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Seattle has not heard about the warming trend happening everywhere else in the country, or is choosing to stand alone against Spring; instead, we are going backwards into the depths of winter. (Or so it seems.) When I walked the dog this morning, the crocuses were struggling to bloom through the frost-covered grass and the apple blossoms were being blown away by the fierce, cold wind. This camper was not happy. A stubborn Pollyanna disciple, I chose to find the positive in the chilly, gray situation: more nights to have soup for dinner. Soup is good, better than sun, soup is good, soup is good… or something like that. Anyway, on the dinner table tonight is a favorite: kale, tomatoes, Italian sausage and white beans in some lovely homemade chicken stock made by my wonderful husband. It’s fairly similar to this soup and I make it often because it’s one of two ways R will happily eat kale (the other involves bacon) and the Italian kale (is this the same as broccoli rabe, I wonder? it looks the same) was gorgeous at the farmers’ market yesterday. The man selling it was so proud that he had brushed off the snow by hand to keep it growing, so I couldn’t pass it by. Soup is good, soup is good…

R is not feeling well today, so I decided to make a treat to go with the soup. Since making almond-poppy seed scones a few weeks back, I’ve been wanting to play with other flavor combinations, especially savory ones. I also noticed how different my scone recipe is from others that I saw, recommended by friends or on blogs I read, and wanted to compare and contrast the various ratios of flour to butter (the most obvious difference). Because the kale soup we’re having for dinner has a primarily Italian flavor profile, I decided to use complimentary ingredients; and so, my first savory scones have parmesan cheese, goat cheese and basil, with lots of cracked black pepper.

They are GOOD.

I used this recipe as a guide for dry-to-wet ratios but otherwise went out on my own. The scones are fluffier than my almond-poppy seed ones, though that could be explained by size, since I chose to make 8, not 12, from the same amount of dough. The bottom crust is reminiscent of a Cheez-it, in the best possible way, and the basil adds a light but refreshing herbal flavor. Parmesan is definitely the star, which is fine by me. These have no butter at all in the recipe, which means you can put as much as you want on the warmed or toasted scones. A keeper recipe, for certain.

Cheese & Basil Scones

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • roughly 4 T. fresh basil*, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. + 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cracked black pepper, fresh-ground if you can
  • 5 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 1/2 oz. grated parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a cookie or sheet pan by covering it with parchment paper or a silicone liner, if you can, or by greasing.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the milk, egg and basil; set aside to allow the basil to slightly perfume the milk, at least 15 mins. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt & pepper. Add the parmesan cheese and mix through, then use a fork to mash/mix in the goat cheese until it is uniformly distributed; it’s okay to have some lumps showing, as long as they are than pea-sized or smaller. Pour in the milk mixture and use the same fork to gently incorporate, stopping when the wet and dry ingredients are just combined; the dough will be wet and lumpy and that’s just fine.

On a large cutting board or a clean and dry section of your counter top, dust the surface lightly with flour and turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Flour your hands and pat the dough into a 1″ thick circle. Use a dough cutter or a greased knife to score and then cut your circle into 8 (or 12 if you want smaller scones) pieces. Dust a bit more parmesan cheese or black pepper on the top, if you want. Carefully transfer the scones to your baking pan, leaving room between them to allow for expansion, and bake for 20-25 mins. (My larger scones were completely done in 20.) Serve warm if possible; store in a tightly-sealed container at room temperature.

*I have a hard time measuring fresh herbs; it is kind of a throw-it-in-until-it-seems-right system for me. In the case of this basil, I grabbed a handful of leaves and chopped them, estimating that about 4 T. went into the dough. You could absolutely use more. I think these would be equally wonderful with dill, or a mix of fresh herbs: oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, etc.