For the longest time, I did not know the difference between a scone and biscuit. I basically operated under the assumption that “scone” was merely a fancy British term for what we Americans know as biscuits. Finally, I decided to do my research and learned the basic difference between the two is the type of fat used. Scones are made using butter, resulting in a flaky texture, while biscuits are often made with shortening, which makes for a crumbly texture. Furthermore, scones differ from other breads mainly in that baking powder is used as the leavening agent instead of yeast.
Baking trivia aside, the only things I really need to know about these scones are how good, and how easy they are to make. The cheddar makes for a savory flavor, while the buttermilk not only adds richness, but also helps to keep the scone moist. Because we all know more often that not, we have been faced with a dry and brittle taste in our mouths from a poorly made scone that was either over-baked, or overly handled in its dough stage. But don’t let that dry bite discourage you from ever eating scones again – a good scone isn’t just good, it’s great!
Makes 8 large, or 16 small scones
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (cold, cut into small cubes)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
3. Using a pastry cutter (or fork), cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is crumbly. This step can also be done in a food processor with a few pulses.
4. Stir in the cheddar cheese and buttermilk until the dough comes together and leaves the side of the bowl. Dough will be sticky.
5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently pat it down into an 8×8 inch square, 3/4 inch thick. Using a large knife, cut the square into 8 large (or 16 small) triangles. Dust the blade with flour before each cut to prevent sticking.
6. Place scones 1 inch apart onto the baking sheet. Bake at 425 until scones are golden, about 12 – 15 minutes.
7. Wasn’t that easy? Now go eat!