Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tweaking a recipe for the better--savory scones

Happy Sunday everyone. I am writing this feeling quite happy with myself and also enjoying a rather dry mimosa.

I'd taken it into my head to make savory scones. Partly because they sounded delicious (if not traditional. My British friends are probably screaming), and partly because I need quick and easy breakfasts in the morning. 

So after some searching, I found this recipe, but the more I looked at it, the more I felt the need to tweak. Here's the ingredients, my tweaks, as usual, are italics.

  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I reduced this slightly. There's bacon and onions involved, so there's plenty of sodium going on already)
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper. (The recipe suggests reducing to a teaspoon if you want a strong peppery taste, which is what I did. Next time, I think I'll try two, the pepper got lost in the cheese)
  • 1.5 Cups grated cheddar cheese (I always go for sharp. Aged if I can afford it)
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into 1-inch pieces (I used 8 slices of a rather thick bacon and it worked out fine. Cook it until it's crispy--taste it as you cook)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (I went with a cup of caramelized onions, which was about 2.5 onions the size of softballs or small grapefruit)
  • .75 to 1.5 Cups Buttermilk
  • heavy cream (optional. Can be substituted for half of the buttermilk)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons of water
I found this recipe appealing because bacon, cheese, and onions go very well together. In omelettes, in sandwiches, mixed with pasta. 

One of the things I noticed in the picture, was there was more filling than scone. The scone dough was used as a binder and not much else. That, in my opinion, is cheating yourself out of some deliciousness, and not being very nice to the concept of the buttery, crumbly scone. I think mine look a little better.

I followed the directions otherwise:

  • Preheat oven to 400 (if you live in an apartment, you might want to consider opening windows or turning on the a/c to get some air circulating). Grab your peppermill and start grinding - use a full tablespoon for a wonderfully peppery background or reduce by 1 tsp for less pepper flavor.
  • Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl on low speed. With mixer running, gradually add cubes of butter until the mixture is crumbly and studded with flour - butter bits about the size of small peas. Add grated cheese and mix just until blended. (This can also be done by hand: In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Gradually cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in cheese.) I went with the manual method. I use a whisk to blend the dry ingredients, then a large fork to smash the butter to bits (I have to release those violent thoughts somehow)
  • Add green onions, bacon and 3/4 cup of the buttermilk to flour and cheese mixture. Mix by hand just until all ingredients are incorporated. If dough is too dry to hold together, use remaining buttermilk, adding 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is pliable and can be formed into a ball. (I needed a lot more buttermilk that 3/4 Cup to get this into a ball. I'd start with a cup and add from there next time). Stir as lightly and as little as possible to ensure a lighter-textured scone (I agree this is important). Remove dough from bowl and place it on a lightly floured flat surface. Pat dough into a ball. Using a well-floured rolling pin, flatten dough into a circle about 8 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into 8 to 10 equal wedges, depending on size scone you prefer.
  • Whisk egg and water in a small mixing bowl to combine. Brush each wedge with egg wash. Place scones on a Silpat-lined baking sheet and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer sticky in the middle. Serve warm.

I actually have a scone pan that will do 16 mini scones. I ended up having to make four drop scones because I filled the pan quite nicely. I didn't do the egg wash either. Instead I brushed them with cream.

They came out delicious. I'm not sure they will last very long, but if they do, I plan to freeze them individually in sandwich-sized bags so they will be easy to toss into the microwave for breakfast.

Thank you for reading. Comments always welcome!

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