bacon cheddar scones

bacon cheese scone 1

so I’m a self-confessed scone fanatic.

they’re just so versatile – perfect as breakfast, as an afternoon tea accompaniment, even as a dinner accompaniment. (for real though, scones + salad = winning combination.)

they also freeze up great, which is both bad (my freezer is now one-fourth occupied by various scones) and good (now a flaky, butter-laden treat is only a 25-minute bake away!) …and bad (now a flaky, butter-laden treat is only a 25-minute bake away!) .

anyways, over the years, I’ve run the gamut of scone flavor combinations, from ill-received matcha-pomegranate scones (I loved them! even if no one else did) to caraway-blueberry scones. but somehow, I’ve never done a full-on savoury scone. 

in general, scone recipes are sweet. it seems that in the great scone-biscuit divide, biscuits claimed a place at the dinner table while scones took over breakfast (and brunch became the uneasy DMZ, if you would).

but what if I told you that there existed a scone recipe with the perfect balance of sweet and savoury? the refreshing tang of crème fraîche and the golden melted chewiness of cheddar and the addicting smoked saltiness of bacon – all in one scone? yeah, it sounded crazy, overwhelming, impossible to me too.

presenting the solution to brunch with friends who claim to dislike sweets (but really, who are these people?!), the solution to that pastry craving that hits at dinner time. if scones are versatile, these bacon cheddar scones are the da vinci of scones – all-around perfection, and perfect for just about any occasion. 

bacon cheese scone 2
makes 12 scones

3/4 cup + 1 tsp (107g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup + 1/2tbsp (196g) cake flour
1 1/2 + 1/8 tsp (8g) baking powder
3/8 tsp (1.5g) baking soda
2 tbsp + 3/4 tsp (27g) granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp (3.5g) kosher salt
9 tbsp + 1 tsp (132g) cold unsalted butter, in 1/4-in cubes
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp (71g) heavy cream
1/4 cup + 2 1/2 tbsp (89g) crème fraîche
12 oz (340g) smoked bacon, cooked, drained, and cut into 1/8-in pieces (~77g cooked weight)
2 + 1/2 cups (144 + 36g) grated white cheddar, divided
1/4 cup (10g) minced chives
freshly-ground black pepper

thomas keller and sebastien rouxel. bouchon bakery. new york: artisan, 2012

1 sift all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. mix on lowest setting for a few seconds to combine. add salt and mix again to combine.
2 stop the mixer, add butter, and on the lowest setting, mix until butter is well-coated in flour. increase the speed to low and mix to break up butter and incorporate it into the flour until butter is pea-sized (~3 minutes).
3 with the mixer running, slowly pour in the cream. add the crème fraîche and continue mixing until all dry ingredients are moistened and the dough comes together around the paddle (~30 seconds). scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for a few more seconds until well-combined.
4 add bacon, 144g cheese, and the chives and mix again on low until incorporated.
5 mound the dough on a plastic-wrapped work surface and, using the heal of your hand or a pastry scraper, push the dough together. place another piece of plastic wrap on top of the dough and using your hands, press the dough into a 7×9-in block, smoothing the top. press the sides of your hands or pastry scraper against the sides of the dough to straighten them. wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (~2 hours).
6 line a sheet pan with parchment paper. cut the block of dough lengthwise in half, then cut each half into six rectangles. arrange them on prepared sheet pan, lover with plastic wrap, and freeze until frozen solid (~2 hours, preferably overnight). scones can be frozen up to 1 month.
7 preheat convention oven to 325ºF (350ºF in standard oven). line sheet pan with parchment paper. arrange frozen scones 1-in apart on sheet pan. brush tops with cream and sprinkle with remaining 36g cheese. top with black pepper. bake for 24-27 minutes (33-36 min in standard oven), until golden brown. set sheet on cooling rack and cool completely before serving. (scones can be stored in covered container for one day.)

 
*time saver tip: I froze a few scones after sprinkling them with cheese and black pepper, then baked them up a week later. they come out with a golden-brown cheese topping as well, though the cheese does not spread as much as it did when baked from room temperature.

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blueberry lemon madeleines

lemon blueberry madeleine 3

for years, paris was my favorite city I’d never visited.

then (as these things always go) the opportunity to visit paris for three days was suddenly thrust upon me. when I arrived in paris, I had unexpected difficulty contacting my friend. I ended up having my first meal in france with a kind older lady I had met on the train (who probably took pity on the pathetic american tourist with shoddy language skills and a dead phone). after that somewhat disastrous first night, I overcame my embarrassment about how much french I had forgotten and had lovely conversations with shopkeepers and chocolatiers and random people in the stairwell. a shopgirl suggested I wander through saint-germain, where I sampled chocolates and perused the excellent summer sales.

my friend and I also visited versailles, did one of those boat tours up and down the seine, and took silly pictures of the ornate hairstyles on sculptures in the musée d’orsay. to be a tourist these days is viewed as a bad thing, but really, what is so wrong about exploring the hallmarks of a country’s culture – celebrating its art, its history, and paying homage to its heroes?

paris diptych
gothic arches and stern visages at musée d’orsay and notre dame.

I was lucky to somewhat have it both ways – I spoke enough of the language to navigate stores and cafés where the staff only spoke french. through smalltalk with friendly parisians, I found that the negative stereotype of the french as snobby simply did not hold true, and learned about some of their favorite parts of the city. but I also do not believe in “how to not be a tourist” – to pretend to be a local is to put on airs and be exactly that snob that locals (and everyone, really) dislike. on foreign soil, I’ve found that best way to enjoy it all is to be myself, admittedly cheesy and over-excitable personality and all.

so do all the mainstream activities that you want, and don’t disdainfully avoid the famous landmarks (they’re famous for a reason). visiting a new city is not about finding that hidden café or unknown designer boutique and bragging about it later – to be a “local” is not that superficial. learn some phrases (maybe fall in love with a new language) and share some anecdotes, explore some smaller streets and engage the different people that you meet. visit a place in the way you want, not how some supposedly enlightened travel expert, or some article called “eat like the locals” or “where the locals actually hang out” said to.

these are trite words that I have heard uttered many times, especially this past summer, but triteness does not make them any less true: “it is your journey – don’t let others tell you how to live it.”

p.s. I’ve attempted madeleines before with decent results, but this recipe is addictive. intense citrus flavor, juicy blueberries, a crisp exterior with a fluffy, cakey interior…I ate four in one sitting and I’m not ashamed.

IMG_6844
yep. that classic musée d’orsay clock shot.

places I loved
le temps des cerises | a lovely quaint café in the bastille arrondissement with delicious, authentic bistro fare.
michel chaudin | probably the best chocolate I’ve ever had. perfect size, perfect texture, somewhat conventional flavors all perfectly executed.
richart | small (expensive!) chocolates in intriguing flavors – the herbal ones are especially interesting. (and the macarons are delicious as well.)
dalloyau | I wandered in and ended up splurging on the opera cake, some kind of raspberry tart, and a peanut pastry. they were all awesome.
maje | maje’s stock store on rue du cherche-midi carries edgy, funky styles from previous seasons for a fraction of the price.
what for | I bought the coolest shoes I will ever own here. it’s usually pretty pricey, but during the big summer sale, most items were around 50€.
carrefour | oh man, I love this place. if you’ve never heard of carrefour, it’s a cavernous megamarket with fresh produce, solid selection of prepared foods, surprisingly cute shoes – and some of them even have (decent) conveyor belt sushi.

lemon blueberry madeleine diptychmakes 12 madeleines

80g (2.75oz) butter, very soft
100g (3.25oz) caster sugar (I used regular white sugar)
2 eggs
zest from 2 lemons
pinch of kosher salt
100g (3.25oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
24 blueberries

fanny zanotti. paris pastry club. london: hardie grant books, 2014.

1 cream butter with a tablespoon of sugar. whisk the remaining sugar with eggs, lemon zest, and pinch of salt in a separate bowl until light and fluffy.
2 gently fold in flour and baking powder until just combined.
3 scoop out a third of the batter into the butter and mix vigorously. transfer into the remaining batter and fold in very gently.
4 scrape the batter into a plastic piping bag (or a strong plastic bag) and chill for minimum 3 hours, maximum 3 days. (I refrigerated overnight.)
5 preheat oven to 430ºF. butter and flour a madeleine pan.
6 snip a 1/2-in hole from the tip of the piping bag and pipe batter three-quarters of the way up the prepared molds. stick two blueberries in each madeleine. reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for 11-14 minutes, until edges are deep-golden brown and the domes are just beginning to brown.
7 remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack.

cinnamon honey scones

honey cinnamon scones 3

I’m starting to have the feeling that juniper kitchen is turning into a baking blog.

oops.

I had all these fun savories planned at some point when I first started juniper kitchen, but so many of them are dinner dishes, and with work and life and all, I never have time to shoot them in daylight. I’m also just too cheap to invest in nice photography indoor lighting gadgets – isn’t it just a little ridiculous that a white lightbulb covered with a thin sheet of plastic can cost $100?!

one day I’ll get around to tackling all the savory dishes that I cook but never photograph. but for now, here’s another sweet recipe, a scone elevated to ultra-luxurious levels of decadence by pastry genius sebastian rouxel. (you know if he’s part of thomas keller’s team, he’s gotta be pretty damn amazing.) it’s the best scone I’ve ever eaten, and best of all, they are supposed to be frozen so every time I’m feeling sad or hungry or just in the mood for a yummy scone (which is almost all the time, really), I just pop a couple in the oven and half an hour later, perfect scones!

they do take a while, but they are absolutely worth it. make the full recipe, freeze whatever dough you don’t bake that day, and have scones at your fingertips for months (or for weeks, or when the addiction really kicks in, for days…).

honey cinnamon scone diptych
makes twelve scones

cinnamon honey cubes
3 tbsp (30g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tbsp (30g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp (4g) ground cinnamon
1oz (30g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-in cubes
1 tbsp (20g) clover honey
plain scone dough
1 cup, 1 1/2 tbsp (152g) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups, 2 tbsp (304g) cake flour
2 1/2 tsp (12.5g) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2.5g) baking soda
1/4 cup, 3 1/2 tbsp (91g) granulated sugar
8oz (227g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-in cubes
1/2 cup, 1 1/2 tbsp (135g) heavy cream
1/2 cup, 2 tbsp (135g) crème fraîche
honey butter glaze
3 tbsp, 2 tsp (45g) unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp (20g) clover honey

thomas keller and sebastien rouxel. bouchon bakery. new york: artisan, 2012.

cinnamon honey cubes|1 sift flour, sugar, and cinnamon into medium bowl and whisk to combine. toss in butter cutes, coating in flour mixture. using your fingertips, break up butter until there are no large visible pieces. using a spatula, mix in honey to form smooth paste. 2 press paste into 4-inch square on sheet of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and freeze until solid (~2 hours minimum).
plain scone dough|1 sift all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and granulated sugar into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. mix for ~15 seconds to combine. stop mixer, add butter, and on lowest setting (“stir” on kitchenaid), begin incorporating butter. increase speed to low (2 on kitchenaid) and mix for ~3 minutes to break up butter and incorporate it into dry mixture. keep mixing until all large pieces of butter are incorporated. 2 with mixture running, slowly pour in cream. add crème fraîche and mix for ~30 seconds, until dry ingredients are moistened and dough comes together around paddle. scrape down sides, add cinnamon honey cubes, and pulse to combine. 3 place dough between two pieces of plastic wrap on cool work surface and roll into a 6×9-in block. using hands, straighten the sides of the block. wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for ~2 hours, until firm (sometimes I don’t refrigerate them and they turn out just fine). 4 using pizza cutter, cut dough in thirds lengthwise and in fourths crosswise. wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until solid (~2 hours minimum, can be frozen for one month). 5 preheat oven to 325ºF. line sheet pan with parchment paper and arrange scones 1-inch apart. bake for 20-23 minutes, until golden.
honey butter glaze|1 stir butter and honey together in small saucepan over medium-low heat until butter melts and combines with honey. brush over baked scones and let cool completely. (scones can be stored in covered container for one day)