Isn't winter in Sydney glorious? Recent rain aside, there's something lovely about this time of year's crisp, sunny days and chilly evenings.
We Sydneysiders, who live in a warm climate for a solid 7 months of the year, don't take this frosty, snuggle-up weather for granted. This really shows itself in the food we enjoy over the winter period. Soups and stews, fragrant curries, shepherds pie…rich, hearty fare that we largely do away with in the stifling summer.
Baked treats all but disappear from my repertoire in summer. But June through August my oven gets a regular workout. Mostly sweet things like muffins and biscuits. The occasional cake if my children are nice to me.
But what about savoury baking? It often gets forgotten for the showier, sugary treats. But not today. If you're looking for something you can make in a flash, with ingredients we tend to always have on hand, will please everyone in your life whether they're sweet tooths or savoury lovers, look no further than cheese scones.
They're a cinch to make, I promise and guaranteed to secure you invites to every picnic!
3 cups self raising flour* - I used half white, half wholewheat
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
70g butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cups Cheese - I used a mixture of vintage cheddar and gruyere
1 cup cold milk
¼ cup extra cheese for top - I used parmesan
Preheat the oven to 220C° / 200°c (fan forced).
Measure the dry ingredients - the flour, salt and cayenne pepper - into a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients together - I use a whisk for this, as it not only combines the ingredients well but essentially sifts them as well.
Add the cold cubes of butter to the dry ingredients and use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour. This will take a couple of minutes, and the end result is the mixture will have the texture of breadcrumbs. (The tiny bits of evenly distributed butter is what makes scones so good).
When the butter has been combined well add your cheese to the mixture and mix it through with a wooden spoon.
Pour in the cold milk and fold the scone dough together gently with a wooden spoon until it just starts to come together. Don't overmix!
Tip the scone dough out onto your work surface and fold it over itself a few times, incorporating any of the dry bits. Don’t knead it as that will make the scones tough. The folding is important - it's what helps the scones rise with those light, flakey layers.
Shape the dough roughly into a rectangle, about 20cm by 10cm. It doesn’t need to be exact. Cut the dough into 8 wedges or squares.
Transfer the scone dough onto a lined baking tray - place them nestled close together on the tray. Use a pastry brush to brush milk over the tops of the scones and top with the extra cheese.
Place the scones into oven for 20-25 minutes or until the scones have puffed up and turned golden brown.
Let the scones cool fully on the baking tray before serving.
Serve on their own, with butter, or even with sandwich fillings like ham and relish. They're delicious as a side for a cosy bowl of soup, or as a breakfast sandwich with egg, avocado, grilled tomato, haloumi, mushrooms or bacon
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You can add all kinds of morsels to the scone dough - add them when adding the cheese, Try some of the following:
Pitted and sliced olives
Diced, cooked bacon
Antipasto like capsicum or mushrooms
*No self raising flour? Just use 3 cups plain flour and 6 tsp baking powder.