Friday, March 2, 2012

Savory Scones

My husband introduced me to scones about four years ago.  We were in a coffee shop and he recommended a mixed berry scone.  How had I made it 20-some years without trying one before?  Of course, the natural progression (for me) is to go from buying scones to making scones.  And these blueberry scones are  Needless to say, we don't need to buy coffee shop scones anymore.

My cousin Dan recently sent a New York Times article with this recipe for savory scones which I had never heard of but of course, it sounded right up my alley.  I finally got around to making these scones and they were so good! Light and flaky with great flavor and heartiness from the spelt and whole wheat flour.  The caraway seeds and caramelized onions added a lot of flavor, too.  I altered the prep work by using the Cook's Illustrated method of folding the dough several times which adds tons of flaky layers to the scones. We served them with Canadian bacon, scrambled eggs and grapefruit. My husband made his into a scone, bacon and egg sandwich while I preferred the scone separately.

Also, these savory scones shouldn't be limited to just breakfast or brunch.  I later used them as a wonderful addition to a dinner of soup and salad.  Although the original recipe doesn't mention this, unbaked scones typically freeze very well. I have had several of these scones sitting in my freezer and they go straight from the freezer into the oven - no thawing required (just increase the cooking time by a few minutes).  I think that scones are by far the best when they're fresh baked so I'd recommend only baking what you're going to eat right away.

Thanks, Dan!

Savory Scones with Caraway and Caramelized Onions
From: New York Times
Makes 8 scones
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 large red onion, peeled, halved through the root and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • 130 grams (about 1 cup) rye flour (I used 3/4 cup of spelt flour and 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour)
  • 130 grams (about 1 cup) all-purpose flour (I used 3/4 cup of all-purposed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sour cream plus more for brushing (I used plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/3 cup dried currants or chopped raisins (I omitted)
  • Demerara (raw) or granulated sugar, for sprinkling
  • Flaky sea salt, like fleur de sel or Maldon, for sprinkling (optional).
  1. Put the stick of butter in the freezer until solid, at least 45 minutes.
  2. In a large, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the caraway seeds until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the onions to the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until they begin to turn dark brown and somewhat soft, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and a pinch of the fine sea salt; continue cooking until the onions are soft and caramelized, about 5 minutes longer. Cool completely.
  3. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of the fine salt and the caraway seeds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg and honey.
  5. Remove the butter from the freezer. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate about 1/4 of the butter. Gently toss it into the flour mixture. Repeat with the remaining butter, adding about 1/4 at a time.
  6. Stir the wet mixture into the flour-butter mixture. Stir in the onions and currants or raisins. Stir dough until it just comes together (I had to add about 2-4 tablespoons of milk to help the mixture come together).
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into about a 12-inch square.  Fold dough into thirds like a business letter, using bench scraper or metal spatula to release dough if it sticks to countertop. Lift short ends of dough and fold into thirds again to form approximate 4-inch square. Transfer dough to plate lightly dusted with flour and chill in freezer 5 minutes.
  8. Transfer dough to floured work surface and roll into approximate 12-inch square again. Fold dough again into thirds like a business letter, into 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using sharp, floured knife, cut rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. 
    (At this point, you can cook the scones immediately or wrap them in foil, place them in a freezer bag and then put them in the freezer for another day.)
  9. Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet, allowing 1 inch between each scone. Brush the tops of the scones with a little sour cream (optional, I omitted) and sprinkle with sugar and flaky sea salt.
  10. Bake scones until the undersides are golden brown but the tops are still a bit soft, 15 to 17 minutes (see below if cooking from frozen). Cool 5-10 minutes before serving. They are best served warm. 
  11. For frozen scones, place frozen scones on prepared baking sheet, brush with sour cream if desired and sprinkle with sugar and sea salt (if desire).  Baked for about 17-25 minutes.


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