I love baking treats for friends’ birthdays - cupcakes, muffins, cookies, and lately - my new favorite, scones! Scones are quick and easy to make, and the same base recipe can be adapted to make different kinds of sweet scones (for example, chocolate chip and cranberry-orange). However, this time I was looking for something savory to make as a birthday treat for a friend who is trying to cut back on sugar. Starting with the same base recipe, I switched out the milk with buttermilk to get a subtle tang, and replaced the sweet add-ins with a combination of spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and Feta cheese. All these ingredients came together really well to form deliciously soft and flaky scones - with the flavor of each savory ingredient coming through without any one of them being overwhelmingly strong.
Ingredients (Makes 16 small scones)
2 cups self rising flour (See note if you don’t have self rising flour)
~½ tsp salt
5 Tbsp cold butter
⅔ cup buttermilk (See note if you don’t have buttermilk)
~2 Tbsp milk (or buttermilk) for brushing tops of scones
1-1.5 cup packed fresh spinach - chopped
¼ cup sun dried tomatoes - chopped
1 tsp chopped basil (fresh, frozen or dried) - optional
⅓-½ cup crumbled Feta cheese (I used low fat)
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Mix salt with the flour. Cut the butter into small pieces. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until you get a crumbly mixture - this helps make the scones light and flaky.
Add the spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and Feta cheese. Mix well. Add the buttermilk and mix everything to form a soft dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a square (about 1” thick).
Cut into 16 pieces. Spread them out on greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet. Brush the tops and sides of the scones generously with milk.
Bake in preheated oven for ~15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let scones cool down before storing in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out.
Self rising flour can be made by combining 1.5 tsp of baking powder with each cup of all purpose flour. Use same ratio for wheat flour, but increase the liquid quantity in the recipe.
Substitute for 1 cup of buttermilk: Add ~1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk, mix it a little and let it sit for about 5 minutes until it curdles.
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