Monday, April 9, 2012

Basil, Bacon, & Walnut Scones

As this past weekend was Easter, I have no doubt that you, like me, ate far too much. Then sat on the couch for awhile and chatted. And then went back for another slice of pie....

But now, it's back to the weekday drudge. Ham sandwiches are made for lugging to work tomorrow, and the chocolate bunny's lower half is safely hidden from prying spouses. 

To make up for the missing top half of his bunny, I suggest you make breakfast. Scones, to be precise. Perfect for wrapping up and eating later in the office. He'll never even remember that there used to be 4 Cadbury creme eggs and not 2.....

Start with the bacon. Make a few extra pieces. I'm sure they'll get eaten.

It's just thick cut bacon, black pepper and a sprinkling of brown sugar. Rub in the sugar so it's all spread out.

After 10 to 15 minutes in the oven, voila!

Since the oven is on, toss in a 1/4 c. of walnuts. Let them get all roasty toasty.

Now, get your flour out. You'll need 2 cups, in a large bowl. But, to make the scones all light and flaky, take out 4 tbsp of that flour. 

Replace those 4 tbsp with 4 tbsp of corn starch... and now you have cake flour!

 Magic, huh?

Now for the rest of the drys - sugar, baking powder, and salt

And then mix up the wets -buttermilk, milk, and eggs. Whisk it good.

Chop up some basil. A good tablespoon or two. I just bought a basil plant, you know. I'm still working on the mozzarella plant. 

Chop up the nuts and the bacon too. 

 Now, get that butter out of the fridge and chop it up into chunks. Toss it into the drys. Rub the butter bits between your fingers until it's all blended in together.

Then add the wets in one big pour. Combine in 10 strokes or less. 

And then all that goodness goes in. Yum!

It's gonna be pretty sticky. You can dump a fair amount of flour on your counter and knead the dough 5 times or so. Then transfer all that dough to a cookie sheet (not lined or oiled or anything). 

Take a butter knife and cut the dough into 8 pie pieces. It doesn't seem like you're doing any good, but trust me. After you bake it, you can see the cuts.


Now just run your knife down where you see the lines.

Serve with fruit salad.

Basil, Bacon, & Walnut Scones
Makes 8 scones
Adapted from Mark Bittman

5 slices thick cut bacon
1 tsp fresh coarse ground black pepper
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 c. walnuts
2 c. minus 4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp cold butter
2 eggs
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. milk
1 tbsp thinly cut basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay the bacon on a rack on a covered sheet pan (the pan with low sides). Sprinkle with black pepper and brown sugar. Pat it on so the bacon is covered evenly. Bake for 10-15 minutes until browned. Allow to cool. 

Once the bacon is out of the oven, toss the walnuts on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Allow to toast for 5-7 minutes until you can smell them. Let them cool. 

Bump the oven up to 450 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the 2 c. minus 4 tbsp of flour with the corn starch, baking powder, salt, and sugar. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, milk, and eggs. 

Take the butter out of the fridge and chop it into small pieces. Add the butter to the flour mixture, and work it in with your fingers (or blitz in a food processor) until it looks like sand. Add the milk mixture in one pour and combine in 10 strokes or less. Chop up the bacon into small bite-sized pieces and chop the nuts into small bits. Add the bacon, nuts, and basil to the large bowl. Combine in a few swift strokes. 

Flour your clean counter with several tablespoons of flour. The dough will be sticky, but knead it 5 to 10 times. Ball up the dough and transfer it to a ungreased baking sheet. Pat it out into a large circle, 1 1/2  inches high. Using a butter knife, score the circle into 8 wedges. Slide into the oven. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

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