Not quite a biscuit but not quite bread, either. What is it? Oh right, a scone. I’m not particularly fond of things with too much butter because I don’t like how they feel in my mouth. But there’s just something about the buttery, savory and sometimes even nutty taste of scones that can make me forget.
I was lucky enough to come across a Dorie Greenspan recipe for Apple Cheddar Scones for my first foray to scone-making. However the main mistake I made was shaping them too thin. If you’ll notice, my scones aren’t as thick as a proper scone ought to be. I have no idea why I didn’t follow the instructions and made it a little thicker. Perhaps I was thinking that it would rise, like most other breads, and so my scones ended up looking a bit like biscuits instead.
With a very mild salty flavour, the family consensus is that it’s a little plainer in taste than what we’re used to, but it is so much fun to munch on! It could maybe use a notch more apples and cheddar, but I did enjoy the texture of the scone quite a lot, as evidenced by how I kept reaching for another piece! Personally, I was fine with the taste. The flavours of the apple and the cheddar had combined wonderfully together with the dough, so none of them taste more pronounced than the other, but rather they complemented each other beautifully.
Apple Cheddar Scones
1 large egg
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1/4 cup cold apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely diced dried apples
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400° F (205° C). Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
2. Stir the egg, buttermilk and apple cider together.
3. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour.
4. Quickly, working with your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You’ll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between – and that’s just right.
5. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be very wet and sticky, comes together. If there are still some dry ingredients in the bottom of the bowl, stir them in, but try not to overdo the mixing. Stir in the grated cheese and dried apple.
6. Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times. Then, because the dough is very sticky, the easiest thing to do is to turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface, pat it into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick and, using a dough scraper or a chef’s knife, cut it into 12 roughly equal pieces; place on the baking sheet. Alternatively, you can just spoon out 12 equal mounds onto the baking sheet.* (At this point, the scones can be frozen on the backing sheet, then wrapped airtight. Don’t defrost before baking – just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.)
7. Bake the scones for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish. Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for the scones to cool to room temperature.
*The dough was a little stickier and softer than I was expecting, so I went ahead and shaped the dough with my hands.
**Although the scones are best minutes after they come out of the oven, you can put them in an airtight container once they come to room temperature and freeze them up to two months. Reheat them in a 350° F (180° C) oven once you wish to eat them.
Here’s another recipe I made when I received a request for scones that contain bacon. I did a little research and ended up with David Leite’s Bacon, Eggs and Cheddar Scones. Sounds quite like breakfast, doesn’t it? Tastes quite like it too!
I didn’t put together another post for it because I did not get to snap photos that were composed to my liking. My friend Gilbert came over that day, you see, and I could feel his impatience in the air as he waited for me to finish snapping photos. He wanted to have one as soon as they were out of the oven! The restraint was visible on his demeanor so I just gave up and gave him the go-signal after taking the above photo. He managed to gobble up quite a few. I though this recipe is worth mentioning after receiving several stamps of approval. And if you’ll notice, I learned my lesson from the first recipe, I made these scones more beautifully thicker. The recipe says you can make 6 [very large] scones, but I made 12 and thought the size was just perfect.