilities.

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About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.