What is a scone, anyway?Scones are a kind of light, mildly sweetened quickbread. These baked goods tend to have a drier, crispier texture on the outside, but with a soft, flaky, and buttery interior. While scones are historically made with a lightly sweetened dough and enjoyed with simple topping and fillings like jams, butter, and/or clotted cream, you can also find them topped with sweet glazes or mixed with various sweet or savory fillings.
What’s the difference between a scone and a biscuit?Scones sometimes get mixed up with the American biscuit since they’re both made from similar quickbread doughs that include flour and baking powder for leavening. However, there are some key differences that you can use to tell them apart. Scones tend to be both sweeter and harder than biscuits due to the inclusion of binding ingredients like milk, yogurt, and eggs. American-style scones also often include heavier liquids like buttermilk and/or cream for added richness. These additional ingredients mean that scones tend to have a denser build than biscuits, which are lighter and fluffier. Scones and biscuits are also often made in different ways: while scones are traditionally rolled into a large circle and then cut into wedges to be baked, biscuits are more often made with individual drops of dough.
A quick history of the cheddar cheese sconeScones have been a tea-time staple for centuries and are an especially popular treat in England, Ireland, and Scotland. While the origin for the very first scone is a little hard to pinpoint, this biscuit-like treat is thought to have originated in Scotland; or at least, the first mention that can be found of the scone was in a poem by Scottish writer Gavin Douglas in 1513. The humble scone reportedly became a British staple when the Duchess of Bedford Anna tasted the light sweet bread and enjoyed it so much that she started ordering it every day along with her afternoon tea! The tradition has continued through the years, with many people continuing to enjoy scones along with their tea today. The original versions of scones tended to be made with oatmeal, rolled into a round shape, cut into wedges for serving, then cooked on a griddle over a hot flame. These days, though, you’re more likely to find them whipped up with wheat flour, leavened with baking powder, and baked in the oven. As this simple quickbread recipe has made its way across the pond to America, the recipe for American scones is generally a bit heavier and sweeter than its British counterpart, which is lighter, plainer, and generally meant to be enjoyed with clotted cream and/or jam for a touch of sweetness. You’re also more likely to find a wide variety of scone flavors these days! The basic scone dough recipe is fairly simple, which makes it an ideal baked good for adding other delicious toppings like fruits, nuts, and more. So you might find scones in a lemon poppyseed variety, blueberry, vanilla, and yes, even savory options like cheddar cheese!
Basic ingredients you’ll needScones are a type of quickbread, which means that they’re made from a simple flour dough leavened with baking powder and baked in the oven. To make cheddar cheese scones, you’ll need the following ingredients.
- 5 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 3¼ tsp. Baking Powder
- ½ tsp. Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Dried Thyme
- 1 2/3 cup Buttermilk
- ¾ Unsalted Butter,
- 6 Tbsp. Full-Fat Greek Yogurt
- 1 ½ cup Shredded Cheddar
- 1 tsp. Salt
- Make a space in the fridge for the small plate to chill the butter in step 1
- Make a space in your freezer for the cutting board to chill the dough in step 2
- Reserve ½ cup all-purpose flour for dusting your surface.
Step 1 – Prepare Butter
- Using a cutting board and paring knife, cut unsalted butter into pea sized pieces, put on the small plate, and set in the fridge until the end of step 2.
Step 2 – Mix the dough
- In a large mixing bowl add all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, and black pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon.
- Remove pre-diced unsalted butter from the fridge, add to the bowl. Use your hands to toss, breaking up any larger pieces by rubbing between your thumb and fingers.
Step 3 – Finish Dough and Chill
- Add cold buttermilk and stir just until combined.
- Add shredded cheddar, yogurt, and dried thyme and fold just until combined.
- Dust the cutting board with a little flour and press out the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick.
- Place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Step 4 – Portion and Bake
- Remove dough from the freezer. Use a knife to cut into squares measuring about 3" x 3" so that you get about 12 scones.
- Pro-tip: The baking time is set for this size, but if you prefer smaller portions, just lower the baking time 5-10 minutes depending on the reduction in size.
Step 5 – Bake and enjoy!
- Place 6 scones on each baking sheet and place in the preheated oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes and rotate the trays, baking for another 10 minutes until light golden brown.
- Let cool and enjoy!
Tips for making the perfect scone
Keep your ingredients cold!The art of making the perfect scones is very similar to mastering a flaky pie crust or the perfect biscuit -- the colder your ingredients are, the better. Start your recipe with cold or even frozen) butter grated into the recipe so that your dough ends up nice and flaky after baking. You can also chill your scones prior to putting them into the oven for the best bake results.
You can choose any kind of cheese you want for this recipe.However, if you want to really sink your teeth into the savory goodness and enjoy maximum flavor in your scones, it’s best to use a high-quality cheddar cheese for this recipe. For an extra burst of flavor, use a sharper variety.
Don’t forget the buttermilk and the yogurt!Scones can sometimes get a bad reputation for being dry or bland, but you can easily improve yours with the addition of buttermilk and yogurt. They’re essential keys for ensuring that your scones moist and flavorful, not boring or
How to eat cheddar sconesAnother wonderful thing about cheddar scones is that there are so many different ways that you can enjoy them! Some ideas for enjoying scones include:
- Cutting them in half and filled with eggs and bacon for a comforting breakfast sandwich
- Dipping scones into a warm bowl of chili or stew
- Enjoying scones as a savory brunch time appetizer
- Serving scones as a more interesting side alternative to a standard dinner roll
- Eating scones with your afternoon coffee or tea with a side of butter or clotted cream
- Pairing your scones with fruit jam for the perfect mix of sweet and savory goodness
- As is for a perfect snack any time of the day!
ConclusionScones are a simple and delicious treat that become all the better when paired with the delicious salty, savory goodness of sharp cheddar cheese. The best part of adding scones to your baking repertoire: once you master the art of making scones, the possibilities are endless for making both sweet and savory treats!
Featured image credit: Photo by rawkkim onUnsplash