Cheese scones always seem like cold-weather food to me. I think it’s because I associate them with lashings of butter and homemade vegetable soup – the perfect lunch for a cold day, especially if you’ve been out for a walk.
The scones are perfect to make ahead and keep in the freezer to produce when you have guests and you’re short of inspiration for a quick lunch. Once again I seem to be thinking about Christmas in November and filling the freezer with food for the onslaught.
What I should really be thinking about is defrosting the freezer so that I can get a bit more in. I’ve been quite good at eating up some of the food in there recently, so there’s a bit more room, but every grocery order is filling it up again. And I do like to have most of my Christmas cooking done ahead of time so it’s like giving with one hand and taking away with the other – or the reverse, or maybe a different metaphor?
The problem is that defrosting the freezer looms as a time-consuming and difficult job. Only one of those things is true, but the longer I leave it the worse it gets – in every way. In my head, this is a day-long chore that involves lots of physical effort and very cold fingers. I’m pretty sure I’ve worked out the optimum way to do it on a number of occasions, but I leave it so long that I forget. This time I’ll write down what I do and how long it takes so, hopefully, it will seem less daunting next time.
Back to cheese scones. I like some spice in mine, so I add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli powder. I tend to only keep cayenne in my spice cupboard because I don’t use enough hot spices for both, and chilli spice is often a mix of cayenne and other spices. If you aren’t sure, leave it out! I also add mustard powder. You could use some ready-made if that’s what you have. I’d probably mix it with the milk to make sure it’s dispersed well.
Wholemeal or white? I like half-and-half, but there was a time when I would make cheese scones with 100% wholemeal flour and they are very nice. Just add another teaspoon of baking powder to the mix so that they rise.
Either way, you get a plate of delicious scones just waiting for some butter.
- 120 g strong Cheddar cheese , divided
- 1 large egg
- 150 ml milk
- 125 g wholewheat flour
- 125 g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon 5ml baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (2.5ml)
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder (5ml)
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 50 g butter
- Set the oven to 230°C/ 210°C fan/ gas mark 8/ 450°F
- Grease the baking tray with a little butter or use a liner (which you don’t need to grease)
- Sift a little flour onto your worktop or rolling out mat
- Grate the cheese
- Put the egg in a measuring jug and make up the amount to 160ml with milk. Beat with a fork until mixed in
To make the cheese scones:
- Put all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix them together well(Both flours, baking powder, salt, mustard powder, cayenne)
- Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertipsTo rub in, have your palms up and move your thumbs over fingers from the little fingers inwards
- Add the grated cheese, leaving about 20g out for the topping, and stir in
- Add the milk/egg mix and combine to make a smooth dough. Using your hands is easiest
- Transfer the dough to the floured surface and either roll out or pat with your hand to make a level top, about 2cm thick
- Cut out the scones and move to the baking sheet. Pull the remaining dough together and repeat until all the dough is used
- Brush the tops of the scones with milk and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese
- Cook for 15 minutes until golden.
- Cheese scones are best eaten on the day they are made, but will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container in the fridge. Refresh in the oven for 4-5 minutes or the toaster for a minute
- They freeze well for up to a month