Breakfasts tend to be so much easier than dinner. Everything about it is different, the food is more casual and so are the people. Our guests wander into the kitchen looking for coffee all morning long. Once they fill their cups, they tend to hang out to chat and watch the proceedings. We've actually ordered some stools (which may never arrive, but that's another story) so that people can be comfortable while they're spending time with us. Everything just seems more mellow and the pickiest eaters in the world seem easier to please first thing in the morning. Of course, the pickiest eater in the world happens to be my husband so when something especially pleases him, I know it's a keeper. This morning we did savory scones so that we could use them at breakfast for our guests and brunch for our hunters. Scones are a staple here at the guest house because they are a relatively quick pastry that smells wonderful and can be eaten almost straight out of the oven by our earliest rising guests. I have a thing about fresh pastry in the mornings. Occasionally I'll bake something the night before but only for the hunters because they have to leave so early in the morning. We just can't do dinner at night and turn around to be back here at 4:00am to start breakfast. 6:00am is as good as it gets for the occasional early riser, but my usual arrival time is 6:30am so that the scones are ready by 7am. Coffee cakes are a benefit for late risers who prefer their breakfast at 8am or later and muffins are a close call but can be finished by just after 7am. Actually though, the scones are usually the big winner and today's are no exception.
3 cups AP flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (2 teaspoons baking powder)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (1/2 teaspoon baking soda)
1/4 teaspoon fines sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
12 grinds of white pepper
1/2 cup cold butter, diced in 1/4 inch chunks
1 cup cold buttermilk (I use low fat)
1 cup diced (1/2 inch chunks) cheese (I used cocoa rubbed dry jack)
1 jalapeno finely diced (seeds and membrane to taste, I removed them for the guests)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees or 350 degrees for convection
Measurements for baking powder and soda are for high altitude. Sea level bakers use the amount in
Depending on the strength and flavor of your cheese, you may substitute up to 50% of the flour for corn or whole grain or you may choose to use brown sugars instead of white sugar, black or cayenne pepper instead of white, chipolte pepper instead of jalapeno, etc.
In the bowl of a food processor combine flour, sugar, baking powder & soda, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times to blend. Add butter and pulse 3-5 times to blend. Add buttermilk and pulse to a coarse crumb. Turn out of processor and sprinkle with with cheese and chile. Using a bench scraper, fold the mixture together to blend, then separate into two piles. Shape each pile into a six inch round and press together. Cut into sixths for smaller scones or quarters for larger scones and lay out on a baking sheet. Scones may fall apart a bit because of the large chunks of cheese, if that happens, just press them back together. Bake 7 minutes and rotate 180 degrees. Bake 7 minutes more or to the desired level of brownness. If you use a cheese that tends to burn easily, lower your oven temperature by 25 degrees and bake 2-3 minutes longer.