SAVORY SCONES IN THE “LAB”
I have so much fun experimenting with cheese scones…. AND I’M NOT DONE YET!
Before I came to America, I thought the word “scone” was synonymous with cheese scones. The only type of scones my mom baked were cheese scones. I did not even think you had to specify “cheese”. I did not know that sweet scones existed… or so I thought. I now believe that we did make something akin to sweet scones that we call “buns”... But more on that another time.
Cheese scones are so very easy to make with very few ingredients. You would not think that such a delicious and versatile pastry would skip the fussiness – but it does. Let’s talk about some variations to the theme and then dive right in to the recipe.
First of all you can tell that I like to make my scones into fun shapes! I have a wonderful set of cookie cutters that I use to make hens and hearts, clover and ice cream cones. Cheese scones lend themselves beautifully to these fun shapes – no cookie cutter scone here 🙂
Second of all I like to experiment with different kinds of cheeses. I have tried with great success the following cheeses or cheese combinations:
- pure sharp cheddar,
- cheddar and parmesan,
- cheddar, parmesan and gouda
I also like to spice up my scone with optional dried herbs like
- red pepper flakes
If you don’t want to end up with a bland biscuit, don’t skimp on the cheese or other accents.
Leftovers hot out of the toaster oven are DIVINE!
BASIC CHEESE SCONE RECIPE
My cheese scones are light and I like mine VERY CHEESY. They taste better and better as time goes on and leftovers are best enjoyed warmed up in a small toaster oven. I don’t recommend microwaving AT ALL. The three cheese scones and the parmesan dill scones are lightest of all. The cheddar scones made with orange sharp cheddar are a bit more dense although also light.
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- A few sprinkles of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tsps yellow mustard
- 6-8 oz cheddar cheese (one standard block of cheese such as Cabot is 8 oz)
- 9-10 tbsp milk
- 1 beaten egg for glazing (you can scramble the leftover egg with some butter and herb blend and eat with your freshly baked scones)
VARIATIONS ON THE THEME
Parmesan HERB scone
- Replace the orange cheddar cheese with grated sharp white cheddar and freshly grated parmesan cheese in a 1:1 ratio. Once you’ve mastered the basics. You can also try a 2:1 ratio in any direction and write to let me know how you like it.
- Add 1 tsp dried dill OR 1/2 tsp finely ground dried rosemary to the dry ingredients.
THREE CHEESE CHEDDAR SCONES
- Replace the orange cheddar cheese with grated white cheddar, parmesan and gouda cheese in equal proportions or in whatever proportions you have available in your kitchen.
- Add 1 to 1 1/2 tsp dried dill or lemon dill seasoning mix to the dry ingredients.
- Add red pepper flakes to the dry ingredients.
- Heat your oven to 450oF.
- Line a large a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Sift together your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.) Mix well to combine.
- Rub in the butter and mustard with your fingertips until well combined.
- Add the cheese and mix gently and deliberately, making sure it is well distributed throughout the flour mixture. use your fingers to rub the cheese into the flour just like you did the butter. The mixture should be evenly loose and crumbly when you are done with this step.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk.
- Use your hands to slowly and gently form the dough into a ball by incorporating the flour mixture into the milk. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl and incorporate all of the flour mixture. The dough should be soft and neither sticky nor dry. If it is a bit sticky you can rectify in the next step. If it is dry, squeeze gently to make sure it is thoroughly hydrated with the milk. You can add another tablespoon of milk here if all of the flour is not incorporated.
- Cut the dough in half. Lightly flour a surface in your kitchen and pat the dough onto the surface into a roughly circular shape. If the dough is a bit sticky, sprinkle a bit of flour on it and roll out with a rolling pin or flatten by lightly patting and shaping with your hands. Flip over and repeat until it is no longer sticky (1-2 flips). AVOID OVERWORKING THE DOUGH
- Roll or pat your dough to 1/2 inch or 1-11/2 centimeters thick.
- Cut the dough into shapes and place the cut scones a few centimeters apart on your baking sheet. I use cookie cutters to shape my dough but you can cut the dough with a drinking glass turned upside down or cut it into triangular wedges.
- Repeat steps 8-10 with the remaining dough.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the beaten egg on the cut out scone dough.
- Place into the oven on a middle rack and put the timer on for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes remove from the oven. Your scones should be golden and done. Just to make sure, do the toothpick test.
- Serve fresh out of the oven.
serving cheese scones
Fresh orange juice, coffee, chai are excellent beverages to accompany your cheese scones. I like to pair my scones with scrambled eggs with herbs and butter, along with avocado slices, other fruit, tomatoes… even with slices of… wait for it… cheese 🙂
Cheese scones are great for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. I haven’t tried it yet but I am sure these would be great with soup. If you try it please let me know.
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