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GRUYERE AND CHIVE SCONES

A person butters a scone with a butter knife

Gruyere and Chive Scones

16 small or 8 large gorgeous scones

1 stick of butter (113 gram). Keep it very cold and cut it into bits - lengthwise into four quarters, then slice across into about 1 cm pieces. After you've cut up the butter, put it back into the fridge to stay cold (or even into the freezer for a few minutes if your kitchen is hot).

Unlike my sweet scone recipe, this one uses buttermilk. And for reasons that I'm sure have to do with the way the fat in heavy cream binds with flour (but I cannot say for certain and apparently I enjoy the mystery more than discovering the facts), you need less buttermilk -- just one cup per batch (as opposed to 1 1/4). Of course you can buy buttermilk, but you can also use this fun trick to make your own (which is what I usually do):

Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of whole milk. Give it a little stir, then let it sit for a few minutes while you get everything else together. When it looks and smells a little yucky, it's perfect.

Now, finely chop 1/4 cup of chives. When the buttermilk is nice and gross, mix the chives in.

Next, dice 4 ounces of Gruyere (or cheddar, or your favorite gooey cheese) into half-inch (or a bit smaller) cubes.  

Ingredients:​

355g all-purpose flour

30g sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Swizzle this around in the food processor.

Directions:

Now break the butter bits into the flour mix, spreading them around fairly equally. Pulse the food processor (in my Cuisinart, it is 11 quick pulses). You are looking for a sort of sandy consistency, with some larger pea-sized buttery crumbs here and there.

Pour the buttermilk and chives into the bowl of the food processor. Give a few quick pulses until the dough ­barely holds together. If you've tried making my sweet scones, you'll probably notice that this one is a bit wetter and stickier (even though you use less buttermilk than cream...very mysterious). You might need to flour your board more generously than you do for sweet scones so that the dough is workable.

Turn this mess out onto a lightly floured board. Knead this gently until it just holds together (not exactly kneading as you would bread dough...more like pressing the loose bits into one cohesive blob). Fold it into itself a couple of times, and then pat it down into a oblong disc (or whatever shape you fancy) about an inch thick.

Now, scatter the diced cheese across the surface of your dough blob, and press down gently. Fold the dough into thirds, then press it down again. If you get the feeling that the cheese still isn't well distributed, fold and press again. The thing is, you want to distribute the cheese but not so thoroughly that you warm up the dough, which needs to be cold if you are going to bake perfect scone.

Cut the dough in half (or not, if you want bigger scones) and flatten with your palms into two discs, about 3/4 inch thick. Pat them on top and sides until you've got nice circles with fairly vertical sides. Cut each disc into 8 triangles (four cuts across the circle). Place these on a baking tray and freeze uncovered.

If you plan to bake these right away, freeze for 10 minutes before baking. If you want to save them for another time, freeze on the baking tray until the scones are good and hard. When they are fully frozen, pop them into a ziplock freezer bag until you are ready to bake them.

Baking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Double up your baking sheet, placing one right inside the other to prevent the bottom from burning before the scone is done inside (or treat yourself to an air bake tray, which is insulated and prevents burning). Bake frozen scones for 14-16 minutes (check after 14, but it's likely they'll need another minute or two), until the tops are slightly golden. Give your scones a little tap on top...they should be slightly soft inside but not mushy.

 

Let these lovelies cool for a few minutes then carefully transfer to a rack to cool a bit more. These are best while still warm enough so that the cheese will be gooey, but if you've done a good job they'll be delicious for a couple of hours.

PS: You can also make these with caramelized onions, letting the onions cool completely before adding them to the buttermilk.

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