Cheese and chive scones. Freshly baked, warm from the oven, fluffy scones, flavoured with mature cheddar cheese and a subtle hint of chives.
Lashings of butter on a warm, cheesy scone.
You knows it’s the right thing to do.
I’m thinking of creating a special section in my recipe index page.
I just can’t decide whether to call it Carbs with Cheese.
Or Cheese with Carbs.
What do you think?
Apparently, I love the marriage of these two food groups together. What? Cheese is a food group…
A couple of weeks ago, I shocked myself when I idly counted up the number of different cheeses stashed in our fridge and freezer.
Um… Do I have to?
I don’t even know…
I’m certainly not a cheese connoisseur (yep – had to look up how to spell that one!) I used to work near a very fancy cheese shop, but I was always far too intimidated to go in…
Is it just me? Please tell me I’m not the only one who hates walking into a store when the only people in there are staff? I always feel like they are going to pounce on me…
Okay, so generally, I hate walking into stores anyway. Unless it’s for food, shopping isn’t my thing…
Yeah, it’s just me, isn’t it…
Hi, my name is Justine and I’m both a cheese lover and a carb lover.
When you put these two things together? – that’s my idea of a good party!
There is just something about the magical combination of melted, gooey cheese and starchy bread / potatoes / fill in the carb of your choice.
Put simply – they just work!
I’m not fussy – I love a warm, melty cheese and mushroom filled panini. A rich, melt in the mouth spoonful of layered garlic cheesy potatoes. A creamy, rib-sticking plateful of pasta, scattered with parmesan.
Hmm, now I’m hungry…
Although I love trying out new cheeses, I do have a cherished favourite you’ll always find a stash of in my fridge.
Strong, mature, sharp, aged, farmhouse – whatever your particular naming preference, a good chunk of cheddar is a versatile, go-to ingredient that transforms many a dish from yeah-that’s-nice, to gimme-all-the-food-now!
In this recipe, mature cheddar cheese is combined with the subtle hint-of-onion flavouring of freshly snipped chives, all wrapped up in a flaky on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside, savoury scone.
The recipe is simplicity itself. To make a light, soft, fluffy scone, I find it’s best to keep the dough cool, and handle it as gently (and as little) as possible. I use chilled or even frozen butter which I grate in advance on a box grater and then return to the freezer until I’m ready to use it. This helps the fat to rub into the flour evenly (and quickly) and also keeps the dough cool until it hits the heat of the oven.
Because the oven temperature is pretty high, and the baking time relatively short, the scones will rise quickly. A sharp, straight-down cut, made using a smooth edged cutter will help the sides to rise evenly (although some variation is to be expected – homemade beats store-bought any day!)
Brushing egg wash or even just a little milk on the tops of the scones will give a lovely, glossy golden tint to them. Just remember – don’t let any run down the sides, you don’t want to impede the scones rising!
I’ve found the easiest way of checking to see if the scones are fully baked, is to simply break or cut one open and see if any doughiness remains inside. If there is, return to the oven for another couple of minutes, covering with foil to prevent over-browning if necessary.
Allow these cheese and chive scones to cool a little, then break open, slather with butter, put your feet up, and enjoy! By the way – you get extra bonus points if it’s pouring with rain outside and there’s a good film on tv to while away the afternoon…
- 1 and ½ cups (175g) plain (all purpose) flour
- 1 and ⅓ cups (175g) white bread flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon milk (I use whole)
- 2 teaspoons vinegar (Iemon juice can also be used)
- ⅓ cup + ½ tablespoon (85g) salted butter, frozen and grated
- ¾ cup (75g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 and ½ tablespoons chives, finely snipped
- ½ an egg, whisked with a little milk (or just use milk!)
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7 (425F degrees). Place a large baking sheet (no liner) on the lower oven shelf to heat up.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the two flours, baking powder, bicarb, sugar and salt.
- In a jug, stir together the milk and vinegar, then set aside (adding an acid such as vinegar, or lemon juice to milk creates a homemade buttermilk substitute).
- If you haven't already, grate the frozen butter. Using a pastry blade or table knife, cut the cold grated butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the grated cheese and finely snipped chives.
- Make a well in the centre of the bowl, and add the milk/vinegar mixture. Using the table knife again, combine together until a dough forms (if it seems too dry, add a splash more milk, a little at a time).
- Flour your hands and work surface, and tip the dough out on to it. Knead very lightly (only until the ball of dough comes together - for best results try not to handle the dough any more than necessary) then gently press into a round, 3cm (1 inch) deep.
- Using an 8cm (3-inch) smooth edged cutter, cut out rounds by sharply pushing the cutter straight into the dough without twisting (this will help the scones to rise more evenly). Repeat, reworking the dough when necessary until you have all eight scones cut out.
- Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven (don't forget oven gloves!) and place the scones, evenly spaced, on to it. Brush the scones (tops only, not sides) with the egg wash or milk, and bake for 15-18 mins or until golden brown, well risen and cooked all the way through (cover with foil if the tops are browning too quickly).
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Scones are best eaten fresh on the day, warm from the oven, with lots of butter. Otherwise, freeze on the day of making and use within one month (place defrosted scones in a warm oven for a few minutes to refresh them).
Scone recipe adapted from BBC Good Food Classic Scones.