Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Best Damn Scones in the Land


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.

Bon appetite!

22 comments:

Astra Libris said...

Wow, the best scones ever? Coming from you, Diva, who's opinion I completely trust, this is very high praise indeed - and truly, I must run and fix these immediately! (especially since I adore scones...:-)

Megan said...

I just made some crackers with cheddar and cayenne... I could imagine those flavors would be just fabulous in a scone!

Mo Diva said...

I just devoured a corn muffin that was okay until i read this post. goodness gracious do i love a good scone. I love an even better scone with CHEESE!
Seriously, where do u live? Im coming over

The Diva on a Diet said...

Astra - yes, seriously, the best scones ever. And, bonus, they're so easy to make! I think you'd love them. :)

Megan - cheddar and cayenne is such a great combination. Its a classic. I should do some crackers too. I hope you'll post about them!

Mo Diva - upper west side baby, c'mon up! LOL

♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ said...

I love it when you say that this scones will "blow your mind" so coming from you, it must be a must try.
I like having scones for breakfast either on the go or enjoying it bite by bite at the breakfast nook.

Deb Schiff said...

Neat, Diva!
Note about baking/storing agave-sweetened items -- they freeze well. Just wrap 'em tight in plastic and bag them in freezer ziplocks. Thaw at room temperature prior to serving.
Can't wait to try these!

Laura said...

Hmmmm I don't USUALLY care for scones but if someone is ditching beach food for these I might just try them.

Hugs!! Thanks for the Just Another Meatless Monday link up, did you add your extra entry for the Le Creuset? I'll go make sure!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Skip to Malou - I agree, they do make a fine snack and a welcome addition to any breakfast. I had one this morning, in fact. :)

Deb - good point about freezing and defrosting. Thank you! I hope you enjoy them! :)

Laura - what?! Don't care for scones?!? I suppose I can see that, if you've had dry, bland scones in the past. But these are more like a really yummy, cheesy biscuit. I think you'll dig them. :)

I need to check back and see if I entered your give-away or not ... I can't remember! LOL

pixelgal said...

Dearest Deev;
You DO exaggerate and for your readers' benefit it ISN'T that big!
Still I LOLled for quite awhile after reading your opening line. Remember, summer's coming and beaching it will be lots easier than spending snowy, dreary days inside. So not to worry about a little dalliance with the dark side. These sound really good and worth a try.

Mary said...

That does it! I'm hanging out with you. These look wonderful and I value your opinion. I take my coffee black but will drink tea if the company is interesting :-).

Janet said...

Yum, these sound great! I want one now!

Molly said...

did you say cheddar? thanks for the tip on the agave!

Wilma said...

Auntie, Mom was reading this recipe and said she might try her hand at them. For the record, I don't even know the size of your butt. You smell good, give really great pets,have a very comfortable lap and I love you just the way you are. So I don't think butts matter.

Sook said...

Those scones do look amazing!

Heavenly Housewife said...

They look wonderful! Aren't they so delicious when they are hot out of the oven? Divine!
Please check out my new blog, its had a major makeover. I'd love to know what you think. Also, please enter my Amazon competition.
*kisses* HH

Veriance said...

Those look amazing! I can imagine the wonderful texture...may have to get superman cooking them this weekend!

stephchows said...

LOL you always have me laughing :) the scones sound great! I'll take two please :D

Tangled Noodle said...

Loved your brown scones from Irish Foods Week but I can not resist something chock full o' cheese! The texture of muffins, pancakes, etc. from cornmeal is a personal fave, so these are going to the top of my 'to-make' list!

5 Star Foodie said...

Those scones look terrific! I would totally love them with that awesome compound butter!

Fresh Local and Best said...

I am going to have to try these scones. Interesting to see whole wheat flour and corn meal. It looks and sounds incredible.

gfe--gluten free easily said...

ROFL from your opening comments! Now I've never made scones ever, but wanted to make some for our May support group meeting tea. These look like the ones to convert to gluten free, Diva!

Shirley

Deb said...

I'm sitting here sated from your hot from the oven scone recipe - I couldn't resist making them once I saw this post while catching up on you and yours. Can I just say fabulous!! Cheesy hot moist goodness - I ate mine with a bit of raspberry preserve - even the DH liked them and he is not a fan of the scone.

Hope all is well with you, hope to see you in the fall
Deb