BACON CHEDDAR SCONES
A few weeks ago, the hubby and I took a weekend trip to Boise. He spent seven of his 13 years playing semi-pro hockey for the Idaho Steelheads, where they retired his jersey last year. Having many friends there and loving the city, we always plan a visit after the hockey season comes to an end for the Spokane Chiefs, which he coaches.
My foodie self is always excited to explore the dining scene and eat – and drink – my way through the weekend. For Sunday brunch, we checked out Bacon. It’s a casual bistro that serves brunch all day and offers flights (served in shot glasses) of their five types of bacon.
With their bacon-studded mac and cheese voted Best in the U.S. by Food & Wine Magazine, a bacon burger made with more bacon than beef and their tasty bacon lasagna featured on Travel Channel’s “Bacon Paradise,” this place is truly a bacon lover’s dream. (Whew! I’ve never said “bacon” so much in my life.)
While in line to order (they do counter service, with food delivered to your table), I tried a sample of their bacon scones. One scrumptious bite had me sold on ordering a few for our table and even some to take back home – yes, they were that good – but I was sadly informed that they had sold out.
After returning home, I still had a hankering for those scones and hunted down a recipe to make them myself. Your usual pantry staples – flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and cayenne – are combined with bacon drippings and cold butter until crumbly.
Cheddar cheese, chives and fresh bacon bits are then tossed in, followed by heavy cream, which pulls everything together as a cohesive shaggy dough. It’s then shaped into a disk and cut into wedges. After a brush of cream and sprinkle of more chives and bacon, the scones head to the oven to bake to golden perfection.
To ensure that your scones aren’t dry and dense, be sure your butter is very cold (you can even freeze it and grate it directly into the flour), and avoid overworking the dough. After the dough is shaped and cut, you can cover and refrigerate them overnight and bake them in the morning. You can bake them from frozen, too. Just adjust your baking time for a few minutes longer.
With the irresistible flavors of bacon and cheese, these savory scones are fluffy and flakey, with lightly crisp edges and a tender crumb. They’re great for breakfast on the go, split and filled with scrambled eggs for brunch, and even pair well with soup or salad.
BACON CHEDDAR SCONES
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons bacon drippings, cooled
5 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1 cup very coarsely grated or diced cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons snipped fresh chives, divided
12 ounces bacon, cooked, cooled, and crumbled, divided
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream or enough to make the dough cohesive
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and cayenne. Stir in the bacon drippings, then cut the butter into the mixture with your fingers or pastry blender until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.
Mix in the cheese, 2 tablespoons of chives, and all but 1/4 cup of the bacon (reserve for topping) until evenly distributed.
Stir in 3/4 cup of the cream until just combined, and squeeze the dough to see if it comes together. The dough should be shaggy, but if it’s still too crumbly
add a teaspoon of cream at a time until a cohesive dough forms. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured work surface and pat into a smooth 7” disk about 3/4” thick.
Transfer the disk to the prepared baking sheet. Cut the disk into 8 wedges. Space wedges 1/2” apart, then brush them with a bit of cream and sprinkle on remaining chives and bacon.
Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, until they're golden brown. Let cool directly on baking sheet, about 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.
Adapted from kingarthurflour.com