This cold that’s been going around is so yucky, the winter has been so dreary, and I’ve felt like such a shut-in, I admit I haven’t taken as much joy as I usually do in things like baking and cooking. Or anything. The result is that we’ve been eating less healthy, and that has just exacerbated our lousy moods. So I’m trying to get back on the bandwagon. Sometimes you really do need to “fake it till you make it,” at least, till you find something to break the pall. Or till the weather gets better.
Of course, a good friend dragging you out of the house so you encounter some other human beings and asking what they can do to make you happier can be surprisingly beneficial, too.
My mom likes to call me a sourpuss. I’ve always preferred savoury over sweets, right from the beginning. She also says that while I was in utero, she had an unholy craving for pot after pot of tea with lemon. It amuses her to no end that, 37 years later, this is still how I prefer my tea. So scones are something I was bound to get into sooner or later, but something I won’t begin to call myself a purist on. There’s just too many ways to do them. And also I still get them wrong from time to time; sometimes I use just a tad too much liquid, especially when it’s a rainy day and when I’m mixing in other things. Scones are a perfect bakery example of why you can’t follow recipes exactly, every time… you have to let your fingers do the listening, else you might end up with a slightly doughy end result.
But whether they’re perfect or not, I find people are still happy to munch on them, and that’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to give them a try and perfect your favourite afternoon treat. After all, not everybody wants coffee and a biscotti! So if you’re looking for a way to cut back on the sugar, this might be the afternoon treat for you.
Using a cottage cheese in these scones, like Gay Lea’s Nordica Cottage Cheese, gives you a cheesy dose of of protein and calcium. If you’re like me and have always been put off by the idea of eating cold lumpy cream cheese, then give this a try. I’ve become a huge fan of using cottage cheese in baking as a lower-fat alternative in some of the craziest scenarios (like these gluten-free vanilla bean pancakes). One of my friends even uses it in lasagna in the place of ricotta.
While you’ll have to be careful of over-adding liquid, you’ll find everything else about these delicious peppery, cheesy and onion-flavoured scones an absolute snap because you can substitute lard for the butter in the dough, and instead save the butter for glazing and slathering atop the warm fresh-baked scone. While I can’t say it’s necessarily any healthier a choice than butter, I’ve also gotten to enjoy working with lard in pastry situations like pie crusts this winter because of my son’s dairy allergies. There’s so many situations where you have to be careful not to overwork doughs that use butter, but lard is definitely more considerate of novices, and it has the added benefit of being dairy-free.
Plus I have a big container to use up.
If you’ve been following along with the story, my son’s dairy desensitization is going so well! He’s up to two muffins baked with milk in them per day, and soon we will do a trial with boiled milk. I’ve got my fingers crossed that everything progresses as planned and that soon he’ll be able to eat casseroles and such. Incidentally, if you’re in Ontario and have access to Gay Lea’s products, the Nordica Cottage Cheese is made with all Canadian dairy and is gluten and nut free if you’ve got allergy considerations (okay, I know that this recipe isn’t gluten-free, but the cheese certainly is).
But enough about that. You came here looking for a scone recipe, right?
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
- 5 tablespoons lard
- 5 tablespoons milk
- 3 sliced green onions
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
- Cut the lard into the flour with a fork or a pastry tool until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
- Add the cottage cheese and sliced green onions to the bowl.
- Drizzle five tablespoons of milk in, stirring, until dough begins to come together. In the bowl, turn the dough and knead a few times to mix together well. If the mixture is still too dry, add more milk by the drizzle to achieve cohesion without getting wet.
- Turn the dough out, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 10 minutes in the freezer.
- Begin preheating the oven to 450F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough into a long rectangle about 1 inch thick. Cut the rectangle in four pieces, then cut each piece diagonally.
- Arrange on the parchment paper, and daub the tops of the scones with a little melted butter or milk.
- Bake approximately 15 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Store unused scones in a sealed container at room temperature.
- If you wish to use butter instead of lard, use this substitution: 6 tablespoons chilled diced butter (instead of 5 tablespoons lard) and 4 tablespoons milk (instead of 5 tablespoons milk)
Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.