Sunday, November 1, 2009

don't call me cheesey...but you sure can call my scones that!

I have become obsessed (yet again, and with yet another thing). This time, the object of my obsession is scones. Last week alone I made 4 dozen scones - and sold almost all of them! It all started with a simple request from Zarah. She wanted to know if I could make her some jalapeño-cheddar scones... I had never made them, but figured I could try. As you can tell from the picture, the end result was pretty awesome... they smelt great and tasted even better. I think I've found my calling - I'm going to become a scone queen :0)

I used my stand-mixer since I have one, but obviously scones can be made even if you don't have one. The secret to them is not to over work the batter (just like your pastry dough) and to use COLD butter. And cream. If you want a flakey, moist and delicious scone - pull out the heavy cream and just enjoy!

Oh, and be careful when handling those jalapeño - don't de-seed them, so don't touch anything you don't want burning ;0)

jalapeño-extra old cheddar scones
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp finely ground yellow cornmeal
3 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) COLD butter, cut into cubes
1/2 lb (300 g) of COLD extra-old cheddar (I prefer using white), cut into cubes
1/2 c. heavy (35%) cream
1 c. buttermilk
1 egg beaten (with 1 tsp of water)
extra cornmeal

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Dust your cookie sheets with some of the cornmeal (spread it all around) and set aside.

In a small pan over medium-high heat, melt the 1 tbsp of room temperature butter and sauté the chopped jalapeño peppers. You want them to soften, so cook them for about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, sift the flour, b. soda and powder, salt and cornmeal together. Use your paddle attachment to stir the ingredients together (level STIR on your machine). Once combined, slowly cut in the cubes of butter (low speed); until they resemble the size of small peas, about 4 minutes. With the mixer still running add the cheddar cheese and the jalapeño peppers and mix them in.

Make a well in the centre of the dry batter and add the cream and buttermilk. Slowly mix until everything just comes together (I would say less than a minute at the STIR speed). You want everything to have pretty much gathered on the paddle but still have a bit of flour sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Your cheese will still be in chunks and your batter will be pretty wet.

Turn your dough out onto a floured counter top. Gently work the dough - I personally worked it into a log and cut out my scones from that shape. Place the scones onto the cookie sheets (on top of the cornmeal)- about 2 inches apart (allow room for them to spread) and lightly brush both the top and bottom with the egg wash.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 - 35 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to your wire racks to cool. Store in a well-sealed Tupperware in order to keep them as fresh as possible - if they even last that long. I promise you, just the smell of these scones will have you counting down to when you can devour them!

You should get at least a dozen scones... perhaps even 13.

*If you only need half the recipe; just freeze half the batter - follow all the steps until you get to the point were you will brush them with egg wash. Place them (already cut) on a clean cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer and allow the batter to completely freeze. Then remove from the freezer, put all the frozen scones into either a Ziploc bag or a Tupperware and return to the freezer. Bake as desired (thaw the batter and then put cornmeal on the cookie sheet and brush the scones with egg wash).


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