Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones

I don't understand scones.  I think it's a northern thing.  The first scone I ever had was from Starbucks.  It was dense and flavourless.  I couldn't remember ever seeing them before and I didn't understand why anyone in their right minds would choose a scone when there are biscuits available.  Delicious biscuits ... light, fluffy, flaky ... but almost impossible to make well at home.  They always come so close, but then lead to disappointment.  (As an aside, I checked my Texas Home Cooking cookbook to try to decide if it was a regional thing.  Number of biscuit entries: 5.  Number of scones: 0 ... so maybe I'm not crazy.)

This week at our potluck brunch someone brought dried cranberry scones.  They were good and they didn't make me yearn for biscuits or even muffins, so perhaps scones have their place.  While searching for something to make to use up leftover jalapenos, I stumbled across this scone recipe on Smitten Kitchen and decided to give scones another try ... it was certainly better than going to the grocery store!  I'm not sure I'm a scone convert yet, but these are definitely a step in that direction.

I cut the recipe in half to avoid scone overload and skipped on the egg wash, but I'm including the original below.  I also used aged medium cheddar (pretty amazing cheddar ... thank you Val-Mont and your expensive cheeses).

Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones (from Smitten Kitchen) (Adapted Peter Oleyer at Calexico Carne Asada in Brooklyn, via NYMag)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, divided
115g sharp Cheddar cheese, diced
2 small jalapeños pepper, minced

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter and sauté the jalapeños in it until soft, about two minutes. Let them cool, then place them in a small bowl with the cheddar cheese and coat them with one tablespoon of the flour.
2. Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and salt. Cut in the remaining butter with a pastry blender, fork or two knives, until the butter bits are pea sized.
3. Lightly whip two of the eggs and cream and add to the flour-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together.
4. Add the cheddar-jalapeño mixture to the dough and mix until everything is incorporated.
5. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough out to a 3/4- to 1-inch thickness and either cut into 8 triangles or the shape of your choice with a biscuit cutter.
6. Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush the scones with egg wash and place on a parchment-lined (or well-oiled) baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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