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Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I am fond of lunch and dinner too, but it’s the morning meal that I can’t live without. I think it’s because I am not a morning person.  Mornings are a challenge, so having a few minutes to wake up while enjoying a small meal is essential. I also absolutely adore the smell of a fresh pot of coffee.  The warm feeling invoked by the  aroma is so completely enveloping that I can’t help but feel the embrace.  That said, I am not a coffee drinker. I do, however, love, love, love a steamy mug of tea. Perhaps that explains my affection for scones.  Tea and scones are natural companions.  And they happen to make a delicious breakfast. I have been on kind of a biscuits-for-breakfast kick lately, but my new friend and fellow blogger Valerie has an appreciation for scones that got me thinking about them.

By the way, Valerie wrote about the anatomy of a meatloaf. Did you know that meatloaf had an anatomy? Well, it does. And her recipe for Teriyaki Meatloaf is pure comfort food.

Back to scones.  I am a usually sweet scone kind of gal–the more gooey icing on top, the better. I make an apple scone with cinnamon icing, fairly often. Sweet and yummy–like a slice of apple pie. But lately I’ve been feeling a bit more savory.  I played around a bit with savory components in a basic scone.  The results were palatable, but nothing  worth repeating.  Then for whatever reason, I got to thinking of how people used to serve apple pie with a wedge of cheddar cheese. Sweet and savory!  Cheddar-Apple Scones were born.

In case you were wondering, the practice of serving fruit with cheese dates back to ancient times, when it was believed to aid in digestion.  Just a little food dork trivia for ya.

I think I actually got all of the ingredients in the photo this time.  This may never happen again. Here’s what you’ll need:

3 C. all-purpose flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. granulated sugar

½ C. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

1 ½ C. sharp cheddar, grated

1 C. peeled, diced apple (1/4″ dice)

1 C. 2% milk + 1 tsp. white vinegar

1 egg

2 Tbs. water

As always, start by preheating the oven–this time to 400 degrees F.

Add vinegar to the milk, and set aside.  You are making sour milk, which will keep the scones moist and yummy.  Dried out scones can ruin your morning.

In a large bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

Give the dry ingredients a spin with a whisk to aerate and incorporate. No sifting here!

Cold butter is key to light and fluffy scones.  The colder the temperature, the longer it takes for the butter to melt during baking, which results in a lighter, flakier texture. I leave the butter in the fridge until the minute that I need to add it to the recipe. Start by cutting the cold butter into 1 inch chunks.

Add the cold butter chunks to the flour mixture, and toss the flour around it to coat. Roll up your sleeves, and grab a pastry cutter/blender.

Cut butter with the pastry blender until the butter is the size of small peas. These bitty butter bits are the fundamental basis for a light textured scone.

Stir in shredded cheddar and apple pieces. I highly recommend freshly grating the cheese rather than using the pre-shredded cheese from a package. The pre-shredded cheese is coated with cornstarch or other anticaking agent, which keeps it from melting properly in baked goods.  You’ll end up with crunchy twigs of cheese with the pre-shreds–blech!

Add the sour milk, and stir gently until the dough just comes together. Like, barely. (It will be sticky.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Turn the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle a bit of flour on your hands, and lightly pat the dough into an 8 inch circle.

Dip a knife in flour and carefully score the dough into 8 wedges.  You will be cutting most of the way through the dough, but not entirely through to the bottom.  Seriously–be careful. It’s a real bummer to cut through your pricey silicone mat. If your are unsure, save yourself the heartache, and use parchment paper. But whatever you do, do not separate the wedges.

Beat the egg and water together to form an egg wash. Gently brush the egg wash over top of the dough, with a pastry brush. Or a new, unused paint brush. Use anything but the brush you use to put barbecue sauce on anything, or else your scones will have a slight barbecue taste. Don’t ask me how I know that.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.

Cut scones into wedges, following the scored marks you made prior to baking.  Be sure to have a steaming mug of chai and small plate conveniently waiting for a warm scone to call it’s own.

Cheddar-Apple Scones

http://comfortablydomestic.com

Makes 8 large scones

3 C. all-purpose flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. granulated sugar

½ C. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

1 ½ C. sharp cheddar, grated

1 C. peeled, diced apples

1 C. 2% milk + 1 tsp. white vinegar

1 egg

2 Tbs. water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  1. Add vinegar to the milk, and set aside.  You are making sour milk.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  3. Cut butter into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter, until the butter is the size of peas.
  4. Stir in shredded cheddar and apple pieces.
  5. Add the sour milk, and stir gently until dough just comes together. (It will be sticky.)
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  7. Turn dough onto the prepared baking sheet.  Lightly pat the dough into an 8 inch circle.
  8. Dip a knife in flour and carefully score the dough into 8 wedges.  You will be cutting most of the way through the dough, but not entirely through to the bottom.  Do not separate the wedges.

10.  Beat the egg and water together to form an egg wash.

11.  Gently brush the egg wash over top of the dough.

12.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

13.  Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.

14.  Before, serving, cut scones into wedges, following the scored marks made prior to baking.

 

 

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