Or maybe they should be called Boxing Day Scones. Or Leftover Cheeseboard Scones. Both work, though they may be a bit literal. I whipped these up on Boxing Day with some cheese that was languishing in the fridge – it was one of my better ideas (and, between you and me, that’s saying something).
They were made and cooling in 45 minutes. Scones really are low maintenance, and they deliver. Oh boy, do they deliver. Here’s the drill – you can make 12 small scones with these amounts, or fewer bigger scones if you feel that way inclined.
- 300g plain flour
- 1 heaped tbsp baking powder
- pinch sea salt
- 60g cold butter, cubed
- 150g stilton with cranberries
- 200ml cold milk – this is variable, so proceed with caution
- 1 extra tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones
Preheat the oven to a hot 220C. Line a baking sheet with paper or foil,and dust very lightly with flour.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Drop in the butter and rub in with the tips of your fingers. Pinch, lift, rub and drop back into the bowl. Reflect on the past generations of people who have made scones just this way. That part’s optional, but it’s what I always do. Crumble in the cheese – don’t worry about getting it reeeeeeally crumbly, it’ll get broken up a bit in the next step, too.
Pour in the first 100ml of milk, and mix and cut in with a knife. Add just enough milk so that the dough is ready to hold together, and starts making big clumps but not so much that it’s sticky. The knife is good because you can scrape the dough off on the side of the bowl if it sticks too much, and because you can cut in to any parts of the mix that look too waterlogged. Or milklogged, as it may be. Bring the dough together in the bowl with your hands until you have one, slightly crumbly, ball.
Lightly flour your worksurface, and tip the dough out. Knead two or three times, so it all holds together, and pat out flat. No need to roll. You want a circle of dough about 2cm thick. Cut out the desired size of scones until you can’t make any more, re-rolling the scraps as you need to. Don’t twist the cutter – a straight push down does the trick, and when you lift the scone might stay inside, or might drop back onto the surface. Either is fine. When you only have a little left, roll it up gently and pat down to make a mini scone. Often, this is the best one. Put all the scones on the baking sheet as you go along.
Brush the tops – but not the sides – with milk, sparingly. Milk running down the sides is one of the things that will stop you getting a good rise. Bake for ten minutes, or a few minutes longer if needed, until golden brown on top. Some of the cranberries might scorch a little – that’s OK. It’s just extra oven love. Cool for ten minutes, and serve – with butter or cream cheese, if you want. They’re not bad just plain, but I’m a fiend for butter on my scones. An absolute fiend, I tell you.
See how easy that was? You can sub in other kinds of cheese, but personally I love the low-key, salty stilton with these sweet little bursts of cranberry. Plus, I don’t really like fruity stilton on its own – it’s much better in a scone. Muuuuuuch better.