Ambitious in a different way

I have never been interested in cooking, nor have I been particularly good - or exciting - at it when I did attempt. I was the girl who brought macaroni-in-a-box to potlucks. I probably would have gone on like this, not-cooking and eating boringly okay things, except that my good friend Daniel has been insisting for a while now that I become a better cook. (I also blame him for my increase in salt consumption.) So my adventures began small: I made fettucine alfredo with home-made sauce, something I made before in Italy, so I knew I could do it. Then I got wildly ambitious with braised artichokes, which against all odds turned out okay. (It helped that mid-way I toned down my ambition, knowing that the gods hate hubris and had already punished me by dropping a cutting board on my toe, and steamed one.)

So it took a few weeks for my next project, as I slowly budgeted in ingredients and necessary cooking supplies - e.g., why did I not have a measuring cup? I accumulated a baking sheet first, then gathered some more ingredients during my weekly trip to the grocery store. It seemed this past long weekend was shaping up to be the perfect time for a cooking project.

I love scones, plain and simple. At college, in the co-op coffee shop located in the basement of my dorm, I would buy my chai latte and usually, if they hadn't already sold out, one of the four-cheese scones from a local bakery. I once interrupted an email to a friend staying in Africa to tell her about the scone I was eating ("seriously, this scone is like the platonic ideal of scone. the telos of scone," may be what I wrote to her), to which she wisely responded that soon I would probably turn into a scone.
All this to say, I am serious about scones. I have sorely missed those cheesy scones. Starbucks provides scones that are perfectly serviceable, but that's not quite enough. I have been thinking about making scones for weeks now, digging up and bookmarking recipes. It was an ambitious goal in a different way than the artichokes: baking is fairly easy as long as you stick to the recipe, but I wasn't. I decided to modify the recipe I was using, partially calculated (oh did I want a cheesy scone) and partially making it up as I went. When all the ingredients were finally in place, after an early-for-the-weekend morning trip to the market, I put on some music and sequestered myself in my tiny kitchen, leaving C.T. to do some editing. It was a pretty lovely way to spend a Saturday morning, all told.

Cheddar Cheese and Chive Scones
Adapted from A Homemade Life

These are pretty easy to make, and if you are like me and enjoy extra cheese on your cheese scones, I recommend sprinkling some parmesan on top. This recipe is also pretty easy to modify, and the original (which was for lemon zest & ginger) in fact encourages experimentation in the flavors.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • chopped chives to accent
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Using your hands, add the butter into the mixture, making sure any leftover butter lumps are about pea-size. Add the flavor ingredients - sugar, cheese, chives, mustard - and whisk to combine into the flour mixture.

Pour the milk into a small bowl and add the egg; beat until blended. Pour into the flour mixture (be sure to leave a splash in the bowl) and stir to combine. Squeeze dough with your hands so it begins to stick together. Turn that and any extra flour onto a cutting board or counter top and knead until it stays together. This won't take long. Make the dough into a circle about an inch thick and cut into wedges.

Put wedges on baking sheet. Use the remaining egg mixture as a glaze, spreading it over the tops of the wedges. Bake for 10-15 minutes: they should be a pale yellow and a knife should come out clean. Cool slightly.

NOTE. Store in airtight container, unless you're storing for more than a day or two, in which case you should freeze them. Bring to room temperature, though they're best warm. (Reheat at about 300°F.)


  1. Haha, thanks, Becca! I need to get more eggs so I can make another batch. Mmmm.

  2. Ok. I *AM* a cook, and think of myself as one :-) and LOVE CHEESE (and scones!!) and have never, EVER encountered a four cheese scone. Clearly, I have been deprived. (And, by the way, no one should ever eat a Starbucks scone. Really. Just not worth the calories. Doritos are better.) So the moral of the story is, I have to make these right away...but I would like more detail on the "four cheese" angle. Please??

  3. Y'know, Paige, I've only encountered them in North Carolina! I really do need to get someone to figure out what is going on with them. Like what other cheeses I need to be putting in my scones. I did eat them all the time, but I can't seem to recall what cheeses were in there.

  4. hmmm..i should try to make vegan scones