Callie’s Cabin: Recipe for savory scones for wintry Tahoe weather
The cold and snowy winter season is here. It’s time to fill up on hearty and warm comfort foods. Think home baked scones.
I remember one winter storm in 1983 when I lived in the Santa Cruz mountains. In a house overlooking the San Lorenzo River, my concerns of the raging water rising was happening in my unused gourmet kitchen — not baking scones. As a student at San Francisco State University, one night our final exam for a science class was canceled due to severe flooding and a power outage — the lights were out. On the way home, food for me was hot cheese and herb pizza slices at the local pizza spot. Baking wasn’t in my vocabulary.
But these days in the heavy Sierra snowstorm, baking a batch of scones chock-full of herbs is a feat I did accomplish, and is well worth the effort. The scone is a popular British bread that is quick to make. A savory scone like a cheese kind (cake flour gives it a light texture) is perfect paired with scrambled eggs, a bowl of chili or simply with a pot of tea. A dropped scone is quicker to make than other varieties, has a nice rustic look, and it tastes just as good, if not better than the perfect circle shape. And the Mediterranean touch I like to use comes from using European style butter (creamy and rich) with sea salt — and keeping the portion smaller than larger.
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup European style butter, cold small cubes
1 cup buttermilk
1 brown egg
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chives, fresh, chopped
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, mix flour, sugar and baking powder. Add chunks of butter (sliced in small squares). Set aside. In another bowl, combine milk, egg and cheddar cheese. Fold in onion and chives. Stir ‘till a dough-like mixture forms. Drop ½ cup spoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake ‘till light golden brown and crusty, about 12 to 14 minutes. Cool. Serve warm. Makes 10-12.
The first scone I tasted was a petite vanilla one at Starbucks. Later on when I entered the world of scones I discovered savory types were tasty, too. To enhance a warm scone for breakfast, lunch or dinner, try herb butter (just a small amount). Mix a teaspoon of real butter with a dash of fresh basil and parsley. Or try drizzling the scone with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
This weekend when the sun shines again, I will bake sweeter triangle shaped scones with apples and walnuts with a maple glaze, and circle shaped scones infused with currents and dried apricots. Scones are a great way to bring in the new year with good food, less sweets and good vibes for the best and worst of times (during a historical California winter storm), with respect to Charles Dickens.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.