Actually, though, I accidentally cheated. See, the challenge was actually to make biscuits, which are called scones in places other than North America. But I wanted to make what I call scones. Oops. I will try my hand at biscuits soon enough, but for now, pretend like I live in uhhh...South Africa (ahhh, love...) and this is a different type of scone. The kind you would probably call a biscuit. Oh anyways, let's move on.
She also provided a lot of very interesting information about "scones" vs. "biscuits" and their use throughout the world - what a versitle, delicious food! Here's some of her research about this fun, carb-o-licious treat (complete with her pictures):
Hi my name is Audax from Audax Artifex. Whenever I visit my sister and her family in S.E. Queensland Australia she always welcomes me with a fresh batch of my favourite baked treat which we devour gleefully with cups of tea while we chat and catch up with the events in our lives.
Scones in North American are nearly always triangular in shape have a slightly crisp crust usually covered in sugar and have a soft interior crumb and sometimes are laced with dried fruit (these baked goods in Australia and England are called “rock cakes” since they are usually made to look like “rocky” cakes not wedges), meanwhile biscuits in North American are a round shaped buttery slightly flaky baked good usually eaten with meals (these items in Australia and England are called “scones” and are eaten with butter and jam usually with cups of tea or coffee as a sweet snack). So this challenge (using the North American name) is to make biscuits. Or using the Australian or English name this challenge is to make scones.
To further clarify for our North American bakers this month's challenge is to make biscuits (also called baking powder biscuits) if you choose to make your biscuits using buttermilk as the liquid you are making what are known as “Southern” Biscuits which are one of the most famous examples of home cooking in the Southern States of America (that is they are a baking powder biscuit made with buttermilk). In Australia and England “Southern” Biscuits would be called buttermilk scones. So restating the above, the challenge is to make scones (using the Australian/English name) or to make biscuits (using the North American name). Incidentally if you use cream as your liquid in the challenge recipe the final baked good would be called a cream biscuit in North America or a cream scone in Australia and England.
Scones (biscuits) contain only a small number of ingredients they are fast to make, quick to bake, only cost cents per batch and most importantly are super FUN to eat. In England and Australia scones are eaten with jam and butter usually with cups of tea or coffee mostly as a sweet snack, while in North America they are usually eaten with meals as a savoury side.
Of course scones (biscuits) have a notorious reputation as being difficult for some people to make comments like “hockey pucks”, “These made great door-stops ” and the like fill the comment sections of most recipe websites. You see scones (can be said as a rhyme with cone and also can be said as a rhyme with gone) are a type of quick bread that is a white flour dough that is raised using chemical agents usually baking powder and/or baking soda. Basic scones contain flour, raising agent(s), butter (or shortening or lard), salt, and milk (or buttermilk or soured milk or cream).
Bacon Cheddar Scones
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
8 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I used half sharp, half mild)
10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper. Mix briefly to combine. Add the cubbed butter and mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter pieces are roughly the size of small peas. Add in the grated cheese and mix until just incorporated.
Mix the bacon and buttermilk into the flour-butter mixture. Stir by hand just until all the ingredients are incorporated. If the dough is too dry to come together, mix in more buttermilk until the dough can be formed into a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat the dough into an 8 inch disk (for wedge-shaped scones) or square (for mini scones). Slice into 8-10 large wedges or 24-32 petite wedges.
In a small bowl, combine 1 large beaten egg with 2 tbsp water and brush each wedge lightly. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Bake large scones for 18-20 minutes, or small scones for 20-24, or until golden brown.
Source: Adapted from Annie's Eats, who adapted from The Pastry Queen.