Best Scones Ever: Olive, Goat Cheese, and Dill

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To me, these scones say “weekend brunch in Brooklyn.” In my early post-college years, my dear friend Sarah hosted me for many a big-girl sleepover in her 3rd floor walk-up in Brooklyn.  One morning,  she made these olive, goat cheese, and dill scones for me, and they were so. damn. delicious she had to send the rest of the batch home with me. I started requesting them every time she made breakfast, and she kindly indulged me with baked goods, as all dear friends should.

But, with both of us being married now, sleepovers are few and far between (although we do still manage them!), and I recently realized I’d gone years – years! – without my favorite scone. So Sarah gave me her recipe, and I made my first batch – both a delicious blessing and a curse, as I now realize I can make them anytime I want. But I know that wherever I make them, the smell wafting from my oven  will take me straight back to Sarah’s sun-filled Brooklyn kitchen.

The basic scone recipe is from the Joy of Cooking, and can be adapted for sweet or savory scones. If sweet, I do recommend serving with some really excellent jam and clotted cream, if you can find it. If savory, add a little butter and they are divine. I’m a sucker for savory scones, and these are by far the best I’ve ever had. I hope you enjoy them, and share them with a dear friend who will love them too!


 Olive, Goat Cheese, and Dill Scones

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adapted from the Joy of Cooking, and my friend Sarah
Serves: 8-12, depending on how you divide them
Time: 45 minutes (active time: 30 minutes)

Ingredients

Basic Scone Recipe

  • 2 cups white flour (you can sub in 1/2 cup whole wheat if you like)
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 T butter, cooled (in between refrigerator-solid and room-temp)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup + 2-3 T of milk, divided (whole, skim, whatever you have is fine)

For savory olive, goat cheese, and dill scones

  • 1/2 cup chopped olives, preferably kalamata
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta works really well)
  • 1/3 cup chopped dill

For sweet scones

  • 1/3 cup sugar (add to dry ingredients)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruits – raisins, currants, etc
  • a little sugar for sprinkling on top of the scones before baking

Directions

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl large enough for you to get your hands in and mix. Set aside.

Cut butter into small cubes, and add in to the dry ingredients (1). Now comes the fun part! Make sure your hands are clean, and get them right in there with the butter and the dry ingredients, distributing the butter evenly (2). Rub the clumps of butter between your fingers so the particles of butter get coated with flour, and keep going until you have no more clumps of butter.

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You know you’ve done it right when you scoop up some of the mixture in your hand (3), squeeze your fingers together, and it sticks together (4.) You can also use a pastry blender or food processor attachment, but this is more fun, and really only takes a few minutes.

Next, add the wet ingredients – lemon zest, 1/2 cup milk, and the 1 egg. The batter should be moist but not liquidy. Fold in the olives, cheese, and dill. Do not overmix. Pat the mixture into a ball, turn out onto a floured surface, and flatten to a circle. Cut the circle into as many servings as you would like to make – 8 good-sized scones, 12 skinnier scones. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush a little milk on top of each scone; if you are making sweet scones you could sprinkle a little sugar on at this point.

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Bake in the oven at 425 for 12-15 minutes, until the tops are golden. Serve savory scones with butter, sweet scones with jam and clotted cream, if you can find it.

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