The new school year is upon us, and although many students eat at school as part of AISD's Breakfast in the Classroom initiative, plenty of families are scrambling to serve something other than scrambled eggs.
These ham and cheese scone recipe takes the essential elements of a breakfast sandwich, minus the egg, and combines them into one scone that's a breeze to eat on the go. Adjust the add-ins to your liking — cooked and crumbled breakfast sausage could swap in for the ham, for instance, or Gruyere cheese instead of Cheddar — and enjoy them all week long. You could also make a double batch and then freeze the scones. Just leave one or two out on the counter to thaw overnight, and breakfast will be ready in the morning.
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Ham Scones with Cheddar and Scallions
When we first opened the bakery, we offered up traditional Southern ham biscuits: baked biscuits sliced in half and layered with country ham and pepper jelly. They became too popular too fast and we couldn’t keep up with the demand. To save prep time and get these out front by the time we opened in the mornings, we instead started mixing all the ingredients together into the dough. These fluffy scones sport generous chunks of country ham, gooey pockets of melted Cheddar and spicy chopped scallions. They’re a special treat for our customers because we only sell them on the weekends.
— Brian Noyes and Nevin Martell
A soft touch is required with this dough, so use your hands—not an electric mixer.
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
2 1/2teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed, plus 2 tablespoons, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped (1-inch pieces) country ham (about 1/2 pound)
8 scallions, sliced into 1/4-inch-wide pieces
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Line a portion of your work surface with newspaper and set a raised wire rack on top.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut the chilled cubed butter into the flour mixture with your fingers, two knives or a pastry blender (not a mixer) until broken down into pea-sized pieces. Pour the buttermilk into the dry mixture all at once and, using a wooden spoon, fold in the buttermilk as quickly and as gently as possible. Add the ham, scallions and cheese and gently mix until completely incorporated. Flour your hands and reach into the bowl and under the dough and combine, flipping it around. Mix it up as gently as possible without being too tough on the dough. The dough will be sticky, but manageable. Add more flour if needed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, working lightly, use your hands to pat the dough into a roughly 8-inch-by-10-inch rectangle about 3/4-inch thick.
Dip a 3-inch biscuit cutter into flour and cut as many scones as you can from the dough, pressing straight down with the cutter each time (don’t twist the cutter or the scones won’t rise as well). Reroll the scraps as needed. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the pan after 7 minutes, until the tops are light golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons melted butter with a pinch of salt. Transfer the scones to the wire rack and brush their tops with the salted melted butter. The scones will keep in a tightly sealed plastic bag at room temperature for up to a day, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Makes 12 scones.
— From "Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America's Favorite Rural Bakery" by Brian Noyes and Nevin Martell (Clarkson Potter, $25)