Scone Variation: Ginger‑Yam

Three yams

Thirty-one days of talking about fitness and eating better are all well and good, but we must not neglect life’s simple pleasures. I have a busy day scheduled—a meeting with my business partner, two meetings with clients, and a big project that’s ready for finishing touches before it goes to the printer. But in the interest of setting a joyful tone for the day, I reserved half an hour this morning to get a batch of scones into the oven.

With the encouragement of my friend and coach Gika Rector, I’ve been giving some thought lately to cooking as an art form. I’m overdue for grocery-shopping, so today’s performance started from the concept “What’s hiding in the pantry?” A can of yams and the last bit of a bag of crystallized ginger became my inspiration. (I also found some vacuum-packed salmon, but my artistic vision wasn’t bold enough for fish scones—yet.)

(Start with the basic scone recipe and instructions.)

Additional Ingredients

  • 1 t cinnamon
  • A dash each of allspice, ground cloves, and/or nutmeg (or more to taste)
  • Optional: 1/4 t ground ginger (or more to taste), but only if you want the scones to be really spicy
  • 3/4 c canned yams, drained
  • 3 T crystallized ginger, minced
  • Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling


  1. Proceed with the first four steps of the basic scone recipe, adding the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and ground ginger (if desired) to the dry ingredients before sifting.
  2. At the point where the basic recipe calls for adding the dry and nearly-dry ingredients (step 5), add the crystallized ginger. Toss lightly to distribute through the dry ingredients.
  3. Dice the yams into small chunks, or pass them once through a coarse slicer or a large-mesh cooling rack. The object is to break them into smaller pieces, but without smashing them into a paste. Add to the dry ingredients and toss very gently to distribute.
  4. Continue with the basic recipe through the forming and cutting of the scone dough.
  5. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar and bake according to the basic recipe. The yams contain a lot of moisture, so you may find that these require an extra two or three minutes in the oven.

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