Blue Cheese Buttermilk Scones

I'm putting it out there now, cheese should be baked into more things. If I ever win the lottery I'm opening a bakery and a cheese mongers next door to each other so I can skip between the smell of bread baking and cheddar maturing all day long.

I'm easily pleased by carbohydrates and cheese. These scones are the best and I absolutely insist you eat them warm from the oven with butter and a spoonful of caramelised balsamic onions. Using buttermilk makes them perfectly tender and crumbly. I would definitely make these for a brunch that included a pile of crispy bacon and a cafetiere full of strong coffee. 

I got up at 6am to make these. Not because I awoke with a sudden onset craving for blue cheese scones but because with the ever decreasing daylight hours it's getting harder to take a decent photograph of my bakes. As Winter looms I'm confined to baking early in the morning or at the weekend. I'm not really complaining, just lamenting about lack of sunlight along with my inability to take a decent picture at 8pm at night. I love food photography. I have wasted many an evening on Foodgawker and Tastespotting. It completely fascinates me the way some people love football or fashion, my great love in life is food and taking pictures of it. 

I arrived home today to a massive box of goodies. I sold some bits on eBay and used the money to fund my crafty Christmas plans. I've been taking a short printmaking course at the local college and I've fallen in love with lino printing so I've invested in some basic kit to carry on my new found hobby at home. 

The bake off ends on BBC 2 next week, as does my printing class so I need an extra hobby to continue into the long dark nights. The Fred Aldous website is a wonder (and a curse) for art and craft supplies and they ship quickly too. Come Saturday morning I'll be set up at the dining table painting away with a plate full of cheesy scones to keep me happy.

Blue Cheese Buttermilk Scones

280g plain flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
45g unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
35g vegetable shortening (such as Trex), cold and cut into cubes
60g blue cheese, crumbled
150ml buttermilk

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  
  2. Add cold butter and shortening.  With your fingers, quickly rub the fats into the dry ingredients until it resembles bread crumbs.  Toss in the blue cheese and stir to incorporate.
  3. Create a small well in the center of the flour mixture.  Add buttermilk all at once.  With a fork, quickly bring together the wet and dry ingredients.  The dough will be rather shaggy.  Pour the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Knead dough about 10 times, bringing it together into a disk.  Wrap dough in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from the fridge.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 3/4 or 1-inch thickness.  Use a round cookie cutter (or a glass tumbler, if, like me, you lost your round cookie cutter) to cut out scones.  Dip the cutter in flour to stop it sticking. Lightly dust a baking tray with flour, brush the tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Re-roll the excess dough and keep cutting out scones until you run out of dough.
  5. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until the scones are golden brown and cooked through.
  6. To make a balsamic onion filling, caramelise 1 onion with a teaspoon of butter and towards the end of cooking add in 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (to taste). It goes perfectly with the tangyness of the blue cheese.