My parents came up to visit for Mother’s Day weekend this year. To celebrate Mother’s Day and the love of tea I share with my Mom, we decided to have a full-on tea party! My friend Stacey came over as well, so it was a full house. We even got the menfolk (Dad and Josh) involved! My Dad took some fabulous photos of our tea-party shenanigans, so for this post he will be my guest photographer. Also, his photos are so awesome that I decided to use more than one. This will be the first process post on BeckEverything!
My Mom brought up a huge white box filled with all sorts of tea cookies from Stash Tea. Since she had the sweet portion of our menu well in hand, I focused on something savory but still somewhat traditional. What is more traditional for teatime than the scone? Nothing, I tell you. However, these are no ordinary scones. These scones are stuffed full of all sorts of bacony, cheesy, peppery goodness.
I found this recipe on Ezra Pound Cake via my foodgawker RSS feed. The original recipe recommended 2-3 teaspoons of ground black pepper but, frankly, that amount scared the living daylights out of me. So, I started with 1 teaspoon, stirred it into the flour, and surveyed the spread of little black flecks. I added an additionall 1/2 teaspoon, stirred again, and decided that enough black pepper was incorporated to my taste. It also smelled amazing. If you are a braver (and less sneeze-prone) soul than I, feel free to add the full amount listed in the original recipe. As it was, our scones had just enough black pepper heat to complement the smokey bacon and Cheddar cheese.
I don’t think I have to tell that bacon + cheese = super deliciousness. These scones were substantial yet not dense, with a nice tender crumb and a lot of big bacon and pepper flavor. They were the perfect savory complement to the buffet of sweet things on our tea table. In addition to the cookies, we also had a huge bowl of really delicious fruit salad, provided by Stacey. See the end of this post for more photos of our tea party!
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 stick chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 handful fresh chives, snipped (about two tablespoons snipped chives)
10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into 1-inch pieces
3/4 to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly and studded with flour-butter bits the size of peas.
Stir in the cheese. Add the green onions, bacon and 3/4 cup buttermilk. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. If dough is too dry to hold together, add the remaining buttermilk until the dough can be formed into a ball. Stir as little as possible to ensure a light-textured scone. (I used the full 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk.)
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and pat it into a ball. Using floured hands, flatten the dough into a circle about 8 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 to 10 equal wedges.
Place the scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Whisk the egg and water together in a small bowl. Brush each wedge with the egg wash.
Bake for 20-27 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer sticky in the middle. Serve warm.