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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jalapeño-cheddar scones

Most people will be surprised to see this recipe on this blog.  I think it's because most people forget that baking can be savory, too.  I've made this recipe a few times before, and it's always a big hit.  They have great jalapeño flavor without being too spicy (I think to increase the heat you can add extra jalapeños or sautee them briefly (or not at all) to increase the heat factor, though I haven't tried either of those yet).  I choose to cut mine into little circle scones instead of the typical wedge-shaped scone.  I also make them mini (by now, you shouldn't be shocked).  Why mini scones, you might ask?  The answer is simple - I like to serve them as an appetizer, straight out of the oven (while most sweet scones can be served room temperature, these are really the best straight out of the oven, as the cheese is still soft and melty).  And I think they'll be perfect for my superbowl party this weekend (while I am not a football fan, I am rooting for the home team, so here is my shameless bias: GO GIANTS!).

Since I have an extensive menu planned (again, not a huge shocker here), I figured I'd try and start a few days early.  I made the scones tonight and the put them in the freezer.  They can be baked straight from the freezer, too - all you need to do is add an extra minute or two.  Just be sure to put the egg wash on after you take them out of the freezer (translation: don't freeze them with the egg wash on them).  I made a double batch so that I could give some to my parents to take to the super bowl party that they're going to.

But of course I had to test them out tonight, you know, just to make sure they're OK ;-)

After I cut out all the circles, I refolded the dough and cut out more.
Not wanting to be wasteful, I used the scraps from the second round
and just made a few wedges to bake up tonight.

And my little taste tester (minus the egg wash, since I wasn't making an entire egg wash tonight just to glaze this little guy and his few "tester" buddies):

Jalapeño-Cheddar Scones (from SmittenKitchen.com)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, divided
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, diced - I always use white cheddar, although i'm not completely sure why.  I've also thought about trying monterey jack or pepper jack cheese, but I always stop myself, because why fix something that doesn't need fixing?
2 small jalapeño peppers, minced

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a small skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter and sauté the jalapeños in it until soft. Let them cool, then mix them with the cheddar cheese in a small bowl and coat them with one tablespoon of the flour.

Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and salt. Cut in the remaining butter with a pastry blender, fork or two knives, until the butter bits are pea sized.

Lightly whip two of the eggs and cream and add to the flour-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together. Add the cheddar-jalapeño mixture to the dough and mix until everything is well-mixed.

Put the dough on a well-floured surface and gently knead it till it comes together well (less than one minute). Pat dough out to a 3/4- to 1-inch thickness and either cut into 8 triangles or the shape of your choice with a biscuit cutter. Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush the scones with egg wash and place on a parchment-lined (or well-oiled) baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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