Loaded Baked Potato Scones

I don’t think I have to explain my undying love of potatoes to you. I think you just get it. If I were to say to you that potatoes are the best vegetable/starch ever, like in all the worlds, well you would know I wasn’t lying. You’d most likely agree with me, because umm hello, potatoes. I have this obsession with potatoes. That’s where Potato Tacos and Potato Balls come into the picture. Not like a “they’re so good I’m obsessed can’t get enough of them” kind of obsession. While yes that’s true, it’s more like a “I need to eat potato everything and anything because they’re that good,” kind of obsession. I think it’s a healthy addiction. Nothing to worry about. It’s quite common if you really think about it. Don’t look at me like that!

I know that at some point I’ll be asked if these are scones or biscuits, and to tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure myself. I have no idea. Let’s be frank, they look exactly the same. All I know is that they’re flaky and delicious and I want to eat them all. I guess we can call them biscuit scones. Biscones. Or sconsuits. Hey look at us, we’re inventing new things. Aren’t we clever? The answer is yes. Always, yes. In all honesty, jokes aside, scones and biscuits, they’re pretty much the same thing, right? I mean, I can’t really tell the difference. Some sources claim to know the answer. The answer being that scones have eggs in the dough. Um no. I know plenty of scones that don’t have eggs in them so therefore, are they biscuits? Others claim that scones are scones if they are triangular and biscuits are biscuits if they are circular. This might be the case but at the same time, I’ve seen circular scones so I don’t think there’s a right answer here. I think the people who invented each of them got together and decided to play a trick on all of us. They wanted to mess with our heads. 

The bottom line is I made these potato scones/biscuits with bacon and cheese and I can’t think of anything more delicious at the moment. They’re something out of this world, especially right out of the oven all warm and flaky and delicious looking. Am I convincing you yet? These biscuits/scones are sort of like the ultimate snack, perfect for on-the-go. It’s potatoes, cheese and bacon and bread in a small package that you can eat with one hand while you (safely) drive to work or school or where ever else you drive. How about now? Are you convinced? These scones/biscuits are all like, “Hey look at us, we’re loaded with potatoes and crispy bacon and delicious cheese. You need to eat us!” They’re calling out to you because they know you can’t resist. Don’t fight it anymore, go on and make these biscuits/scones for yourself. 

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Pumpkin Cranberry Scones

As autumn continues we find ourselves needing more inspiration in the kitchen. We are easily bored by the doldrum ideas that consume us during this time of year. The same baked goods we make on a daily basis. Each week. Each month. Throughout the year we find ourselves getting into a rut. One that we cannot seem to get out of until the arrival of the holidays. We end up growing tired of the boring recipes we make on a regular basis. And why shouldn’t we? After all we are creatures of habit and when something we make is good, we end up making it all the time until we get bored of it. Until those around us get bored of it. We need something different. Something new. Perhaps it is the spirit of the holidays that make us become so adventurous in the kitchen. The fact that our loved ones will all come together, and we want to impress them with our culinary skills. We look out to find new recipes that are a little bit fancier than what we are accustomed to. Recipes that are little more impressive and labor intensive. Yet we go into the unknown waters, so to speak, with caution and hesitation. We begin to question our skills as if not knowing what we are capable of. Yet we tread on with persistence because the idea of failing is much more inviting than the idea of not trying at all. Cooking and baking disasters are not things we should be ashamed of. Rather they should be looked upon as learning experiences. Situations that help us grow as cooks.

With the holidays fast approaching, we spend most of our time preparing for the big celebration. The grand dinner on the last Thursday of November. All of our attention goes to preparing the main event. We make a blueprint and plan out what we have to do and at what time we have to do it. Some of us are lucky, or perhaps just smarter, and we realize that we do not have to cook it all ourselves. So we divvy up the roles and assign different dishes to different friends and family. While everyone is so consumed on the turkey, the sides, the gravy and cranberry sauce, and the desserts some things are forgotten. Some things are left out. We become so invested in planning out the perfect meal and have become experts in mapping out the cooking and prepping times that go into it all, that one thing is neglected. The big day finally arrives and you begin your preparations before the sun even comes out. As the morning progresses and everyone starts waking up, you realize that you do not have time to make breakfast. That was one part of the day you did not plan out. The last thing you want to do, at this point, is go out and brave the supermarkets with all the other last minute and forgot-something shoppers. You do not want to deal with that madness or with the cranky cashiers who would much rather be home with their family and friends, enjoying the day relaxing instead of working.

You look around in your pantry and in the refrigerator and you cannot seem to think of anything. Mornings are usually brought to us by breads like coffee cake, bagels, english muffins, and scones. You go through all the different possible situations in your head. Just when cereal begins to look like your best bet, you think of an idea. Scones. Sure, you can make them. Scones are easy to put together. You have time for that. Look at your perfectly planned out schedule. You have time. You grab a few ingredients from the fridge and some from the pantry. Of course it is Thanksgiving morning and you do not want anything ordinary. You are still looking to impress. Still adventurous. Two ingredients stand out to you like beacons of light. Pumpkin and cranberries. Thankfully you stocked up on both for the big event. You mix the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and other autumnal spices, and combine the wet. Toss in the cranberries and mix in the pumpkin, stirring until just combined. Quickly and efficiently you put together the dough and shape it. You proceed to cut it into scone-like triangles, and bake them for about 20 minutes until the house is filled with the warmth smell of fall. Coffee peculating. Marveling at yourself for whipping up breakfast in a cinch, you cannot help but wonder, how you would have made Julia Child proud. Heck, you would even have made Martha Stewart proud with the cranberry and pumpkin addition. Okay that’s enough self-apprecition, you still have a long list of to-do’s to get done. So get back to work.

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Orange Cherry Chocolate Chip Scones

Flour, sugar, a leavening agent, a hint of salt, and butter dance around in a stainless steel bowl. A waltz begins to play as a white paddle conducts a symphony of taste and flavor that is known only to certain breads. The rhythmic swaying of the steady movements, are all planned out. Each beat is the same and with every passing second the sound intensifies. The cold unsalted butter breaks down to small, pea-sized clumps creating a coarse, crumbly mixture. The smell of citrus bounces through the air, as orange zest falls through a grater and into the cacophony of sweetened flour and butter. Flavorings that seem like they were made for each other are added in unison. All part of a greater plan for a treat that melts in your mouth. One you can’t help but love and savor to the bitter end.

Tart and chewy dried cherries are added to the mix, not only to bring in another layer of unprecedented flavor, but also to counter balance the citrusy orange and the sweetness from the chocolate. Semi-sweet chocolate chips, in all their glory, cascade down into the crumb mixture, and douses it with jewels of sweetness. The harmony emitting from the mixer makes you smile and your heart jump with joy. Just before the aroma becomes too much to bear, the slow and steady downrush of chilled heavy cream brings the symphony to a crescendo as the dry mixture becomes a sticky dough right before your eyes. A quick mix, and a sudden halt, you form the dough into a shape resembling a square and you make precise even cuts. With each gliding movement of the blade a scone takes shape.

A skating brush paints on a thin layer of cream over each triangle of dough. Quickly they are placed in a hot oven. With the door closed, heat flies around, rotating through the confined, closed space. Baking, the scones go from pale white to golden brown, flaky and delicate. And in no time the pan is removed from the hot box and placed on a rack to cool. This precious time, allowing the wonderment to cool and come to an end in a decrescendo, the soft music starts to slowly fade. Now a faint whisper, you pick up a scone and break off a piece. As it enters your mouth and you begin to chew, you taste the layers upon layers of flavor. You’re first hit with that familiar twang of orange, and as your taste buds familiarize themselves with the citrus, suddenly a tartness enters the picture. The sharp poignant sweetness of the dried cherries, now takes center stage, and last but not least, in a final bow, the warm sweet chocolate melts into the perfectly balanced bread. The curtains fall and all around, you hear applause. Suddenly you open your eyes, as you’ve now realized they were tightly shut this entire time. The clapping, which you attributed to hundreds of fans, was really just coming from your own two hands. Slightly embarrassed, you turn to see if anyone has witnessed your display of emotion, relieved you pick up another scone and enjoy it even more so than the first time. Content with your orchestral abilities, you enter an euphoric state of bliss with nothing but orange cherry chocolate chip scones on your mind.

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Cheddar-Dill Scones

Under the covers, you sleep. In a warm bed, cozy as can be, you dream about all the things that do not seem possible when you are awake. Not only are these situations and abilities attainable but they happen with such ease and precision that it seems unnatural. In sleep, you are transported to magical places. With each dream, such fantasies and tales come to life. They spiral out of control and shoot up straight to the sky. The unpredictable takes place and you somehow forget about all your troubles and fears. There is no place or room for nightmares in your dreams. Luscious lands, abundant with riches and love are all around  you. In dreams, you are never without. Food is piled high, like something right out of Willy Wonka. Oh how you dream about obtaining a golden ticket of your own and eating your way through chocolate rivers and edible hills and valleys. All the while short orange people with green hair are dancing around you as you devour everything and anything in sight. Food, food, food galore. Bubble gum that tastes like all the meals you love so much. Plants and trees that are not only edible, but deliciously delectable.

Suddenly, you begin to hear something. You cease from drinking the chocolate river. Put down the candy flowers and leaves, and stop to listen. You can’t quite make out what this peculiar sound is. The noise is somewhere far off in the distance, muffled and yet you cannot shake the feeling that you’ve heard it before. This particular sound has stopped you in your tracks and cemented your feet to the ground, rendering you immobile. Try as you might you cannot move. All of a sudden your body feels like it’s being pulled upward, stretching, and vacuuming you through a portal. Everything around you, the chocolate river, the candy plants, trees, leaves, and dancing oompa lumpas are just a blurred spiral, now. A vision that once was, but no longer there, just blurred streaks of color. As everything is moving rapidly, the sound is getting closer. Louder and louder, you make it out to be an annoying buzzing sound. But what in the world can it be? BUZZ. BUZZ. BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. BUZZZZZZZZZZZZ. BUZZZZZZZZZZZ. You start screaming, tossing and turning, using all of your body strength to stay with Charlie and his new factory.

Your eyes open, to the bright light that is filling your entire room. You start to familiarize yourself with all your belongings. You’re entangled in your soft and warm bedding. You realize that you’ve been laying down, head on a pillow, and it all starts to make sense; you’re awakening from a deep slumber. Angry at the alarm clock for waking you up from such a lovely dream, you hit it with an unnecessary force to make the noise stop. Silence. You’d like nothing more but to stay in bed, snug as a bug in a rug dreaming about tasty landscapes and chocolate rivers, but alas you must get up. You begin to think about how in the world you’ll get through the  day when all of a sudden your nose catches something distinctive and enticing. The smell of baking bread. You jump to your feet, and run out of the room like a bat out of hell. Stumbling and tumbling, you make your way to the staircase and take two at a time to get to the bottom. Your nose follows the wafting smell and places the source at the kitchen. You enter the kitchen, enthusiastically and lively, and make a B-line for the oven. Your heart starts to jump for joy as you realize that cheddar-dill scones are baking away, and what’s more, they are just about done. Glancing at the timer, you see that one minute is left, so you reach for a plate and a fork. 5-4-3-2-1-ding. With oven-mitted hands you carefully remove your newly discovered treasure, plate yourself two and go off into the sweet oblivion that is just-baked morning scones. Somehow your day has started off on the right foot. Yup, it doesn’t get any better than that.

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