• Chocolate, pistachio & cardamom sconesC (Chris Middleton)Source: Chris Middleton

The buttermilk in conjunction with the bicarbonate of soda helps to give these scones an extra lift. 






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (17 votes)

If you don’t have buttermilk, you can substitute regular milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. 


  • 225 g (8 oz/1½ cups) gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 60 g (2 oz) cold butter, chopped, plus extra butter to serve
  • 100 g (3½ oz) dark chocolate (70–85% cocoa solids), chopped into chunks
  • 45 g (1½ oz/⅓ cup) pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 30 g (1 oz/¼ cup) almond meal
  • 1 egg, plus extra, lightly beaten, to glaze
  • 160 ml (5½ fl oz/⅔ cup) buttermilk

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (fan-forced) and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cardamom, xanthan gum and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Add 
the butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. (You can do this in a food processor, just don’t over-process – you want to retain visible specks of butter.) Stir in the chocolate, pistachios and almond meal.

Whisk the egg and the buttermilk together. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the buttermilk mixture. Using a butter knife in a cutting action, combine the mixture until it forms a soft sticky dough. 
Add a little more buttermilk if the mixture seems dry.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and very gently knead and press the dough together. Using your fingertips, pat the dough out to a square about 3 cm (1¼ in) thick. Trim the edges with a long sharp knife and cut into nine squares. Place the scones onto the prepared tray so they’re almost touching. If you wish, gently press the dough offcuts together and cut more scones as necessary. Carefully brush the top of the scones with egg.

Bake for 20–25 minutes or until well-risen, lightly browned and cooked through. Wrap in a clean dish towel to keep warm and soft. Serve with butter.

These scones are best eaten warm from the oven.


This recipe is from Incredible Bakes (Smith Street Books). Photography by Chris Middleton.