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1. I do not have much of a sweet tooth, and I have no patience for making my own bread. Leaving dough to rise for two hours? Uhh… no. Which is probably why my bread never works.
2. I get bored sitting there for ages waiting for something to bake. I’d rather be there stirring it, rather than just twiddling my fingers. I suppose I could go away and do something useful, but then I just forget that I have something in the oven, and it all ends in disaster. So, no.
3. I can never resist opening the oven door too soon (it’s like telling someone ‘do not push this big red button’), which invariably means that my cakes sink. Seriously, every time. There are lots of people who could confirm this.
However, sometimes a recipe just looks too good for me to resist. Like this recipe from Southern Belle as an Army Wife – there was no way I wasn’t going to make these scones.
Cheese… chives… garlic… these are like my perfect food. And they taste as good as they sound. And they look as good as they taste.
I get a lot of my cooking inspiration from the Internet and other food blogs (and not forgetting Pinterest, my favourite timewaster) – but the problem is that the majority of recipes I find are written by Americans. I know that the majority of the readers of my blog are American, and I love you and everything, but… well, your recipe system is really silly. Why is everything measured in cups? If I measure a cup of grated cheese, do I have to push it down at all, or does the cup include all the dead space too? I’m sure that once you get the hang of it it’s fine, but really, why can’t you all just buy weighing scales?
Anyway, the reason for this sudden complaint about American recipes is that this particular recipe included buttermilk, an ingredient that I see mentioned in a lot of American recipes. While I think this is available somewhere in the UK, I have no idea where, and I couldn’t get it at my local supermarket, even though it’s a pretty big one. So I decided to improvise with a mixture of sour cream and milk. Considering I am far from being an experienced baker, it worked surprisingly well! My Googling skills have saved me once again.
Yes, that is a Roses tin. Well done.
When you dollop the raw scone mix onto the baking tray, you want to get it looking as jagged as possible, because these knobbly bits are the bits that end up nice and crispy. The dough should be pretty thick and sticky, so it’s not hard to poke it around until it looks nice and rough. You want it to look a bit like this:
If you want to use the original, American recipe, you can find it here, but I did make a few adjustments. For example, the recipe says to bake your scones at 450°F. I found that this was far too hot, because the middles were not yet cooked by the time the outside was crispy. They cooked far more evenly at a lower temperature. I also added some chives, and obviously used sour cream and milk instead of buttermilk.
300g plain flour 3tsp baking powder 2tsp garlic granules 2tsp veg stock powder or bouillon granules (I used a finely crumbled veg stock cube) 120g cold butter, cut into cubes 100g cheddar cheese, grated 2tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped 2 1/2 heaped tbsp sour cream 150ml semi-skimmed milk + an extra dash if needed For the garlic butter: 1tbsp butter, melted 1/2tsp garlic granules
Preheat the oven to 180°C (Gas Mark 4 / 350°F).
Mix together the flour, baking powder, garlic granules and stock powder. With the tips of your fingers, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the grated cheese and the finely chopped chives, and mix well.
In a mug or measuring jug, mix the sour cream and milk together until smooth, with no lumps.
Make a well in the centre of your flour mixture, and add the liquid. With a wooden spoon, gradually stir it into the mixture until a fairly sticky dough is formed. If the dough seems too dry, add a dash more milk (I needed around another 50ml).
Line a baking tray with baking paper, and use two spoons to scoop the dough into heaps (mine made 8 scones). Leave a couple of inches in between each heap to allow for slight expansion during cooking. The more irregular the shapes of your scones, the better, as these parts will go crispy – use a spoon to add some crevices if needed.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, add 1/2tsp garlic granules to 1tbsp melted butter. After 10-15 minutes (when the pointy bits of the scones are just beginning to brown), remove the scones from the oven, brush them with the garlic butter, and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Once out of the oven, leave to cool for a few minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack for a further 10-15 minutes.