I have a soft spot for a good delicious scone. I just can’t help it. They are supposed to be light, fluffy and they crumble in the most delightful way possible. When I’m at a coffee shop, I will always scour the scone selection and I get so excited when I peruse their flavours. It is unfortunate that not every place can make a good scone though. So many times, cafe’s seem to overbake, over knead or over… something. This is probably why I have been so hesitant to make scones for so long.
And to change the subject completely for a moment, what’s the difference between scones and biscuits?
One of the best, most amazing scones I have ever had was at the Denman Island Bakery and Pizzaria. I don’t remember if they were drop scones or cut out ones or what they looked like. I just remember the most amazing taste of sharp cheddar and black pepper. They crumbled in such a delicate way and seemed to melt in my mouth. If you do get the chance to visit British Columbia, I recommend visiting the Gulf Islands, especially Denman Island, where my husband is from.
Since that fateful day, every time I visit Denman Island, I try to order the cheddar scone. But, as my bad luck would have it, they were always out. So in my entire lifetime, I have only had the best scone in my life once.
Eventually, I just had to attempt them. I was given a new resolve to attempt the black peppery goodness of these. My memory isn’t want it used to be, but by golly, these were delicious!
Even though they are officially ‘Cheddar Scones’, they really should be “Black Pepper Cheddar Scones’. The fresh black pepper sung from the oven and danced all over my palate. Contrary to those who may fear cayenne, I didn’t add enough to call these scones ‘spicy’, but there is a subtle kick that really awakens the taste buds without reaching for the water.
Black Pepper Cheddar Scones Adapted from Ina Garten
2 cups of flour 1 teaspoon of baking powder 1 teaspoon of salt 1 teaspoon of garlic powder ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper ¾ cups of frozen butter 1 cup of grated sharp cheddar ½ cup of buttermilk 1 egg Turn on the oven to 425 degrees.
Mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, cayenne, black pepper) and take a handful of the flour mixture and toss it with the grated cheddar so the cheddar doesn’t stick together.
Carefully using a sharp knife, cut the frozen butter into cubes. If it is frozen, it will break into shards. This is good, half the work is done by science. (I have seen people grate frozen butter, which is brilliant, but my warm hands consistently melt the butter whilst grating)
Toss the flour in a food processor, then add the butter in on top. Blitz it a couple of times and the pieces of butter should look about pea sized. This can also be done with a pastry cutter. If using grated butter, just lightly toss it with the flour. Dump it all in a big mixing bowl when done.
Beat the egg with the buttermilk and pour it into the flour mixture. Mix until moistened. Toss the Cheddar in the mix. Mix only until combined.
Dump the dough out onto a well floured board and knead about 6-10 times. Roll out the dough until it is about 1-2 cm high.
Cut out using a cookie cutter or a pizza cutter shapes of your choice. I choose mini square scones of approx. 2.5 x 2.5 cm (or 1 x 1 inch for you imperialists).
Brush with an egg wash if you like.
Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes. Check to see if they are nicely golden. Serve warm/hot