Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ice and Bacon Cheddar Scones

Well, my last post was "Snow and food..." so that looks to be the pattern these days-it seems to be all about the weather! We're "iced in" here in north Texas this week and it lends to lots of eating, meaning cooking. This is our third day in a row to work from home, so I have lots of access to the kitchen. It's unfortunate because I think I've gained five pounds since Sunday. And for some reason, there's a big bacon campaign going on here. (Did you just meet me?) Started the day Tuesday with Bacon Cheddar Scones. Tuesday night we had Refried Bean Tostadas, so of course they were made with bacon grease. Last night we had hot dogs wrapped in bacon and put under the broiler--shredded cheese and chili accompanied. Don't worry, I paid later. Then tonight, we're having BLT's with Tomato Bisque soup. What?
Back to the scones. Not to sound haughty, but I'm kind of known for my scones. I usually make a sweet variety--my all time fav are raisin, but I change it up, too. So it made sense to make them savory for a change. I have a great book of scones and biscuits by Elizabeth Alston, and everything I've ever made from that has been great. It's even taught me to step out and try some things on my own, so that's what this was. And I should note--I prefer making my scones "soft." By this I mean that I bake them touching, so the edges are soft when pulled apart, unlike the ones baked separated so that all sides are crusty. Just a preference.

So here's the basic recipe--anyone who makes their own buttermilk biscuits is well on their way:

2 C. All-purpose flour
2 t. Baking powder
1/2 t. Baking soda
1/2 t. Nutmeg
1/2 t. Salt
8 T. (one stick) Cold unsalted butter
Yolk of one large egg
3/4 C. Buttermilk or plain yogurt
White of one large egg
1 C. Crisp bacon, crumbled
1 C. Shredded cheddar cheese
Sugar, salt and pepper for sprinkling

Heat oven to 350ยบ F. Put flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt into a large mixing bowl; stir to mix well. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers (I do both), until the mixture looks like fine granules. Add egg yolk to buttermilk (I never have buttermilk--make some with regular milk and lemon juice.), whisk with a fork to blend, then add to flour mixture and stir till a soft dough forms. Add the bacon and cheese, and mix in accordingly, finishing blending it in by turning all the dough out onto a floured surface and kneading it a few times. Cut the dough in half and knead each half briefly into a ball; turn smooth side up and pat into a 6-inch circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges, but don't separate the wedges. In a small bowl, beat the egg white with a fork until broken up, and brush the top of each circle of scones, then sprinkle with a little sugar, kosher salt, and a tiny bit of pepper if you want. I didn't do the pepper on the ones in the picture. With a pancake turner, transfer both circles onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. If necessary, reshape the circles to make sure the wedges are touching.
Bake 18-22 minutes, until medium brown. Cool on a wire rack, then after about five minutes, pull the wedges apart and cover loosely with a dish towel.
And what I've found when making any biscuits or scones--get everything to room temp before you begin, except the butter. Keep it cold until you cut it in. It makes the dough so nice.
These were really good served warm with apricot jam.
Happy eating!

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