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Savory Kale and Two-Cheese Scones
1¼ hours 40 minutes active, plus cooling
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When standard breakfast pastries are too sugary, bake a batch of these flavorful savory scones. This recipe is our adaptation of the hearty kale and cheese scones created by Briana Holt, of Tandem Coffee + Bakery in Portland, Maine. Dried currants and a small amount of the sugar in the dough complement the minerally, vegetal notes of the kale and counterbalance the saltiness of the cheddar and pecorino, while a good dose of black pepper adds an undercurrent of spiciness. Either lacinato kale (also called dinosaur or Tuscan kale) or curly kale will work; you will need an average-sized bunch to obtain the amount of chopped stemmed leaves for the recipe.
Don’t allow the buttermilk and butter to lose their chill before use. Keeping them cold helps ensure that the dough will remain workable and won’t become unmanageably soft during shaping. When rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time, work quickly so the oven doesn’t lose too much heat.
40 minutes active, plus cooling
grams (½ cup) dried currants
grams (4 cups) stemmed and finely chopped lacinato or curly kale (see note)
tablespoon lemon juice
grams (3½ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
grams (¼ cup) white sugar
teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoons table salt
teaspoons ground black pepper
grams (4 ounces) sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes (1 cup)
grams (½ ounce) finely grated pecorino Romano cheese (¼ cup)
cups cold buttermilk
tablespoons (2 sticks) salted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
large egg, beaten
grams (¼ cup) raw shelled sunflower seeds
01Heat the oven to 375°F with racks in the upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with kitchen parchment. In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir together the currants and 2 tablespoons water. Microwave uncovered on high until warm and plump, about 30 seconds; set aside. In a medium bowl, toss the kale and lemon juice; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper.
02To a food processor, add about half of the flour mixture and scatter all of the butter over the top. Pulse until the butter is in pieces slightly larger than peas, 10 to 12 pulses. Transfer to the bowl with the remaining flour mixture. Add the currants and any remaining liquid, the cheddar, pecorino and kale. Toss with your hands until well combined. Add about ⅓ of the buttermilk and toss just a few times with your hands, making sure to scrape along the bottom of the bowl, until the liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining buttermilk in 2 more additions, tossing after each. After the final addition of buttermilk, toss until no dry, floury bits remain. The mixture will be quite crumbly and will not form a cohesive dough.
03Lightly dust the counter with flour, turn the mixture out onto it, then give it a final toss. Divide it into 2 even piles, gathering each into a mound, then briefly knead each mound; it's fine if the mixture is still somewhat crumbly. Gather each mound into a ball, then press firmly into a cohesive 5-inch disk about 1½ inches thick. Using a chef's knife, cut each disk into 6 wedges. Place 6 wedges on each prepared baking sheet, spaced evenly apart. Brush the tops with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with the sunflower seeds, pressing lightly to adhere.
04Bake until the scones are deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Cool on the baking sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes, then transfer directly to a rack and cool for at least another 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Do I keep scones refrigerated or on counter?
Can I freeze the scones for later? Or is it better to freeze 1/2 dough and then bake them later?
Best thing I did was to buy a great cheddar, not the bagged shredded stuff, imo.
Milk Street, I love your recipes but I really wish you would give options for those who don’t have a microwave. Often I find a recipe I want to make and get the ingredients (Such as I did with this) only to find that it requires a microwave.
When I visited Portland I went to Tandem every morning just to have these scones, they were so good. Beyond excited to have this recipe, they turned out perfectly! The process for me was exactly as described, and I really appreciate the specific details of knowing that it would a shaggy dough. It stopped me from potentially over-mixing. Just perfect and exactly as I remember from enjoying them at Tandem!
This is both a question and a comment/answer to another baker. Question: I have the original recipe from Briana Holt/Tandem, which called for 727.5 g all purpose flour (6 cups) versus your 455 g (3.5 cups). Milk St is also suggesting a lot more cheese and keeping the volume of butter and buttermilk (1.5 cups) the same. I'm wondering if this reduction in flour in comparison to the other ingredients could have contributed to the wet dough some bakers experienced. I thought the flour measurement might be typo when the recipe first appeared on your site, but checked again now and it hasn't changed. I'm really surprised that you made such a significant reduction in Tandem's recipe and some bakers found that it worked out OK. Answer/comment: For the person who asked about gluten free, I made my Tandem recipe for these scones (1/2 recipe producing 8 normal sized scones) using 3 cups GF flour blend + 1.5 tsp xanthan gum and all other ingredients about the same as this Milk St recipe. Even with almost twice the ratio of flour, the dough wasn't all that shaggy and came together easily. It seemed well hydrated. The scones were delicious. I think if you substitute GF flour in this recipe 1:1 for the all purpose flour, you might get a REALLY wet dough. I hope that helps.
Boy are these good. Great contrasts of taste and texture. I too had a wet dough. I'm sure the buttermilk was cold, and I thought the butter was. So I lowered the temp and baked 10 minutes longer and they came out a bit flatter than I would have liked, but still fine. Maybe using frozen butter?
Followed the recipe using red kale because that’s what I had. Awesome.