Chinese Five Spice Scones
Yield: 8 large scones
  • 1⁄3 cup (45 g) sesame seeds
  • 2 cups (255 g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon plus
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick/115 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon (75 ml) well-shaken buttermilk, plus more as needed
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¼ cup (60 g) demerara sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium skillet, toast the sesame seeds over medium heat, stirring and flipping, until just starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep stirring for another minute or so. Remove from the pan onto a small plate and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, five-spice powder, salt, and cooled sesame seeds. Add the butter and use your fingertips (or a pastry cutter) to rub (or cut) it into the flour until the butter pieces are pea-size and the overall mixture looks coarse and pebbly.
  4. Place ¼ cup of the buttermilk into a glass measuring cup or bowl and whisk in the egg yolk. Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet ingredients. Use a large wooden spoon and stir until just combined; do not overwork the dough. Gently and briefly knead the dough in the bowl with your hands until it just comes together. The dough should be dry but hold its shape. If it feels too dry (i.e., the dough is falling apart), knead in another tablespoon of buttermilk.
  5. Transfer the dough to a very lightly floured surface and pat it into a rough circle slightly under 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Cut into 8 wedges and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Brush the tops of the scones with a little bit of buttermilk, top each scone with a sprinkle of demerara sugar, if you like, and bake for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the scones just start to brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes. Serve the scones slightly warm, or let them cool completely directly on the cooling rack; regardless, we like them with a little bit of peanut butter or butter.
How to store: The scones taste best when eaten within 12 to 24 hours.
Recipe by Baked Sunday Mornings at