My inspiration for these scones is twofold: firstly, my fond childhood memories of “fancy” dinners at Red Lobster and its delectable Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Secondly, a coffee shop near one of my client’s offices serves yummy Cheddar Parsley Scones with all of its soups. I have been known to go out of my way to make a trip to said coffee shop for the express purpose of obtaining one of those lovely scones. It was only a matter of time before I attempted to make my own version, and this morning I gave in to the urge.
I cannot remember the last time I ate at Red Lobster, but it will always hold a special place in my memory. One of my mom’s favourite stories from my childhood features the famous cheddar biscuits: at our location, the servers would come around with trays of the cheesy balls of joy and would place a new one one your side plate if it was empty. I quickly caught on to their game, and proceeded to pile (unfinished) biscuits in my lap so that a fresh one would be deposited on my side plate each time. Greedy? Absolutely. Genius? I think so.
The base recipe for my version came from the cookbook Savory Baking by Mary Cech. The actual recipe is for Peppered Pear and Goat Cheese Scones, which I have made a number of times and are quite tasty as well. It’s a little bit different than other scone recipes, which use buttermilk or cream for the liquid, in that it calls for plain yogurt softened with a bit of milk.
Every time I make this recipe, I curse myself as I’m forming the scones because they invariably seem much too dry and difficult to form. However, every time something magical happens while they bake and they become the perfect fluffy, buttery, moist scone texture. Have faith!
The Red Lobster biscuits use parsley, but to add a bit more flavour (since I had no fresh parsley, and dried parsley doesn’t really have any flavour whatsoever) I added a spoonful of dried tarragon. You could really add any herb you have on hand and it would taste lovely: herbes de Provence, dill, Italian seasoning, etc.
These are heavenly on their own, but would also be a perfect accompaniment to a soup or stew. Sometimes I like to make a simple salad for dinner, then have something savoury and indulgent like these scones on the side. Try your best to eat them while they’re still warm!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons milk or cream, plus extra for brushing
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, pepper and tarragon in a medium bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, cut the cold butter cubes into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Gently stir in the shredded cheese until combined.
- Whisk the milk or cream into the sour cream. Pour the mixture over the flour mixture and gently mix together until just combined. The dough will seem dry.
- Turn the dough onto a clean work surface and gently pat together until no dry ingredients are left out of the dough. Divide dough into 6 equal mounds on the baking sheet.
- Brush the tops of the scones with a little milk or cream. Bake until lightly brown, 20-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the melted butter and garlic powder. As soon as the scones are out of the oven, brush the top of each generously with the garlic butter.
- Best served warm, but will keep in an airtight container for a day or two.