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Cheese and Bacon Scones



I don't think I have ever met a scone that I did not fall in love with. Sweet or savoury, they all hit the spot with me.  People tend to think that scones and biscuits are the same thing, which is not exactly true, although they may seem very similar in texture and taste.  And that is not to confuse British biscuits (which are cookies) with North American Biscuits (which are a type of quick bread similar to a scone!)  Are you confused yet? 


A biscuit is not a scone people and a scone is not a biscuit.  The two are definitely not interchangeable!  To be sure, they are composed of basically the same things  . . .  fat, leavener, dairy and flour . . .  but the very way that they are put together generally results in a somewhat different animal altogether.  Biscuits tend to be light and airy, with almost visibly defined, flaky layers.  A scone, on the other hand, whilst also light and somewhat airy, has an almost crumbly texture.  When you are making a good biscuit, the fat is "Cut" into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until the mixture has lumps of fat in it the size of small peas.  Fat in a scone is "Rubbed" in with your fingertips, in an almost snapping motion, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. 

See, two different creations entirely . . . and both can have various amounts of sugar in them, or no sugar in them, and can come in  sweet and savoury versions. 


Now lets talk about Bacon.  Who doesn't love Bacon (barring all vegetarians.)  I don't know any meat lover that doesn't wax poetic about a lovely piece of bacon.  Before I moved here to the UK, I only knew one kind of bacon, and that was . . .  well . . . bacon.  Oh, and Canadian bacon, which was quite nice and meaty.  Since moving over here I discovered that there are all kinds of bacon.  First there is smoked and non-smoked.  Then there is dry cured and wet cured.  Bacon over here mostly looked like the kind you see in the bottom of the above photo, which is kind of like Canadian bacon with a leg of streaky bacon attached.  Streaky bacon is the type that I had grown up with for the most part, like you see in the upper right hand photo.  Fattier.  And then there was rind on and rind off.  I have never come to enjoy it with the rind on.  I don't like bacon rinds.  So I always buy it rind removed, dry cured and depending on what I am using it for either smoked or non-smoked, and they are now bringing in nitrate free cured bacon, which is good news for us who want to avoid nitrates. 


Cheese.  Before  moving to the UK, the most adventurous I got with cheese was having sliced Havarti on a sandwich, or treating us to a small block of marble cheese if we were having company, or, yes  . . .   a piece of  Kraft Cracker Barrel Cheese at Christmas.  We did use smelly-sock (Parmesan) from the green can (I put my hand up) on our spaghetti, but that was the whole extent of my cheese usage.  I was a cheese virgin so to speak.  Living in the UK has been a wonderful education to me of all the wonderful cheeses that are available here in the UK, and indeed Europe altogether.  It has been an education and a journey I have greatly enjoyed.  My husband will tell you (and he is a Brit through and through) that there is no cheese worth eating except for Cheddar. He is a huge fan and was very disappointed when we were on the continent and couldn't find good old cheddar cheese in the shops there.  Never mind, when I do a cheese tray, he happily helps himself to all the cheeses, but lets just say that a good strong cheddar is his favourite.  And I have to agree that a good strong cheddar, slightly crumbly and sharp flavoured, is a thing of beautiful taste to be sure.



So what do you get when you combine the three of those things?  A good strong cheddar.  Some crisp streaky dry cured smoked bacon.  And a good scone?


Well, you get another thing of beauty . . .  Cheese and Bacon Scones. Crunchy on the outside and so soft and flaky on the insides . . . all buttery and stogged full of strong cheddar cheese and . . . lovely salty, smoky bacon.  Perfect for serving with soups, salads, or even just hot and buttered with a nice hot cuppa on a leisurely afternoon.


*Cheese and Bacon Scones*
Makes 15 to 20, depending on how big you cut them
 

Scrumdiddlyumpitiously savoury.  Perfect with some sliced ham or cheese, or both.  You can vary the spiciness of them by adjusting the amount of cayenne used. 


490g  plain flour (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 level tsp of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp salt
2 TBS cold butter, cubed
4 ounces bacon, grilled and finely chopped with a sharp knife, or
in the food processor
115g strong cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup)
1 medium free range egg
375ml of sour milk or buttermilk (1 2/3 cup) 



Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.  Dust a large baking sheet lightly with flour.  Set aside.

Sift the flour, soda, cayenne pepper and salt into a large bowl.  Drop in the butter and then rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine dry bread crumbs.  Stir in the bacon and cheese.

Whisk together the egg and milk.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet.  Mix to a soft dough with your hand by running it around the bowl.  Try not to knead it as this will develop the gluten which will toughen the scones.  Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  (The dough will be quite sticky) Pat out with floured hands until you get a square 3/4 inch thick. Using a pizza cutter, cut it into 15 to 20 squares.  (Alternately you can cut them out with a sharp knife or a 2 inch round cutter)  Place onto the floured baking sheet leaving about 2 inches between each.

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes until well risen and golden brown.  Allow to cool on a wire rack.



I apologise for my photos today.  Its been very overcast with snow flurries and the lighting is very poor.  Don't let that stop you from enjoying these delicious crisp and moreish little breads. They are so, so, sooooo good. I could feast on a plate filled with nothing  more than a couple of these, with maybe some jam on the side, or chutney.  Surprisingly they do go great with jam and butter.  Its that old sweet and salty thing I guess!  A tasty way to begin the month of March! Bon Appetit! 


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Marie Rayner
10 Comments
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10 comments:

  1. When I was growing up I remember an Aunt and Uncle that would go visit relatives in Canada.. come back with big rolls of bologna and Canadian bacon..so good. They would come here and just talk French. I would just smile and nod my head.. had no idea what they were saying. Lol. I knew alittle French.. they talked to fast. Lol.
    I remember one year an uncle was giving all the kids a dollar bill.. I was to shy.. didn't get mine.. never forgot it.xo

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    1. Oh, another thing I miss Jan. Bologna. All Beef Bologna. Something else you can't get here in the UK. Its funny the things you miss when you can't get them anymore! I think all foreign languages sound really fast! Spanish in particular! xo

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  2. Its early here,, 6:40 am and you have me now wanting to eat scones, I have everything ready to make these, lol,, are you a good influence or bad lol,, I say the best influence lol, YUMMO!!

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    1. I like to think I am more good than bad Laurie, lol You are sure to love these! xo

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  3. I cooked extra bacon yesterdya:) Not much..these look wow!

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    1. How uncanny Monique! Now you have a perfect excuse to use it up! You will love these scones, even a tiny bit of bacon would work! xo

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  4. They look scrumptious. Consider this one printed out. So, I always buy extra large eggs. Should I add a bit more flour or a bit less milk?

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    1. I would add a little less milk Jeanie! Just until you get the right consistency of dough! You are sure to love these! Xo

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  5. These look delightful, Marie, as does your book! I must get a copy!

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    1. Thanks very much Colette! I hope you enjoy the scones! And I am thrilled you are interested in my book! It’s been a real labour of love for me! I am still pinching myself! Xo

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