The story behind Queen Elizabeth’s drop scones recipe she shared with the President
This scone recipe was sent by Queen Elizabeth II to Dwight David Eisenhower, on January 24, 1960, in response to the President’s earlier request.
When President and Mrs Eisenhower visited the Royal Family at Balmoral Castle in Scotland in 1959, they apparently loved the little British breakfast treats, which were apparently more like thick pancakes than biscuit-type scones.
Here’s the letter that accompanied the recipe:
Queen Elizabeth’s drop scones recipe letter, transcribed
Dear Mr. President,
Seeing a picture of you in today’s newspaper standing in front of a barbecue grilling quail, reminded me that I had never sent you the recipe of the drop scones which I promised you at Balmoral. I now hasten to do so, and I do hope you will find them successful.
Though the quantities are for 16 people, when there are fewer, I generally put in less flour and milk, but use the other ingredients as stated.
I have also tried using golden syrup or treacle instead of only sugar and that can be very good, too.
I think the mixture needs a great deal of beating while making, and shouldn’t stand about too long before cooking.
We have followed with intense interest and much admiration your tremendous journey to so many countries, but feel we shall never again be able to claim that we are being made to do too much on our future tours!
We remember with such pleasure your visit to Balmoral, and I hope the photograph will be a reminder of the very happy day you spent with us.
With all good wishes to you and Mrs. Eisenhower.
The Queen’s drop scones recipe
4 teacups flour
4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teacups milk
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
3 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons melted butter
Note: Apparently a “teacup” is about 3/4 of a standard cup measure
Beat eggs, sugar, and about half the milk together, add flour, and mix well together adding remainder of milk as required, also bicarbonate and cream of tartar, fold in the melted butter.
Note: These are apparently cooked on a griddle, much like pancakes
Enough for 16 people
About the Queen’s trips to Balmoral (1968)
Britain’s Queen vacations; enjoys scones and cakes
By Margaret Saville in London, in The Kingston Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) September 4, 1968
For a little while each summer, Queen Elizabeth II does what almost every woman occasionally longs to do — eat all the fattening goodies she wants.
The queen’s six weeks vacation at Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands provides the occasion for this indulgence, and then it’s back on regime.
Elizabeth doesn’t diet to keep her slender figure, actually, but she does “watch the menus,” as she puts it.
At the age of 42, and after four children, she still has the same measurements she had at
Her figure is what British haute couture calls “the small lady,” an ideal 24-inch waist, 34-inch bust, 34-inch hips and a height of five feet four inches.
She rations her starch and sweets, cats plenty of salads and fresh fruit. At her meals in the privacy of Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle at weekends, she drinks only tea or fresh orange juice diluted with soda water. Even at public Parties, she accepts a single glass of sherry as a cocktail and often leaves her glass of champagne or wine half-empty on the table.
But at her Scottish retreat, she gets so much open air exercise that she does not worry about putting on extra weight by eating what she pleases.
She enjoys the Highland baking, the scones and cakes with honey and raisins.
The freshly-caught herrings are rolled in oatmeal before being fried. Salmon caught in the morning from the River Dee alongside the castle are served grilled.
She has coffee with cream, fruit pie with ice cream, and thick sandwiches filled with cheese and cold meat when she goes out on the moors surrounding Balmoral.
For all her necessary residence in London, the queen is essentially a fresh air lover and revels in the life at Balmoral. She rides every day, plays outside with her children. goes fishing, walks for hours stalking deer on the moors, scrambling over the rocks when an animal is sighted.
Every morning she exercises her four pet Corgi terriers, Heather, Whisky, Sherry and Jane, in Balmoral’s big wooded gardens.
As often as not, she dances after dinner for an hour or two. Balmoral is many miles from the nearest town and entertainment is home-made.