Every once in a while, I come across something I’ve torn from the food section of our local paper. I’m thinking this wouldn’t be possible if I hadn’t shoved it into one of my cookbooks — the one most relevant to what I’d torn out. I see bits and pieces like it wedged between pages along with notes and stickies I’ve written about recipes I’ve tried and easily slip past them when I’m on a mission for a particular recipe. They do cause me to pause occasionally though, to dust off the mental note I made the last time I saw them and promise that I should take a look. Make something from them.
Time passes and then really passes. Seventeen years of time passing happened while I was busy doing other things. A household was moved, jobs changed, pets passed on, three boys raised to manhood. That folded up one-page spread entitled “50 Boffo Biscuits” written by Andrew Schloss published in The San Diego Union-Tribune January 12-13, 1994 was tucked away through all of it, just waiting.
It originally caught my eye because the brief article read, “Here we offer eight basic formulas for biscuits and scones, with enough variations to give you 50 fun and easy ways to put them on the table in 1994.” Looking at it now, I know I wouldn’t have noticed the very small print beneath that read, “Biscuits courtesy of Baked by Etta.”
I had to wonder who Etta was, whether she had a bakery, and if it was still around. A quick Google search provided a location and some reviews raving about cakes like grandmother made with “pure flour, butter, and eggs.” I knew a field trip was in order, but decided I’d entertain myself with trying some of Etta’s biscuits and scones.
You wouldn’t turn down a Bacon and Cheddar Scone, would you?
Bacon and Cheddar Scones with Maple Syrup
3 slices extra-thick bacon, cooked, cooled, and cut into small pieces
1/2 c. sharp Cheddar, shredded
2-1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 T sugar
2T butter, cut in small pieces
2 T bacon fat
1/2 c. + 2 T milk, divided
1 T sugar additional, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and position a rack in the center of the oven.
Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk them to mix well. Add the bacon pieces and shredded cheese, tossing everything to mix well.
In a small ramekin, melt the butter in the bacon fat. Allow to cool briefly, then pour over the dry mixture, tossing lightly to incorporate.
In another bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the milk with the egg, then pour into the rest of the ingredients, mixing lightly just until all is evenly moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly pat together into a flattened circle about 3/4″ thick. Transfer to a parchment covered baking sheet. Using a bench scraper or chef’s knife, press thoroughly into the dough to make as many wedges as you’d like — eight is perfect. Brush the remaining 2 T milk over the surface, and if desired, sprinkle on the last tablespoon of sugar.
Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown and the center dry and set.
Allow to set on the baking sheet about 5 minutes, then remove to a baking rack for continued cooling.
Serve with butter and warmed maple syrup poured over a wedge.
- These scones are really good. They’re a snap to put together, smell fabulous while baking, ready before you know it, and are light and fluffy to sink your teeth into.
- I’ve watched begrudgingly as people have put bacon in everything — at times thinking it was just a circus act — but considering biscuits make sense for a perfect combo, you think I might have figured out scones are a perfect match as well. That probably makes me the circus clown. Go ahead. You can laugh.
- The original recipe calls for 4 pieces of bacon and 4 T of bacon fat. Honestly, frying the bacon I purchase doesn’t turn out that much bacon fat. Lean pigs?
- Cheddar. My husband loves cheddar. Really good, sharp Cheddar. I, however, used the remnants of a packaged shredded cheese blend I wanted to use. I know. I can imagine that the lovely sharp wedge we have in the cheese drawer right now would have been a much better choice.
- I’ve made scones like this in wedges, in drop form, and in rolled balls. This is the method I prefer. There’s no need to separate the wedges before baking, and even if you don’t cut all the way through the dough, the wedges are easily separated after baking.
- It’s lovely to melt butter with the maple syrup, then drizzle over a slice. Very satisfying. Very. Perfect for one of our often overcast Spring mornings before a nice walk on the beach.
I did drive to the location and was surprised to find something new there instead — a bakery called Cake. It’s quite the bakery, too, with The Hotel Del Coronado on its list of regular clients. They produce amazing cakes and other baked goods for order. Nothing is frozen — everything is prepared and ready fresh. And no fondant is used on their cakes or cupcakes. It’s all pure buttercream and/or rolled chocolate and absolutely delicious. I was offered a sample, and then purchased several filled cupcakes from their fairly new case. They’re just getting the cafe up and running, so I’ll be back because I’ve never had cake that flavorful and moist before. Truly remarkable. But I’ll save the telling for another time.
Etta still leases space in the bakery there and evidently takes custom orders. I’d love to talk to her to let her know if her cakes are anything like the biscuits and scones we’ve been sampling from that 17-year-old newspaper article, they must be amazing.