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Monday, December 7, 2009

Apple Bacon Cheddar Scones

Back in October, Burgerville's seasonal menu items all involved local apples. My far-and-away favorite of these was the Apple Bacon Cheddar Scone. I hope they'll bring them back next year, but in the mean time, I thought I'd try my own. Saturday was my first stab. I made my favorite scone recipe (adapted from Sheila Lukins' All Around the World Cookbook), adding sautéed bacon, caramelized diced apple, and grated cheddar cheese at the end. Next time I'll make it with a slightly smaller proportion of bacon and apples, and cook the apples a little less--they were caramelized enough to be chewy.
Apple Bacon Cheddar Scones
4 oz apple-wood-smoked bacon, sliced thinly, slices halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4" pieces
1 medium baking apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4" wide wedges (I used a Pink Lady; Braeburn was my runner-up, and Granny Smith would work in a pinch)
1/4 C sugar
2 C all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
3 T sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 C unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten in liquid measuring cup
milk added to beaten egg to reach just above 1/2-cup line
4 oz. grated cheddar cheese (I used medium because I had it; I think sharper would be even better!)

Mixed diced apple with 1/4 C sugar (adjusting as necessary depending on tartness of apple). Sauté bacon over medium-low heat until most fat is rendered and it is crisp but not overly browned. Scoop bacon pieces onto a paper-towel-lined plate, and pour bacon grease in pan into a heat-proof container, leaving a small skim of melted fat in the pan. Add sugared apples and cook over medium-low heat until apples have softened, puffed, and started to brown. Scrape apples into bowl and toss with bacon pieces.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put dry ingredients in bowl of food processor and pulse a couple of times to blend. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture and pulse until mixture is slightly yellow and no pieces of butter larger than pea-sized remain. Pour 1/2 C of egg-milk mixture over other ingredients (leaving a couple of tablespoons liquid in measuring cup) and pulse until dough is starting to form curds but has not fully come together. Dump contents of food processor into a large bowl, add reserved apple and bacon and grated cheddar (reserving a little cheddar to sprinkle on top of scones), and mix gently with your hands, just until the extras are mostly evenly incorporated and cohesive dough has formed. Do not overwork. Divide dough into equal halves and form each half into a round, flattened disk about 3/4" thick. Use a pastry scraper to cut each round of dough into six wedges. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet (prepared scones can be chilled and held at this point as long as overnight), brush with reserved egg-milk mixture, and sprinkle with reserved cheddar. Bake about 15 minutes, then cool a little before serving.

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