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How to make delicious cheese and herb scones?

How to Make Delicious Cheese and Herb Scones

Scones are a beloved treat in many parts of the world, often enjoyed with tea or coffee. Cheese and herb scones take this classic baked good to the next level with savory flavors that pair perfectly with soups, salads, or as a standalone snack. This recipe will guide you through making tender, flaky cheese and herb scones that will impress your family and friends.

Introduction

Cheese and herb scones are a delightful twist on traditional scones, offering a savory alternative to the usual sweet versions. The combination of sharp cheddar cheese and fresh herbs creates a mouthwatering flavor profile that’s hard to resist. These scones are perfect for brunch, picnics, or any time you want a delicious homemade treat. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to make these scones from scratch, providing tips and answering common questions along the way.

Ingredients

Before you start, gather all the necessary ingredients. This ensures you have everything on hand and makes the baking process smoother.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, chives, or thyme)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Optional Toppings

  • Extra shredded cheese
  • Fresh herbs for garnish

Instructions

Step 1: Preheat the Oven and Prepare Baking Sheet

Start by preheating your oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. This prevents the scones from sticking and ensures even baking.

Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Whisk these dry ingredients together to ensure they are evenly distributed.

Step 3: Cut in the Butter

Add the cold, cubed butter to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. The key to flaky scones is keeping the butter cold, so work quickly to avoid melting it with your hands.

Step 4: Add Cheese and Herbs

Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese and chopped fresh herbs. Mix until the cheese and herbs are evenly distributed throughout the flour mixture.

Step 5: Combine Wet Ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the lightly beaten egg. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well.

Step 6: Form the Dough

Gently mix the wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Be careful not to overwork the dough, as this can make the scones tough. The dough should be slightly sticky but manageable.

Step 7: Shape the Scones

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat it into a circle about 1 inch thick. Use a knife or a bench scraper to cut the circle into 8 wedges. For a more traditional round scone shape, use a round biscuit cutter instead.

Step 8: Bake the Scones

Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet, leaving space between each one. Brush the tops with a little buttermilk for a golden finish. If desired, sprinkle extra cheese and herbs on top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the scones to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving.

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Tips for Perfect Cheese and Herb Scones

Keep Your Ingredients Cold

Cold butter is essential for flaky scones. If your kitchen is particularly warm, consider chilling your flour and mixing bowl in the freezer for a few minutes before starting.

Don’t Overmix the Dough

Mix the dough just until it comes together. Overmixing can lead to tough scones. The dough should be slightly sticky but manageable.

Use Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs provide a more vibrant flavor compared to dried herbs. If you need to substitute dried herbs, use about a third of the amount called for in the recipe, as dried herbs are more concentrated.

Try Different Cheese Varieties

While sharp cheddar is a classic choice, feel free to experiment with other types of cheese such as Gruyère, Parmesan, or even blue cheese for a different flavor profile.

Brush with Buttermilk

Brushing the tops of the scones with buttermilk before baking gives them a beautiful golden color and a slightly crisp top.

FAQs

Can I Make These Scones Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can prepare the dough ahead of time and freeze it. Shape the scones, place them on a baking sheet, and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen scones to a zip-top bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the baking time.

Can I Use a Different Type of Flour?

All-purpose flour is recommended for the best texture. However, you can use whole wheat flour for a heartier scone. If using whole wheat flour, you may need to add a bit more buttermilk to achieve the right dough consistency.

What Other Herbs Can I Use?

Feel free to experiment with different herbs. Rosemary, basil, dill, or even sage can be great additions. Mix and match to find your favorite combination.

How Should I Store Leftover Scones?

Store leftover scones in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat in a 350°F (175°C) oven for about 10 minutes.

Can I Make Gluten-Free Cheese and Herb Scones?

Yes, you can make these scones gluten-free by using a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend. Ensure that all other ingredients are gluten-free as well.

Can I Substitute the Buttermilk?

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to 3/4 cup of milk. Let it sit for a few minutes until it thickens slightly.

What Can I Serve with Cheese and Herb Scones?

These scones pair wonderfully with a variety of dishes. Serve them with soups, stews, or salads. They also make a great addition to a brunch spread alongside scrambled eggs, bacon, and fresh fruit.

Conclusion

Cheese and herb scones are a versatile and delicious addition to any meal. With their savory flavor and tender, flaky texture, they are sure to become a favorite in your baking repertoire. By following these steps and tips, you’ll be able to create perfect scones every time. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs and cheeses to find your unique twist on this classic recipe. Enjoy your homemade scones warm from the oven, and savor the delightful combination of cheese and fresh herbs.