Are savory scones unusual? I don't recall ever encountering such a thing before but now that I've done a search, I see lots of different recipes for cheese scones. There are even a handful of distinct recipes for bacon cheddar scones, most with either scallions or chives. The particular one I made originally called for scallions, but the chives in my herb garden have been growing well so I wanted to use them. This recipe is from the Atlantic's new food section of their website. They've had some pretty interesting recipes there recently and I find Grant Achatz's column about introducing experimental new dishes at his restaurant quite fascinating. It's worth taking a look.
But getting back to the recipe, this is the first time I've ever made scones. From all the awful scones I've had, I had always assumed they were very difficult to make, but these came out beautifully first try.
Bacon Cheddar Scones
Makes 12 small scones
8 ounces sliced high quality peppery smoked bacon [If your bacon isn't peppered, add some pepper]
2½ cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt [I have no fine salt in the house so I ground up coarse sea salt in a mortar)
¾ cup high quality [European-style or organic] unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, cold
2 large eggs, beaten, cold
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, cold
4 ounces cheddar, aged at least one year, crumbled and cold
3 scallions, chopped
1. Fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain, chop, and place in refrigerator to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with a knife or pastry cutter until the mixture forms ½-inch pieces. [I just used my fingers and the texture I got at the end was more sandy than anything I'd call "pieces". Could someone who understands baking better than I do please explain the significance of the difference?]
4. Add the eggs, ½ cup of the cream, and cheddar. Mix by hand [well, by whisk held in your hand] until just combined. Fold in the scallions [or chives] and cooled bacon. [This I did with my hands.]
5. Transfer the dough to a well-floured board. Form two 7-inch rounds. Cut each into 6 wedges.
6. Transfer the wedges to a baking sheet lined with parchment. Brush with the remaining cream and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, [I went all the way to 30 minutes, but baking in my oven often goes long.] until the scones are golden brown on the top and bottom (you'll have to lift them off the baking sheet a bit to check underneath).
7. Allow to cool and firm up for about 10 minutes before removing from sheet. Serve the same day [or, I'm hoping, freezing is OK. I haven't defrosted any to check how they're holding up yet.]
The author, Ari Weinzweig, suggests serving these with butter or bacon fat or mayonaise with tomato and arugula. I liked Chef Allan's Mango Tears chutney as an accompaniment.
These are crisp on the outside, soft and not-quite-crumbly not-quite-flaky on the inside. They're smokey, savory and sharp with a subtle herbal note keeping the richness from overwhelming. The best bits were where a piece of cheese was exposed and melted and browned over the surface. If you make these, sprinkle a little finely shredded cheese over top. Really quite lovely and a fine thing to have around as a snack. I think I'll try a sweet scone next as those would be pretty nice to have around as well.