Commitment level: ready in an hour or less
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
4 ounces grated aged Cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Hand method: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter in until it’s the size of peas. Chop the basil finely and stir into the flour mixture to evenly distribute.
Food processor method: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a few pulses. Add the basil. Pulse in 2-second bursts until the basil is chopped and evenly distributed. Add the butter and pulse until it’s about the size of peas. Transfer the flour mixture to a large bowl.
Add the cheese and toss to evenly distribute. Add the buttermilk and stir until the dough forms a ball. Knead the dough on a floured surface until it just comes together. Roll into a round about 10" wide and 3⁄4" thick. Cut into 12 wedges. Place on an ungreased baking sheet about 2" apart and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Serve immediately.
Scones can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days but are really best within a few hours of baking. To reheat, split in half and pop under the broiler. Serve with butter.
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, sour your own. Place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring cup. Fill to the 1-cup mark with milk and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir and use immediately.
Excerpted with permission from The Messy Baker by Charmian Christie (c) 2014. Published by HarperCollins Canada. All rights reserved.