This is a special day.
Christina Marsigliese is baking something savoury on Form V Artisan. This is about the first time I've baked something not-so-sweet on this blog. I suppose these Orange Herbed Shortbread come pretty close, though.
Keeping with the theme of unbelievable Ontario peaches and my current obsession with peach jam.....a recipe for scones is definitely in order. This isn't the first time I've made scones. I whipped up a batch of Strawberry Ginger Honey Scones back when I made Fresh Strawberry Jam. I think I'm seeing a trend here...
I have something I need to get off my chest first. It's about the difference between scones and biscuits. The line between them is obviously blurred because after reading many, many scone and biscuit recipes over the years, it seems as though the titles are used interchangeably.
I'm going to change that today! Yes I am. Are you still interested? Do you even care? Or, are you more concerned with eating them? Right. Ok, I'll just get to the point.
Here's where they're similar: Scones and biscuits are types of quick breads that use baking powder as a leavening agent....just like muffins do.
Here's where they're different:
Scones can be round, triangular, square or rectangular.
Biscuits are mostly round. Shame.
Scones are typically sweeter than biscuits and come with all sorts of sweet or savoury accessories, such as raisins, cranberries, currants, cheese, herbs, chocolate, berries, nuts and dates.
Biscuits are less embellished and less flavourful. Double shame.
Scones are most definitely made with butter and an egg.
Biscuits are sometimes made with shortening or lard. Or, they are made solely with cream or buttermilk, ditching the solid fat all together.
A key point to making these as dreamy as you anticipate: lay off the dough! Do not over work the dough. Once you stir in the cream, be gentle with it. If you knead and squeeze, you will make the dough tough. You know gluten, right? Gluten is a composite molecule formed from a network of the proteins glutenin and gliadin found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Upon hydration, kneading and mixing, gluten molecules cross-link and elongate to contribute structure, strength, elasticity, cohesiveness and chewiness to baked goods. This is why he's not your friend when you're making scones. Yes, gluten is a "he", and "he" should be avoided in this recipe.
Another point - keep that butter cold! Cold butter creates pockets of steam in the dough when they hit the high heat of the oven. Pockets of steam = tenderness.
These Rosemary Cheddar Scones have a crisp, toasty exterior with a tender, light and fluffy interior. They are packed with flavour and are fab when eaten warm from the oven. But....wait for it....they are just as darn good the next day! No kidding. Most of the time scones are only worth the effort if they're going to be consumed immediately. But, no, not these. Store them in an air-tight container and put them in a toaster oven and it's like you've gone back in time to when they were a mere 5 minutes old, all warm and steaming. Aww...how cute.
One last thing, for this recipe I make Rosemary Peach Jam to serve with the scones.
Wait a second...
Did I just say Rosemary Peach Jam? Yes. Yes, I did. Rosemary and peaches are lovely together. Make it and you'll see why... Just follow this recipe for Spiced Peach Jam, except replace the spices with a 3-inch sprig of fresh rosemary. That's all folks.