A joy to make

I don’t think my mom ever made scones when I was a kid. In fact, I’m not sure she’s ever made scones at all. (Mom? Am I right on this?) So I’m not exactly certain where my love affair with scones was born. That first scone, who made it? Where did I eat it? What kind was it?

Oh, you know what? I bet I know where my first scones came from: the coffee shops! I’d go to a coffee shop to write and sometimes I’d buy one of those super-sized triangular heart attacks-waiting-to-happen to go with my café con leche. So if that’s truly where I first learned about scones, then that means I’ve only been eating scones for a handful of years. No more than ten, that’s for sure.

I fell hard for the glorious scone once I learned how easy they were to make. (And homemade a soooo much better than those store-bought lumps of dough.) They’re faster and easier than muffins even, since there are no individual muffin cups to grease or fussy muffin wrappers to mess with. And the dough freezes beautifully, either in disk form, or already cut—simply take out however many wedges you want to bake and pop them in the oven for a super-fast breakfast treat or a snack for a surprise (and lucky) visitor.

I’ve already written about white chocolate-dried cherry scones and ginger cream scones (very classy), and just less than two weeks ago I gave you a recipe for a simple cream scone, and now I’m here today with another scone for you to enjoy—this time a bacon and date scone (with Parmesan cheese, my addition) from the latest Bon Appetit.

These scones were a joy to make. They were a little more involved (dates to chop, bacon to fry), but it was so worth it. I made the dough one day and then popped out of bed early the next morning, all eager-beaver to get down to the kitchen and bake myself up some sweet and salty heartiness to go with my coffee.

My favorite part of the whole process (besides the eating, of course) was brushing the tops of the unbaked scones with bacon grease and then sprinkling them with demerara sugar. It was a real thrill, I tell you. It made me giddy.

I made half the scones with cheese and half without. The with-cheese ones were the winners, but the cheese-less ones were plenty good, too. A friend suggested serving these scones with a blue cheese spread which I did not do because I had no blue cheese, but I think her idea is a most marvelous one indeed. (Or maybe add the blue cheese to the dough in place of the Parmesan, yes?)

The kids were not fans of these scones, but my husband was. He took two with him to work every day while they lasted. Which wasn’t very long.

Bacon and Date Scones with Parmesan Cheese
Adapted from the March 2011 issue of Bon Appetit

I tried something new this time around, something I’ve read about many times. But not until this recipe prompted me did I actually try it: I briefly froze the stick of butter and then grated it like cheese. It worked like a charm.

I just hopped over to epicurious to see what folks had to say about these (the two reviewers both raved), and one suggested adding pecans to the dough. Ooo, yes!

10 ounces bacon, chopped
2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup dried dates, chopped
1 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
demerara sugar, for topping

Fry the bacon till cooked through but not crispy. Drain on napkins or paper towels. Reserve the grease.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Grate in the butter (see head note) and then add the buttermilk. Use a fork to mix it all together. Stir in the dates, bacon, and cheese. Briefly knead the dough with your hands till it all comes together in a shaggy mass. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into an 8-inch disk. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to a couple days. (Go here for instructions on how to freeze scones before baking.)

To bake: cut each disk into eight pieces and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Brush the tops with the reserved bacon grease and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake the scones at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Yield: 16 scones

This same time, years previous: dark chocolate cake with coconut milk


  • Camille

    I *love* the idea of freezing the butter and grating it…how cool is that? (No pun intended…LOL!)

    Scones are wonderful, aren't they?

  • Margo

    oh my GORSH. They sound PERFECT. FAB. I have to make these! I will get the same thrill, I just know it, brushing bacon grease on top.

    I think of scones as kind of sweet biscuits. Usually I make raisin cinnamon ones (yawn, compared to yours) and we eat them with lemon curd.

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