Baking in the New Year

cheese_scone_IMG_1302_690pxWhat are your plans for upping your cooking game in 2016? Is there a specific dish you’d like to perfect? A technique you’d like to master? A culinary style you’d like to try?

This year, my cooking resolution is to master the art of scones or biscuits. For me, the terms are interchangeable. Because of our genealogy, our family is heavily influenced by England, Scotland, and Ireland. For my husband, that’s nearly all of his genetic makeup. For me, that’s nearly half with my other half being Scandinavian. So, we tend to call them scones.

There are two possible pronunciations of the word scone: the first rhymes with gone and the second rhymes with tone. In US English, the pronunciation rhyming with tone is more common. In British English, the two pronunciations traditionally have different regional and class associations, with the first pronunciation associated with the north of England and the northern working class, while the second is associated with the south and the middle class.

However you pronounce it, I feel a strong genetic tug to make scones, which I have ignored for far too long.

You have to admit that there’s just nothing like a fresh baked biscuit with breakfast or dinner, and what would biscuits and gravy be without biscuits? So, in the coming months, you can expect some scone recipes to appear in the blog. I hope that excites you as much as it excites me.

Scones or biscuits are a great way to get fresh bread into your camp menu. They are relatively easy to make without all the fuss of yeast bread. They can easily be made by hand, requiring no fancy equipment.

And, everyone loves a good biscuit. While a plain biscuit is hugely popular, you can also pack them with all kinds of goodies from cheeses to meats to fruits. Depending on what else you are serving, your scone can be savory or sweet.

I decided to start with a savory, cheese scone. This is a great recipe and you can subtly alter the flavor of the scone by the type of cheese you choose to use. From sharp Cheddar to Parmesan to Swiss to Gorgonzola, choose your favorite cheese and try making a scone with it. This would be a great scone to serve with breakfast or dinner. Can you imagine serving a hot and hearty stew with a warm, cheesy scone? Yum!

Equipment
Mixing bowl, clean work surface (cutting board, tabletop), pastry cutter, a fork for mixing, measuring cups and spoons, a Dutch oven or a box oven.

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
⅓ cup unsalted butter, chilled
⅓ cup milk
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water for glaze (optional)

Prep
Preheat your oven or start your coals. Lightly butter the center of a baking sheet or the Dutch oven.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the cheese. Cut the butter into little cubes and distribute them over the flour mixture. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

cheese_scone_IMG_1300_690px

In a small bowl, stir together the milk and 2 eggs. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined (a fork works well for this). At some point, the fork will become useless, so you might as well just pick it up with your hands and mush it together into a ball, sponging up all the little dry bits with the dough ball.

Shape into a disc with your hands, then spread the dough into an 8-inch diameter circle in the center of the prepared baking sheet or Dutch oven. (The first time I made them, I actually got a ruler and measured; now I just eyeball it using my hand.) If desired, brush the egg mixture over the top of the dough. Cut into 8 wedges.

Using a home oven, Dutch oven, or box oven, bake at 400°F for 15-17 minutes or until the top is lightly brown (emphasis on lightly), and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Try not to overcook it. If you overcook a scone, it dries out and starts to become a brick.

This post has been shared at Homestead Bloggers Network. If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

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Categories: Dutch Oven, Recipes, Sides | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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