Lemon and Purple Basil Scones

Posted on by on September 1st, 2011 | 33 Comments »

I have never grown my own anything. I happen to be really bad with plants. I grow them, they die. Seriously, I killed a cactus once. Yeah, a cactus, that hardly needs any attention whatsoever, I killed. Me and plants, it’s a terrible relationship. My husband however loves to garden and finds it therapeutic during study breaks to go out and tend to the plants. Lucky me! This means I can have a beautiful garden filled with wonderful herbs! Wonderful herbs that wont die. Wonderful herbs like basil, purple basil. Let’s all give a big thanks to Emanuel for allowing me, the worst gardener ever, to be able to have my own bounty of fresh herbs and veggies. Thanks babe 🙂

While at the green house picking out flowers, hanging plants and other beautiful things for the house I zoned in on the herb and vegetable section where they had the most beautiful mint, cherry tomatoes, rosemary, ect. As I was gathering all these things up in my basket a basil looking plant caught my eye. It looked like basil, smelled like basil but had a purplish tint to the green leaf and had little purple flowers instead of the usual white flowers that regular green basil produces. בזיליקום סגול (purple basil) the girl said. I never had anything other then plain basil before and was excited to get it home and use it.

Most purple basil plants have a rich purple leaf. Mine however must have been sitting for awhile in the green house and started to turn more green then purple. I still get the beautiful purple flowers and the purple color still shows through on the leaf  but in a more subtle way.

Usually when I bake something that I think is so ‘new’ and ‘different’ I go online to find its been done a hundred times and I’m not quite as clever as I thought. After making these scones I found that most basil in sweets were either in cookies or cupcakes or even ice cream. Basil scones however were not something I came across. Yay to me for being somewhat original!

Ingredients (makes 16)

3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
bunch of basil (about 15 basil leaves), sliced into thin strips
zest of two lemons
12 tablespoons butter
juice of one lemon
1 cup of buttermilk
raw sugar for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 375F.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, basil and lemon zest.
Cut butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture, combining until the dough becomes coarse with small lumps.
Add buttermilk and lemon juice to the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and shape into a large disc.
Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into 16 pieces.
Place scones on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake in batches for about 25 minutes or until slightly golden.


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  1. Posted on: 9-1-2011

    I love these! And the purple basil is amazing! The photos came out great too – especially love the one with the French press. Just beautiful. xo

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-1-2011

      Thanks Katherine! Yay for purple basil 🙂

  2. Posted on: 9-1-2011

    Mmmmmm….what beautiful scones! I have a black thumb, too, but can usually get my basil to last through the summer…whew. It’s so nice to just go to the back yard for my herbs~

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-1-2011

      Thanks Liz! I love having fresh herbs right outside my door! Its so easy and wonderful.

  3. Posted on: 9-1-2011

    I am soooo making these! These are both my favorite flavors and I love that they are together in a scone! Def. on my todo list. Thank you! I wish I could grow herbs but I consider myself lucky that my Thyme plant is still alive and there is still some green on my rosemary. Basil? I kill it in days.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-1-2011

      Thanks Trevor! Let me know if you make them how they turn out for you! If you love lemon and basil together you will love these!! Thats great you can at least grow Thyme, I cant grow a thing!! Im glad my husband is good at taking care of a garden!

  4. Posted on: 9-1-2011

    These are beautiful scones. I love basil, even in sweet things. Scones have become a favorite of mine, I love making them but I never get them as perfectly shaped as yours. These are lovely!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Thanks Cassie! Sometimes using a pizza cutter to cut scones really helps make them a perfect shape!!

  5. Posted on: 9-1-2011

    Lucky thing, you! I wish my hubby was a gardener! Loving this dish

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Haha parsley sage, it is SO nice having a husband who gardens!!

  6. Posted on: 9-1-2011

    What a great way to use basil – green or purple! I love scones and this savory version sounds wonderful.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Thanks Fran! I agree, any basil would be perfect in these!

  7. Posted on: 9-1-2011

    These are such a great idea and so unexpected. Love them!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Thanks so much Lauren! I love unexpected dishes, especially when they turn out well!

  8. Posted on: 9-2-2011

    Love this. Great photos! Well done.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Thanks so much Christine!

  9. Posted on: 9-2-2011

    LOL! You killed a cactus once? You are funny but I can’t laugh too much – I have fake lawn for back yard and fake plants all over the house. 😉 I’ve never heard of this purple basil before, but I love the combination of lemon and basil in the scones! I LOVE scones…hmmm with tea/coffee this would be a happy breakfast for me. 🙂

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Haha Nami I did kill a cactus once, thats how bad I am at keeping plants!!! Fake lawn and plants are good cause they cant die!!

  10. Posted on: 9-2-2011

    So cool that you two have this arrangement! The Chef is better at tending to our house plants even though your’s truly, The Steward is the daughter of a farmer (how ironic). I will get better I promise myself. I used to be but we live in an apartment on the 7th floor now and no garden. Still, I will get better. These look delish and I like that you used a different variety of basil!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-2-2011

      Thanks Steward! How can a daughter of a farmer be bad with plants?!?! It must be hard being in an apartment on the 7th floor to be able to keep a garden.

  11. Posted on: 9-5-2011

    Ahaha I did not even know you COULD kill a cactus! There is a vast variety of basil and this one looks a bit like the kind I grew last year which had a fantastic strong flavour! The kind that is growing in my garden this year (besides the ‘normal’ green one) has a beautiful deep purple, almost red-wine like colour but is a bit too earthy and verdant to use by itself in big abounts.

    Your scones look fantastic and the combination really is intriguing. I have never used basil in baking and it sounds like I should!


    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-6-2011

      Yes, you can kill a cactus!! It takes some skills to do it hahaha! Using basil in baking is wonderful, you should try it with your basil plant!

  12. Posted on: 9-6-2011

    Never heard about purple basil.. and these scones are amazing! Never baked scones, too… I have to try!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-6-2011

      Giulia, scones are SO easy to make you should try!!

  13. Posted on: 9-6-2011

    I love that your husband loves to garden! I also love mixing savory herbs in sweet desserts. These scones look/sound absolutely wonderful.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-7-2011

      Thanks Lindsay! Im pretty happy that he loves to garden otherwise I would kill everything for sure.

  14. Posted on: 9-7-2011

    i have never grown a cactus before but I have a green thumb with herbs and flowers. Also I LOVE scones and have some purple basil in my yard. Can’t wait to get back to States to make these.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-7-2011

      You have purple basil and love scones?! You should totally make these Roxana!!

  15. Posted on: 9-16-2011

    You’re right, I don’t think I’ve seen a recipe with basil in scones. I’ve made a peach & basil crumble, which turned out delish with the contrasting sweet/savory. When my oven is back in order, would luv to try these scones – good looking recipe. Have a great weekend and thanks for the friend invite on FoodBuzz.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-17-2011

      Ooo peach and basil crumble sounds amazing. I may just have to try that, we are still in peach season here! Im glad I found you on foodbuzz!! Have a great weekend Cristina!

  16. Posted on: 9-16-2011

    These are so gorgeous!!! I made strawberry basil scones earlier this summer that were delicious when topped with whipped cream. I’m not sure at what point they are still scones if you’re doing things like putting whipped cream on them, but what the heck? Let’s go ahead and call them scones. 🙂 I think these look delicious. Bookmarking the recipe for a fun and different treat to serve around here!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 9-17-2011

      Thanks Paula! Strawberry basil scones sound so great! The addition of whipped cream just seems so practical with that combination so I think we can still call them scones 🙂

  17. Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen
    Posted on: 9-22-2011

    I grow purple basil in my house too, so I’d love to try out this unique scone recipe. The trick to making sure the purple basil leaves stay purple is to cut off a small branch before the plant starts to flower and stick it in some soil. The new plant will retain its purple-colored leaves. If you replant after the flowers come out, the leaves will turn green. Blame it all on genetics (btw, my gardener mom taught me this!).

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