It is obvious, both from the size of my ass and the nature of my recent posts, that I am no longer strictly a "South Beach Blogger" ... and I'm ok with that. What started as one thing, morphed into another and there have been some delicious detours along the way.
Every once in a while, though I do like to get back to my roots and "beach-up" a recipe; swapping out an ingredient here, adding some agave nectar there; and just generally trying to make a healthier, yet still very tasty, version of a proven classic.
Only after posting my recipe for basic brown scones during my Irish Foods Week, did I remember that I already have a killer scone recipe! I've had it for years and, of course, its from Gourmet Magazine. First published in the December 1993 issue of Gourmet, these cheddar cornmeal scones are without question the best damn scones I've ever had. Period.
True to form, I've changed a few things over the years, and while my penultimate version is by no means dietetic, it is slightly healthier than the original.
Run, don't walk, to your nearest stove and bake up a batch of these immediately. Actually, double the batch ... they're just that good.
Whole Wheat Cheddar Cornmeal Scones:
original recipe from Gourmet December 1993 found here
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour*
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup, packed, coarsely grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 large egg, separated
- 1/3 cup of milk (I use non-fat)
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- some additional grated cheddar for sprinkling on top of scones
Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F.
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Whisk well to combine.
2. Add the cubed butter and blend in with a fork, or your fingers, until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add 3/4 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese and toss well with your fingers to mix.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, the milk and the agave nectar to combine well. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until a soft dough begins to form. Using your hands, gather the dough together and knead gently - in the bowl - 8 to 10 times, until the dough comes together and begins to feel smooth. Do not over-work the dough.
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and, using your hands, form the dough into an even 6 inch round circle. Using a sharp knife, cut the round into 6 equal wedges. Place the formed scones on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat mat, spaced 2 inches apart. (Alternately, you can lightly grease the cookie sheet if you don't have a Silpat.)
5. Beat the remaining egg white, lightly, and brush the top of each scone with a bit of egg white, then drizzle with some additional grated sharp cheddar. Bake in the middle of a pre-heated 425 degree F oven for 15 to 17 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked throughout. Remove to a wire rack to cool, or serve immediately.
*Alternately, you may use all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat flour, or some combination thereof.
As written this recipe will yield 6 insanely delicious scones.
I don't necessarily suggest you serve them with my cranberry blood orange compound butter ... unless you're an odd duck like me who happens to enjoy unusual flavor combinations. I quite liked the two together, but your mileage may vary.
And, honestly, these scones need no adornment whatsoever. They're moist, tender, and thoroughly delicious all on their own. Use the very best sharp cheddar you can find, I like aged Canadian sharp cheddar, and you'll be rewarded with a richly flavored scone that will blow your mind. Really.
A brief word about the agave nectar ... if you choose to use it, be aware that baked goods made with agave do not store as well as those made with sugar. Keep any leftover scones (though I doubt they'll be many) tightly wrapped and stored in the fridge. If desired, you may use 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar instead of the agave, as per the original recipe.