I have a very favorite scone recipe, which I made for the first time in the middle of winter, after getting Molly Wizenberg’s book A Homemade Life for Christmas. Ms. Wizenberg first put the recipe on her blog, Orangette but with the addition of frozen strawberries; in her book, the recipe is “Scottish Scones with Lemon and Ginger.” I love these scones because they are just the right texture: not too dry, not too moist. They break apart in nice, hefty ridges, and they get a little brown on the corners, so you get a sweet, nutty finish as you finish the last few bites. And they are fast, messy, and so satisfying to make.
And then….just a couple of weeks ago, my scone horizons broadened. I regularly read another food (and fashion) blog, Homerun Ballerina, written by Audrey. She has been writing about the food she makes for several years, and she recently became the chef/baker at a coffee shop and bakery in Brooklyn, which makes me want to move to Brooklyn immediately. All of the food she makes looks so delicious, beautiful, and creative. So, a couple of weeks ago, she posted these gorgeous photos of sssssavory scones she makes at her shop, and I knew I had to make them. I love food that can be made both sweet and savory. I decided, since my first time making them would be for friends, to combine the two recipes, because I wanted to try to retain that particular texture I like so well. (I’ll be trying Audrey’s original recipe soon, though.)
The time came when my friend Cora invited myself and several friends to a birthday barbeque last weekend. Scones may seem like sort of an odd choice, but here was my reasoning: I could make small scones, resulting in more scones and less worry about getting overly full at a pot-luck, which drives me crazy; I had all of the ingredients already, because you can put basically anything in them; and I had been itching to make them! So, scones it was. And they were a hit. I stuck with Molly’s liquid-to-flourproportions, but I used Audrey’s salt/sugar/add-in proportions. I made two different kinds, and put cheese in both of them. This added even more depth to the texture, making them layered like a biscuit, but still dense and chewy like a scone. They were salty and just a little dry, which made them great to eat alongside a good beer. And this is Colorado, so that’s exactly what we did.
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s “Scottish Scones with Lemon and Ginger” (A Homemade Life, 2009), and Audrey’s “savory scones” (www.homerunballerina.blogspot.com)
One of the main reasons I think these scones are so awesome is because they are great way to make something really special out of not a lot. I made two versions, Bacon/Green Onion/Gruyere, and Lemon/Sage/Parmesan, because I just happened to have half a lemon leftover, a couple slices of bacon, one green onion, and some cheese. You can use up extra ingredients, or only make a small dent in another ingredient, and still come out with something great. You can use fresh or dried stuff. The amount of flavorful ingredients you add is also really flexible–I added 1/2 c cheese in one variety, and 1/4 c in the other, for example. The flavors may not stand out as much, but the flavor of the scone batter is so good, that the result is just a different focus. Check out Audrey’s blog for more ideas about ingredient combinations.
2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t salt
1 T sugar
4 T unsalted butter, cut into cubes and refrigerated until needed
1/2 milk ( or 1/2 and 1/2, or cream)
up to 1 c fillings
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Butter or oil a baking sheet. Whisk together the milk (or 1/2 and 1/2 or cream) and egg in a small bowl. In a separate, large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and rub into the dry mixture with your fingertips, until you have a course meal. Add to this the sugar and any fillings, and stir to combine. Now add the milk/egg mixture, and stir gently to incorporate this, just to the point that all the dry ingredients are now wet. I used a big flat spatula to kind of drag wetter dough along dryer parts. As soon as everything has been mixed, gather the dough as best you can into a ball with your hands (the batter will be fairly wet, and you will inevitably lose a little) and turn it and any excess onto a countertop or cutting board, and knead it a few times, until it comes together. Flatten it out into a circle with your hands, until it’s about an inch thick. You can cut it into wedges (8 makes a good size) or you can do what I did, which was cut it into small squares about an inch on each side.
Place the squares on the baking sheet with a little space between them. Bake for 10-14 minutes, until the little peaks and corners on the surface of the scones are turning golden brown. Remove from the oven, and let cool on a cooling rack. These are good served warm or at room temperature, or reheated in the microwave. Molly suggests toasting them, and I bet they would ridiculous with some sort of jalapeno/fruit jam or tomato jam spread on them!