Last Saturday I actually baked something fabulous. This was a very big deal. I never bake anything fabulous. Maybe decent. Maybe tasty-but-ugly. But never fabulous. At least, I never think of it that way. This is partly because of my over-arching perfectionism. I’m no pastry chef but I always expect to bake like one. Last week saw a good couple of disasters in the kitchen, which is why I haven’t posted much of anything lately. I bungled a lemon yogurt cake and some cupcakes I made ended up largely in the garbage.
I had been thinking about making Ina Garten’s recipe for Cheddar-dill scones for ages. I’d been wanting to bake something savory, something different from what I ordinarily bake. The thing is, I’m generally not a fan of scones. The handful of times I’ve bought one at a coffee shop I was disappointed. They were so dry and crumbly that I needed a huge cup of tea to wash them down with, and they were often stale. Ina Garten, I reasoned, would not let me down. Almost everything I have made from the two recipe books of hers that I own has turned out wonderfully. The one caveat is that I think she often uses an excessive amount of fat. This recipe, for example, calls for a cup of heavy cream. I substituted the cream with buttermilk, not sure what the result would be, but take my word for it–the scones were amazing. I couldn’t stop eating them. In fact, I gobbled down six of them while they were still warm. Six! Granted I halved the recipe and made small scones–my stab at portion control–but still …
Needless to say, I spent a very long time on the treadmill the next day.
Ina Garten’s Cheddar-Dill Scones
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Makes 16 large scones
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 pound sharp yellow Cheddar cheese
1 cup minced fresh dill
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
coarse sea salt
1) Preheat oven to 400F. Combine the flour, the baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with a pastry blender until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.
2) Toss together the Cheddar and dill with 1 tablespoon of the flour mixture in a separate bowl.
3) Mix the eggs and buttermilk and quickly add to the flour mixture. Combine until just blended. Incorporate the Cheddar and dill.
4) Dump the dough on a well-floured surface and knead for 1 minute, adding more flour if needed, to prevent sticking. Roll the dough into a 3/4 inch thick square. Cut into four squares and then in half to make triangles.
5) Brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle each scone with the coarse salt. Bake on a sheet lined with parchment paper for 20-25 minutes until crusty and golden.