Sweet Orange Scones with Whiskey and Marmalade

Bake up a batch of homemade Mini Orange Scones made extra special with a heaping spoonful of marmalade and a dash of Irish whiskey. Brunch never tasted so good! 

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Bowl of mini orange scones with marmalade and whisky with a white dish towel

A full afternoon tea with a bowl of mini orange scones, two cups of tea, and a jar of lemon curd on a wooden surface.


Mini Orange Scones with Whiskey & Marmalade

Why does a batch of homemade scones feel so special? The word brings to mind tiny plates with delicate patterns. Decadent preserves and cups of imported tea. I don’t know, they just feel so grown-up, with their subtle sweetness and delicate texture. Whenever I make a batch, I feel a little classier.

The truth is, scones actually aren’t very difficult to make at home – no more so than other baked goods like cupcakes or cookies really. Most even look very rustic, cut into imperfect triangles and dotted with raw sugar or light glazes.  This version of the recipe is more than just a bit of sweet vanilla though. Adding a bitter-sweet marmalade – like my Three Citrus Vanilla Marmalade full of thick slivers of rind – and a swig of Irish Whiskey are an easy way to elevate the delicious flavors of these mini orange scones.

Use this simple recipe to make up a quick batch of mini orange scones to accompany your morning tea or pack them into a basket for a lovely spring or summer picnic on the grass. I promise you’ll feel just a little bit classier too.

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A close-up of one mini orange scone with the rest of the afternoon spread in the background.

A bowl and plate of mini orange scones with a jar of lemon curd.


 Grating Cold Butter

Cold butter is the key to creating a scone’s (or biscuit’s) distinctive flaky and crumbling texture. Unlike other baked goods that mix in room temperature or melted butter, the inclusion of whole chunks of cold butter is what creates the steam pockets and delicate layers in the finished scone. Ingredient-wise, neither scones or biscuits are difficult to pull together, but the delicate handling required to keep the butter at the right temperature can be a bit tedious.

A rectangle of raw min orange scone dough sliced down the center, and then into sixteen triangles.

In the past, I’d always cut my butter into tiny cubes and crumbled it into the dough with my fingers. This technique is perfectly fine, but you have to work quickly with a very light touch to make sure the temperature of the butter doesn’t rise too high.  Using a box grater to grate the cold butter into thick shreds isn’t only faster and more uniform, it also creates smaller pieces and lessens your physical contact with the ingredient, allowing it to stay cold. For the best results, chill both the butter and the box grater until you are just ready to use it. Grate the stick of butter using the largest holes in your box grater onto a cold plate and transfer it immediately into the flour. Toss the two together, and then mix in the rest of the ingredients as described below.

Once you do it this way you’ll never bother cutting butter again for your biscuits or scones!

Raw triangles of mini orange scone dough spread out on a piece of parchment on a baking sheet.


Make a Beautiful Brunch or Picnic Spread!

Scones may be delicious on their own, but a nice brunch or picnic spread is never complete with just one type of baked good, even if its as delicious as these mini orange scones. Complete your spread with a little variety and an array of spreads and preserves pulled from my archives and the sites of my best blogger friends:

Scones, Muffins, & Cookies, Oh My!

Is one type of scone ever enough? I think not. To add a bit of variety, check out these recipes for Gluten-Free Buttermilk Cheddar Cheese SconesCaramel Apple Scones, or Blackberry Lavender White Chocolate Scones. You could even throw in a few Blueberry Glazed Muffins or Fig & Cheddar Thumbprint Cookies for good measure.

Lemon Curd & Tasty Jams are a MUST.

Scones and lemon curd simply go together, and I love this easy recipe over at Food In Jars. If you don’t want to make it yourself, you can easily pick up a jar of quality lemon curd at the store – I have to say, it’s probably one of my favorite things to have at a tea party. It is FULL of butter though, so if that’s not for you, Hunger Thirst Play has you covered with this dairy-free lemon curd recipe!

Round things out with some honey rum strawberry jam, dried fruit compote, or wild blueberry chutney on the side, and you’ll have a spread that will make everyone jealous of your picnic.

A closeup of a personal tea serving, with mini orange scones, a cup of tea, and a writing journal.

Mini Orange Scones with Whiskey & Marmalade

Mini Orange Scones are made special with a heaping spoonful of marmalade and a dash of whiskey. Bake up a batch with a side of tea, jam, and lemon curd for a very special brunch.
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 16 scones


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, grated
  • 2 cups (11 oz) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Three Citrus Vanilla Marmalade (or your favorite variety)
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons Turbinado raw sugar


  • Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Gently toss the grated butter and flour together in a large bowl. I like to use my hands to crumble the butter into the flour, but don’t be too picky about it – having some chunks of butter in the dough will only improve the finished scones. Mix in the granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk, vanilla, beaten egg, marmalade, and whiskey. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry. The dough may be slightly shaggy.
  • Dump the ball of dough onto a floured surface. Form it into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick, dusting the outside with a bit of extra flour if the dough is too wet.  With a butter or pastry knife, cut the rectangle into 16 or so triangles (don’t worry if they aren’t perfect). Transfer the triangles onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each. Sprinkle the scones with the Turbinado sugar.
  • Bake the scones for 15-18 minutes, until puffed and slightly golden. Transfer to a rack to cool or eat warm. Scones are best eaten right away, but they can be stored in an airtight container in a cool place for 2-3 days, or frozen for 2-3 months.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Side of mini orange scones with a full afternoon tea service behind.

3 thoughts on “Sweet Orange Scones with Whiskey and Marmalade

  1. I think the two of us would have quite the boozy + flakey tea afternoon tea party! Now you’ve got me thinking about what flavor of scones I could add some bourbon to. Hmmmmm.

  2. Scones are one of my favorite breakfast foods. I’ve never made them with butter just the cream scone variety. Will have to try this method, not just because I’m a cooking nerd, but because these flavors sound ah-mazing!!!!

  3. 4 stars
    They had a good flavour, but I would suggest not adding all the milk unless needed. These were more of a batter than a dough, so I ended up with wide flat cookies. The only thing I can think that may cause a difference is the consistency of the marmalade or the size of the eggs.

    We wipped some butter with a few tablespoons of maramalade to serve with them.

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