Combine the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in the currants at this point if you are using them, as well as the orange peel.
Cut the butter into the flour mixture, using a pastry blender or two knives. Cut the butter through the flour until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk and stir it all together until the mixture forms a soft dough that clings together. The dough will be a bit sticky.
Lightly flour your hands and shape the dough into a ball. Pat the dough into an 8 inch round on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cut the dough into eight wedges with a floured knife. You don't have to move the wedges apart from each other. Just cut them right through the dough so they are easy to separate once they are baked.
Sprinkle the wedges of dough with the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Bake the scones for 18 to 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 425°F or until they are lightly browned on top.
Cool and enjoy. These orange scones are wonderful slathered with fresh sweet butter.