Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cheddar-Fennel Scones

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When this showed up in my weekly CSA box I originally assumed it was the herb dill.  The "dill" stayed in my crisper drawer, delicately wrapped in a damp paper towel, awaiting its rendezvous with cheddar so as to become one of Ina Garten's Cheddar-Dill Scones.  Upon unwrapping and sniffing "Mr. Dill" my direction in the kitchen changed as I sniffed not dill, but licorice and anise and nothing dilly, at all. Total let-down. What could that be??  Fennel?  There was no bulb at the bottom of the fronds.  But, yes, it was fennel. My box contained fennel fronds. What the heck do people do with fennel fronds other than store them in your freezer for one year because you can't imagine throwing something away telling yourself you'll use them one day?  Yeah, right.  Could it go in my scone?  Sure.  The recipe has 3 sticks of butter - what isn't going to taste heavenly with 3 sticks of butter in it?

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And cheddar.  This cheddar was named "Extremely Sharp."  The sharper, the better!  Next time I would cube the cheddar.  Do that.  Don't grate, like me.  Grating is so un-cool. 
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This is how I shaped them.  But I've used a biscuit cutter before.  That probably worked better for giving the scones a uniform shape.  The rectangle and knife method gave me some scones a lot bigger than others, 'cuz I can't be bothered with a ruler. Really?

Here's your path to greatness:

Printable Recipe Here

Cheddar-Fennel Scones
Adapted from Ina Garten's Cheddar-Dill Scones

4 c. plus 1 T. flour, divided
2 T. baking powder
2 t. salt
3/4 lb. cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra large eggs, beaten lightly
1 c. cold heavy cream
1/2 lb. extra-sharp yellow Cheddar, small-diced
1 c. minced fresh fennel fronds
1 egg beaten with 1 T. water, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine 4 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.  Mix the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour-and-butter mixture.  Combine just until blended.  Toss together the Cheddar, fennel, and 1 tablespoon of flour and add them to the dough.  Mix until they are just incorporated.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it for 1 minute, until the Cheddar and fennel are well distributed.  Roll the dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle.  Cut with biscuit cutters or with a sharp, floured knife.  Brush the tops with egg wash.  Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 20-25 minutes, until the outside is crusty and the inside is fully baked.