Saturday, November 10, 2012

Aged Cheddar Scones

A good scone can be hard to come by, these days.  I am rarely satisfied by the over-sweet, cakey varieties that are available in supermarkets and don't even get me started on the frosted abominations they sell at most coffee shops.  To me, a good scone should be light, crumbly, and not the least bit cakey in texture.  It should be moist enough to have a tender bite but dry enough to crumble.  No frosting allowed!

These scones are of the savory variety and make a wonderful accompaniment to soups and stews.  I also tried mine with a little Sicilian Lemon Marmalade (available at Marczyk's and WELL worth the high price tag!) for a hint of tangy sweetness and it was just delicious.  The cheese I used was Nakhu Cheddar from Windsor Dairy, where they produce old world cheeses from raw, grass fed milk.  Any dry, sharp aged cheddar will do here but if you live in Colorado, give the Windsor Dairy cheese a try!

I assembled these scones like drop biscuits, gently forming the dough into balls and pressing it into little disks.  This enables you to form scones without handling the dough very much, which results in a wonderful, crumbly texture.  Make sure to monitor your moisture levels with this dough - I used a very thick sour cream, so if using a runnier cream you may not need the extra water.  As long as there's just enough liquid to help the dough barely hold together, the end result will turn out just right!



Cheese Scones
makes about a dozen

1 1/2 cups grated sharp aged cheddar
2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
6 T butter, diced and chilled well
6 T sour cream
3 T water
1 tsp salt
3 eggs

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk flour and baking powder together.  Add butter and cut with a pastry blender (or blend with your fingers, working quickly) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add cheese, sour cream and 2 of the eggs, lightly beaten, and mix until just combined.  If dough doesn't come together, add extra water one tablespoon at a time.

Make an egg wash by whisking the remaining egg with 2 tablespoons of water or milk.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide in half and set one half aside.  Press the dough into a disk about 2 inches thick and repeat with the remaining dough.  Place the disks on a large baking sheet.  Score each disk into six wedges and brush with egg wash. Bake until just golden, about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately and store at room temperature for up to three days.

For drop-biscuit style scones, simply form dough into 12 small balls and gently pat down to form a disk.  Brush with egg wash and bake according to above instructions.


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