I came to a startling realization on a lazy weekend morning, about two weeks ago. I had just woken up, and was evaluating my non-existent plans for breakfast/brunch when I realized that I had never shared a scone recipe on this blog before. How could that be, I wondered, because I make these bad boys all the time. And I mean all the time! Since that first batch of pumpkin scones that I made several years ago (which were divine by the way), there’s been a continuous stream of scones that has seen the light of day in my kitchen. And then disappeared down my gullet, the very next instant. So I decided to correct this anomaly with these beautiful Coffee, Bacon and Date scones. If you think of these as the quintessential breakfast scones, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark.
These days, I find myself making scones about as often as we crave for a snack on a weekend, so I usually make them in small batches, about 4 or 5 at a time, because once we get started, we cannot seem to stop eating them. I have made some blueberry & lemon, and thyme & chocolate chip scones before, but for this recipe, I decided to put a little twist on one of my favourites. (As an aside, my sister does not like scones. I’m inclined to think that we came to be related for some bigger purpose).
The distinction between scones, biscuits and rock scones can be a little hazy. In truth, I’m a little hazy on the details too. I had never had biscuits before until I came to the US. Obviously. Where I grew up, what we loosely called biscuits, are what you generally refer to as cookies in the US.
What’s called a biscuit in the US, is a lot softer than what Brits, Australians or Kiwis might call a scone. I was first led to believe that biscuits are the equivalent of what I call scones, but having had my first biscuit in the US and after making my own at home, I quickly realized that there were a few differences. For one, the dough for biscuits is a lot wetter than that for scones. And depending on how wet the dough is, they can be either cut biscuits or drop biscuits.
However, they both use the same ingredients. Both use a cold fat (usually butter for scones and lard, shortening or butter for biscuits). They are both meant to be flaky, and handled very little in order to keep them tender and moist.
Do you like the sides of your scones soft or crispy? Personally, I’m a softie. But there’s no right or wrong way, I’ve realized. You can make it any darn way you like! 🙂 While a classic scone is typically enjoyed with a beautiful cup of tea, these will go down much better with a cup of coffee! I’m bit of a coffee junkie, and I made these scones in order to feed my bad habit! But of course, you can omit the coffee in this recipe if you wish and then enjoy it with tea.
Coffee, Bacon and Date Scones
- 115 g / 4 oz frozen butter grated and then frozen again
- 300 g / 10.5 oz all-purpose flour you can use cake flour as well - but then liquid content you need to add later would be less
- 4 tsp baking powder
- scant ½ tsp salt
- 1/2 cup half n half or milk is fine too plus some extra depending on the protein content of your flour
- 200 g dates sliced or chopped not too fine
- 4 tbsp ground coffee
- ¾ cup milk
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 200 g cooked bacon chopped
- Heat the ¾ cup of milk and sugar and then add the ground coffee. Heat over low heat, covered, and let the coffee infuse for about 10 minutes. Strain this mix for a very strong coffee-milk solution. While still warm, add this to the sliced dates, and let them sit together until the dates absorb most of the milk/coffee mix.
- Mix the baking powder, salt, and flour together and sift it twice. This it to make sure it mixes thoroughly and lightens up the flour mix.
- Add the grated frozen butter and rub it in lightly using your fingers. (You don’t want the butter to completely break down and integrate into the flour).
- Add the soaked dates and bacon and gently mix through using a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the ½ cup of milk and mix only until it comes together. If the mix seems too dry add another 1 or 2 tbsps of milk.
- Turn out the dough on to a well floured surface, and fold it over to get a mass of dough that sticks together. Fold it over two more times, gently, being careful not to over handle the dough. Use floured hands to make it less sticky.
- Pat the dough out lightly to a rectangle that is about 1.5 inches in thickness. Flour the surface of the dough. With a clean sharp knife cut the scone dough into 6-8 pieces. It is important to use a clean sharp knife for each cut. This will ensure that the scones rise properly. Place the scones in the fridge to rest.
- Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C. When the oven has preheated, line a baking tray with parchment paper, and take the scones out of the fridge.
- Place the scones on the baking tray and brush the top with some milk. If you prefer scones with soft sides, place the scones right next to each other with the sides touching. If you like crusted sides, separate the scones with some space in between.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, and let them cool slightly before serving.
- Serve with some butter.
The addition of coffee gives these tender yet dense and buttery scones an amazing depth of flavour, without being overpowering. The sweetness and the almost creamy texture of dates completely elevate the inner crumb and the fact that they are soaked in coffee means that they become soft and carry another wonderful flavour profile. And the bacon obviously gives these scones an irresistible salty-umami flavour. I usually heat these scones till they are slightly warm, and then enjoy them with a little bit of butter spread on top and a cup of coffee. Ah, the little things in life…
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