Friday, August 1, 2008


There isn't much I dislike about retirement except perhaps that you don't see good friends as often as you used to. Of course, that can always be remedied by "doing lunch." I have to say that lunch is probably my favorite thing about retirement. It doesn't much matter what I'm eating. It's the fact that I'm eating it at a leisurely pace without frantic phone calls or knocks on my closed door. It's also about taking more than four and a half minutes to actually eat it. What's all this got to do with scones? Hey, I'm retired. Let me tell the story in my own way.

Last week I saw a wonderful segment of the Barefoot Contessa. Though I've watched Food TV for a long time, I fnd I've been watching it less often as some of the new "stars" just don't float my boat. This segment was "Ladies Who Lunch" and I immediately determined to replicate most of the menu. I've made scones before, but haven't always liked the consistency of the dough. These scones were savory--cheddar dill, to be specific. Although I hunted through several kitchen stores while we were on our Adirondack weekend, I could find no square biscuit/cookie cutters. When I saw the nonstick scone pan, I decided to buy it and am I ever glad I did. I was able to make the scones in the early morning, put them in the pan (I froze half the dough for later use as the recipe yields 16 large scones), and refrigerate them until just before lunch.

While I still have no sense of smell or taste--3 weeks and it's near killing me--my friends G and P prounounced them delicious. I can attest to the wonderful feel of them. They're flaky, moist, and feel creamy on the tongue. I wish I were better at photography. The women were patient while I took photos of each dish. The rest of the lunch consisted of carrot salad, chicken salad, and blueberry crisp. Come back tomorrow for another of the recipes.
Here are my friends P and G getting ready to enjoy lunch (while I snap away).

Cheddar Dill Scones - Yield 16 large scones
4 cups plus 1 tbs. all purpose flour
2 tbs baking powder
2 tsp salt
3/4 lb unsalted butter, diced
4 extra large eggs
1 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 lb sharp cheddar, shredded
1 cup minced fresh dill
1 egg beaten with 1 tbs milk for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a scone pan with nonstick spray OR preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet.

Combine the 4 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt and place in the bowl of a a stand up mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Mix the eggs and heavy cream together and quickly add them to the flour and butter mixture, combining just until blended (don't overwork the dough). Toss the cheddar and dill with the 1 tbs flour, then add them to the dough and mix until they are almost incorporated.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for exactly one minute. Pat the dough to a 3/4 inch thickness.

IF USING A SCONE PAN: divide dough into 16 pieces; gently pat a piece into each section of the scone pan and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Scone pans hold 8 scones, so either bake in 2 batches or freeze half the dough for later use.

IF USING A BAKING SHEET: use square cutters to cut dough into 8 squares; divide each in half on the diagonal and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Use 2 baking sheets OR bake half and freeze the other half of the dough.

When Larry tried a scone at dinner, he declared that they would make a great breakfast sandwich with a fried egg and some bacon. I'm inclined to think he's right AND I still have another batch of dough in the freezer.

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