Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Buttermilk Cheese Scones

If you've never used buttermilk in scones, think again!  It gives a fabulous flavour to savoury scones, and helps make them rise into the bargain.  I made this batch for a coffee morning and they were a definite success.   I adore cheese scones, especially when they are straight from the oven, so it was fortunate that I did a double batch, or there wouldn't have been enough for more than two people!   Buttermilk seems to keep for ages, and you can ignore the "best before" date (sorry, everybody) with impunity.   As you can see from the photo, I'm not the greatest expert on perfect scones, but as long as they taste good, it really doesn't matter what they look like.  This recipe has extra cheese, which, with the buttermilk, added to the lightness.   You can make them with gluten-free flour.  Although they don't rise as well, they taste great.

Buttermilk Cheese Scones

Cheese Scones

8oz/225g plain flour  
2 ½ level tsps baking powder
½ level tsp salt
2oz/50g butter or margarine at room temperature
4oz/110g strong Cheddar cheese, grated, (use 1oz/25g for the tops)
¼ pint/5floz buttermilk, 
small quantity milk for the tops

Preheat the oven to 230 deg C. 

In a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour until they look like breadcrumbs.  The best way to do this is to use only your fingertips, as lightly as possible, lifting the mixture as you rub it in to keep it airy.   Add 3oz/80g of the cheese and mix it in lightly.   Add the buttermilk and mix the dough together quickly until it makes a single lump.  

Turn it out onto a floured board and knead it very lightly before rolling it gently to about ½”/1.5cm thick - it helps if it is even, as otherwise you get lopsided scones (see photo!).   Before you start cutting out the scones, warm the baking tray in the oven.  Cut small scones using a plain cutter, then re-roll the remainder gently to use all the mixture.  The last scone is generally less appealing, but that's the cook's perk.   If you dip the cutter in flour, the scones won’t get stuck when you release them.   Also, try not to drag the cutter when cutting out, or the scones will be oval.   

Put the scones on the warm baking tray, brush with milk and sprinkle on the extra cheese.   Makes approx 12.

Bake for about 8 minutes until well risen and golden.  Eat with butter.   They are good cold, but you won’t ever have any left…

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