NOTE: Buttermilk is a "caution" food limited to one serving per day. Because the buttermilk is spread over 12 scones I didn't worry about the amount of buttermilk. But you could substitute half-and-half, a cream and milk mixture, or just use milk.
Makes 12 triangular-shaped scones.
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 c. buttermilk
1 tbsp grated orange or lemon zest
1/2 stick (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted, for brushing
1/4 c. sugar, for dusting
Position the oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a medium bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together with a fork. Add the cold butter pieces and, using your fingertips or pastry blender work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. It's OK if some largish pieces of butter remain - they'll add to the scones; flakiness.
Pour in the buttermilk, toss in the zest, and mix with the fork only until the ingredients are just moistened. You will have a soft dough with a rough look - if dry add another tbsp of buttermilk. Gather the dough into a ball, pressing it gently so that it holds together. Turn it onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it briefly - a dozen turns or so. Cut the dough in half.
Roll one piece of the dough into a 1/2 - inch thick circle about 7 inches across. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter, sprinkle with 2 tbsp of the sugar, and cut the circle into 6 triangles. Place the scones on an ungreased baking sheet and set aside while you roll out the rest of the dough.
Bake the scones for 10 - 12 minutes until both the tops and bottoms are golden,. Transfer the scones to a rack to cool slightly. These are best served warm but are just fine at room temperature.
Wrap the scones airtight and freeze if you are not going to eat them the day they are made. They'll stay fresh for a month. Defrost to room temperature in their wrappers and the reheat on a baking sheet for 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven.