Cheddar & Spring Onion Scones

It’s funny where inspiration can come from. A friend mentioned a local home tour that’s a fundraiser for a local historic preservation society.  I’ve been trying to force myself out of my comfort zone homebody-ness, and decided to join the group. It would be an all-day affair on the far side of town, and I thought – hey! It would be nice to have snacks.  We got our tickets for an 8:45am start time. Hey…..that’s kinda early. Guess I’ll need to do breakfasty things. Finger food. And of course, scones immediately came to mind. My friend D. loves cheese. As in, if he could marry cheese and coat himself in it daily, he would.  So, okay – cheese scones. Then I remembered this forking deelish scallion corn muffin recipe I’d found, and thought yes! That’s it – scallions and cheese! And D. is from New Mexico and knows good green chile- so scallion, green chile and cheddar. Angel choir. Idea is born. The night before arrives, and…….I only have the hot green chile left in the freezer.  Hmm…. D. and I will love it, but the other four folks coming are unknowns….ok, back to onion and cheddar. And then of course, because I can only eat the cheese if I take a shit ton of cheese pills, some cranberry orange ones, as well. But we’ll save those for another day.

Whew! Such a long tale. The next step was the preparation – I’d read from either Jamie Oliver or Nigella to put scones in the freezer for half an hour before baking (which is awesome, btw) and started to wonder if I could make them up the night before and then just bake them in the morning. Because, you know, twenty more minutes of sleep is ALWAYS a good thing.  So, the short answer is yes. It is totally possible, and has completely changed myscone game forever. Buh-bye, buttcrack of dawn. Hello, prep at night and bake while I’m in the shower. I like this!
Alrighty, shall we play?  You’re gonna LOVE these. They were a HUGE hit with my home-tour friends.

Ingredients:
The Dry:
2 c. AP flour
1 ½ tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Sugar
½ c. Butter, icy cold and cubed
The Add-Ins:
½ c. Sharp cheddar, cut in to ¼” cubes.  Yes, really. Do not shred, do not cube larger.
4 Spring onions/scallions sliced in ¼” rondelles.
The Wet:
¾ c. Buttermilk.
The Egg Wash (optional)
Whisk one egg with 2 Tbsp. milk

Directions:

The night before, In a bowl, mix the dry except the butter. Then toss in the butter, and with a pastry cutter smoosh and twist until the butter is a little smaller than peas.  Do not get to the crumb-stage; if you do, your scones will be more Englishy cake-like and not have the biscuit-like flaky layers of American scones.
Stir in the Add-Ins, then the buttermilk. Combine with your hands until you have a firm slightly sticky dough.  It is okay if you overwork it a little, as it is going to rest overnight in the fridge. (Is this not the most awesome part of this or what????)  Scrape the dough on to the dusted parchment. Dust your hands with flour (You might need to scrape/wash them off first.), and shape the dough in to either one 1” tall 8” diameter circle, or two ½” tall 6” diameter circles.  Fold it up in the parchment and put it in the fridge. Nighty-night, Felicia!
In the morning, preheat your oven to 400*.  Take out the dough and slice up your scones.   Either eight with the big circle, or twelve (six each) with the little ones.  Place on the parchment on a cooking tray. Brush with the egg wash (or milk or cream), and bake until puffed-up and golden – about 22-25 minutes for the big’uns, and 18-20 for the little’uns.
That’s it. Enjoy. These are really, really yummy. And would be really, really good with a bowl of chili. Or just shoveled in your mouth hot out of the oven. These are that yummy.

Do you have to wait overnight? Of course not – you could pop these in the oven right way. You’ll just need to be biscuit-gentle with that dough.

Bon apetit, y’all. I’d love to hear how yours turn out!


Vanilla Strawberry Jam…..and orange scones

It’s almost spring, kind of a pre-spring really. I say this because Sprouts had quarts of strawbabies for 97 cents, and I was all over that. But…..although they were red, they were not really flavorful or sweet. So, what to do with a ton of non-optimal berries?

Then I remembered this awesome book I checked out from the library about small-batch canning, Food in Jars. I’d checked it out to read while planning a fig-onion-jam-making party, only it’s winter and the onions are all shite and not yet worthy of jam making. That mother is still totally happening, but once the onions are fat and sweet and not stringy and hot. But I digress. So, strawberry jam was now on the agenda. Last time I made it, I added some vanilla and it was awesome. So, there we go – I now had a plan.

I did this granny-style, 1:1 by weight fruit to sugar. Plus a 3″ piece of already scraped vanilla pod.

It is really yummy, but quite sweet. And a little heavy on the vanilla (I guess I was expecting a miracle and the cooking to make the berries have more berry-ness?). This is the kind of jam for crostatas, or afternoon tea, or sandwiched in a white layer cake. We had it with some orange scones (the usual recipe, with the zest of half an orange added, and just a little egg wash and sparkle sugar on top.)

This was a fun Friday morning off project, only took a couple of hours. If you’ve never canned before, I can highly recommend Marisa McClellan’s book, or The Spruce has a great visual beginner’s guide. It’s not hard, but there are some safety bits that are essential.

Ok – Here’s the recipe for Vanilla Strawberry Jammy Jams

Ingredients:
2 pounds fresh strawberries; washed, stemmed, cut in half
2 pounds sugar
3″ piece of vanilla bean pod that’s already had its seeds scraped out. (or a one-inch piece of whole pod)

In a big stock pot on a very low flame, mix the berries and sugar. Use a potato masher to smoosh it up. Toss in the vanilla bean pod. Check on it and stir it every ten minutes or so at the beginning to make sure the sugar isn’t burning. Once it’s liquidy, let it barely bubble away for about two hours, then start to stir it every 15 minutes or so, again to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch. When it sheets on a spoon, it’s ready (What the hell does that mean? Read on, baby!) At that point you can can it in a water bath, or put it in to freezer jam jars. Or just refrigerator jars. With all that sugar, it’ll stay good for quite a long while. Take some to the neighbors – mine loved it!

I’ll post about those scones later; I tried a Nigella trick and tossed the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes before cutting the dough. THAT was amazeballs and I am definitely doing THAT again.

Ok, go make some jam. It’s easy.

Pecan Brown Sugar Scones

This is the second attempt at these babies. I’ve been trying to capture Himself’s favorite dessert, pecan pie. Although these are not quite there, they are quite tasty. Hopefully a future post is coming that can be called the pecan pie version. Not today, though. If I make one more batch of these this weekend, I am afraid Himself will have my head.

This version is just sweet enough, with a nice crunch from the nuts, and a little hint of salt in the special icing.

These are a little more fussy than my usual, but don’t be scared off. It’s not hard, there’s just a couple extra bits. But hey! That’s what makes these so special. And pretty enough to get rid of the leftovers to the neighbors!
Shall we?

Pecan Brown Sugar Scones.
yield: 16 mini or 8 large

Scones:
2 c. AP flour
1/2 c. dark brown sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling
¼ c. toasted chopped pecans
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ c. ice cold butter
¾ c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg separated, with the whites lightly whisked until foamy.
8-16 pretty pecan halves.

Icing:
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbps. water
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar.

Preheat the oven to 375*.

For the Dry, in a medium-sized bowl mix together:
2 c. AP flour
¼ c. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
Mix, then cut in with a pastry cutter:
½ c. ice cold butter
Set aside, and a small bowl mix the wet:
¾ c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg yolk.

Mix the wet in to the dry genty until it is shaggy-looking. Turn on to your board/counter, and gently flold and knead until the tough barely holds tegether. With your board knife, cut the dough in to four equal parts, and gently shape and flatten each in to a disc about 6” across and ½” high. On two of the discs, sprinkle:
¼ c. dark brown sugar
¼ toasted chopped pecans.
With your board knife, gently lift one of the plain discs and set it on top of the nuts/sugared disc. (Do the same for the other) Gently press down, they will kind of stick together. Smooth the outside edge so there’s no brown sugar poking out. (Otherwise, the top half will just slide off the bottom half during baking.) Use your board knife to slice each disc in to 8 wedges. (I do halves, quarters, then eighths). Place about ½” apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss the pecan halves in the foamy egg whites. Brush the backs and tops of the wedges with the beaten egg white, and place a pecan half on each. (Why not the sides? I don’t know the chemistry of it, but essentially it’ll seal the sides so there’s no where for the scone to rise and expand in the oven.) Sprinkle the moist tops with a little more brown sugar. Bake about 15 – 18 minutes until deep golden. Remove from the oven. and place the scones on a cooling rack. When they are just barely still warm, drizzle with the salted brown sugar icing. (And ermehgerd, this icing! I wanted to just eat it with a spoon. This would be amazeballs on a coffee cake. Soooo yummy.)
The Icing:
In a microwave-safe bowl (or 4 cup pyrex!), put:
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbps. water
Microwave until it is bubbling. (Mine took about 30 seconds). Stir in:
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar.
Stir. It should be the consistency of a thick icing. Put it in a pastry tube to drizzle over the almost-cool scones. Serve and eat!


Remember to take some to the neighbors!

For the 16-scone version, the nutritional info per scone calculated using the verywell.com site is:
Calories 256
Fat 18.8g
Sodium 132mg
Carbs 19.6g (fiber 2.3g, sugars 5.7g)
Protein 4.3

Irish Soda Bread, er, Tea Cake

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I tried a new ciambella recipe a while back, and found myself thinking, “hey, ciambella is like Italian Irish soda bread!” Which of course planted that seed and here we are. I’d never actually eaten or made Irish soda bread until a couple of years ago. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the actual loaf was nothing like I’d envisioned. Imagine a giant, moist scone. With currants and orange zest. (Unless of course you are a soda bread purist, in which case you will insist that including fruits actually make it a tea cake. ) Regardless of nomenclature, let’s settle on delicious. This freezes great. It’s easy to make, and even more fun to give to the neighbors. No one cooks anymore, so home made things always elicit the most enthusiastic responses in my experience. And this is easy-peasy!
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I like to use currants instead of raisins simply because they’re smaller, so you get lots of little raisin bites instead of big blobs of raisin. I also like to soak my currants in hot water with a little vanilla before I start to bake with them. It adds a nice dimension and texture to the flavor profile. So, you’ll need some almost speciality ingredients for this – currants, buttermilk, real sweet cream butter. Because those ARE the flavor of the bread, using the real deal will make a significant difference. I will even go so far as to say if you don’t plan to use real butter, you shouldn’t plan on making this. It is that important.
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This is roughly fifteen minutes to get in the oven, then you just have to wait. Oh, and have a house that smells awesome. Once it’s cool, slice yourself a big chunk and enjoy it with even more butter slathered on it, along with some orange marmelade or honey and lovely strong cup of Irish breakfast tea with milk and sugar. MMMMM. Heaven!
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Irish Soda Bread
In a heat-safe bowl, stir together and set aside:
1 c. currants
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. boiling water
Preheat the oven to 375*. Line the base of an 8” round cake pan with parchment.
In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix to combine:
4 c. AP flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. table salt

Slice ½ a stick of butter in to its 4 tablespoons, and toss it in the dry. (Yes, cold.) mix on medium until it looks like bread crumbs.
In a another bowl or 2-4 c. pyrex measuring cup (because spouts! yeah!) , whisk together:
1 large egg
1 ¾ c. buttermilk
Zest of one orange (about 2 Tbsp.)

Drain the currants. Toss them and the liquid in to the flour and just barely mix it together.
Flour your board (counter) and dump the dough mixture out. Just barely work it until you have a nice ball.
Set the ball in the lined pan. With a sharp knife, mark a deep (like a ½” deep cut) cross or X on the top of the ball.
Bake around 50 minutes. It should be a deep dark brown and sound hollow when you thunk it.
Definitely let this cool all the way before slicing it, or you will have a big pile of chunky crumbs. And, when you do slice it, make them thick ¾” – 1” slices; slices too thin will just fall apart. Or, you could just make wedge slices.
This is truly a delight – not too sweet, full of buttery orangey goodness with lots of little currants. YUM!

Fig Orange Scones with Toasted Hazelnuts

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What’s this? A scone post on the Yum? Inconceivable!

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I was wondering how this flavor combination would work, so thought we’d give it a whirl.

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The answer? Delicious.

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 Honestly, if I make these again I think I’ll soak the fig slices for a few minutes in some warm water with the spices, orange zest and vanilla.  Himself said, “What?! Not brandy?” But the fact that he’s a smart ass is why I love him.

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Autumn is coming. Time for some scones. 

For the wet
1 ¼ c buttermilk
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
For the dry
3 c flour
3/8 c sugar
1.5 sticks butter
2 tsp bkg pwd
¾ tsp bkg soda
1/2 tsp salt
For the fruit
1 c. cut dried black fibgs, quarterd and tossed with
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
zest of half an orange
For the glaze
2 c pwd sugar
zest of half an orange
juice of 1 orange
For the topping
1 c. chopped toasted hazelnuts
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 375*.
Line a cookie tray with parchment.
Flour your work surface.
In a small bowl, whisk together the wet.
In a larger bowl, mix the dry.
Cut in the butter to the dry ingredients. A pastry cutter will yield a flakier scone; a food processor or mixer will yield a cakier one.
Add the fruit.
Barely combine the wet in to the dry/fruit mixture.
Turn contents on to floured board and gently, just barely knead it to a dough.
Split dough, shape each half half in to a 7″ disc about 1″ high.
With a sharp, floured knife, slice each disc in to 8 or so wedges.
Place the scones about 1″ apart on the lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20mins, until golden.
While baking, whisk together the glaze.
*Immediately* after removing the scones from the oven, brush them with 1/2 the glaze.
Allow them to mostly cool, then brush with the second layer of glaze and immediately top with the chopped nuts.
Notes
(if I do this again, I want to soak the fig slices in warm water with the spices, vanilla & some orange)

serves 18
calories 312
fat 13
cholesterol 32mg
sodium 138mg
carbs 46g
-fiber 2g
-sugars 28g
protein 4g

Blueberry Lemon Scones

I keep waiting for the day I tire of scones, but it ain’t here yet.  Brunch at home today.  How can you have Saturday brunch and not have scones? 
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This is just my basic scone recipe, with some blueberries added.

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mmm…..can you see all that yummy lemon zest in the glaze?

 I’ll just link to the existing recipe. For these booberry ones, you skip the pistachios.  After you mix the dry/liquid, split the dough in half and make two  7″ flattened discs.  On top of one, spread out 3/4 c frozen or fresh blueberries, then lay the other dough disc on top and smoosh it into shape.  Slice bake and glaze like the other – remember! Brush on the glaze layer one right out of the oven.
If you’ve never baked w/ blueberries, you might be asking “why the two disc method? why not just stir them in the dough?” Blueberries seep out their color something fierce, and you’ll wind up with an unappetizing grey dough. Gotta keep ’em separated – especially if they’re the frozen kind.

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Mmmm. Scones. Bon apétit. Try these quick delicious bits, and share your results!

Shallot Thyme Asiago Scones

So, I really wanted to make these last week.

You see, two weeks ago I made some asiago and ham scones with pear honey for the office. Only the scones were *way* too sweet. I needed a remix, a scone redemption if you will. And I had this gorgeous thyme in the fridge….

Cheese Onion Herbes
Fresh thyme, slivers of shallot, and cubed asiago…

 

Flour, leavening, and butter - waiting for some buttermilk and egg yolk
Flour, leavening, and butter – waiting for some buttermilk and egg yolk

 

Asiago Scones
Straight from the oven, cooling down….

Asiago Scones
(Extreme close-up!)  Look at that shiny, cheesy, buttery goodness just waiting to be munched!

 

Well, shall we make some??
Well, shall we make some??

 

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