Cheddar and Chive Scones

This is a great “standard” scone, a benchmark for savoury scones, in fact. It’s ideal for lunch with a bowl of soup or as a hearty snack during the day. What’s more, there are easy variations. If you can’t get any chives, use parsley, or sage or dried herbs. The cheddar can also be replaced by many hard cheeses; Red Leicester is especially good.

Makes: 10 – 12

Time: 50 minutes or a bit less if you exclude such chores as grating the cheese.

Level: Easy

Equipment: 2 baking trays; a 6cm round cutter

Ingredients

  • 450g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g butter, cubed (or try replacing half with cream cheese)
  • 50g chives, cut small (or parsley etc.)
  • 225g strong cheese (Cheddar, Red Leicester) – grated
  • 125ml milk or buttermilk*
  • 125ml water
  • ½ an egg, lightly beaten

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/425F/Gas 7. Grease and lightly flour the baking trays, or put a piece of baking paper on them and dust lightly with flour..

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. (N.B. You can pulse the mixture in a food processor. Some people prefer this as it reduces the chances of the gluten in the flour being activated by warm hands.)

3. Mix in the chives and 175g of the cheese. Reserve the rest to top the scones, later.

4. Add the milk and water and mix to make a soft dough.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it briefly and lightly then bring it to a roundish, flat shape about 3cm thick. (You can roll it instead, but it tends to squash the dough somewhat.)

6. Without twisting the cutter, press out as many scones as you can and place them well apart on the prepared baking trays. Gently fold together any leftover dough, keeping the “reworking” to a minimum, and press out more scones. ( Dip the cutter into flour regularly.)

7. Brush some beaten egg over the top of each scone, trying to avoid it dribbling down the sides. Sprinkle a little of the reserved cheese onto each scone and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until golden and/or there is a clear hollow sound when you tap them underneath.

8. Place scones on a wire rack to cool fully, or eat them soon, while still fairly hot – they’re so nice it’s probably worth.

* NB to replicate buttermilk add 1 tsp of lemon juice to the milk and leave for five minutes then stir and use.