Helen Goh's jalapeno and cheddar scones

With a little acidity from the yoghurt, a clove of garlic, a handful of cheese and chopped jalapenos, these scones are ...
With a little acidity from the yoghurt, a clove of garlic, a handful of cheese and chopped jalapenos, these scones are packed with flavour. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Vegetarian

These scones are packed with flavour. A couple of simple techniques (creating butter flakes and layering the dough) ensure that the scones are light and flaky, more like an American biscuit. To minimise wastage, cut the scones into rough squares; they might look a little rustic, but that's not a bad thing. And unlike regular scones, these are best eaten once cooled. Serve as they are, or with soup or salad.

Ingredients

220g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

80g unsalted butter, cold

1 garlic clove

1 tsp caster sugar

1 tsp flaky sea salt (or ¾ tsp fine sea salt)

70ml milk

70g yoghurt, plus 1 tbsp for brushing the scone tops

70g mature cheddar cheese, grated, plus 40g extra for topping

60g sliced jalapenos in brine, drained on paper towel and finely chopped

Method

1. Prepare a baking tray (approximately 40cm x 30cm) by lining the base with baking paper.

2. Place flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a medium bowl and stir with a dry whisk to combine.

3. Place the cold butter between two pieces of baking paper and bash with a rolling pin a few times until the butter is about ½ cm thick. Tear the butter into pieces and add directly into the flour mix, tossing well to coat, then rub the butter between your thumb and fingertips to form smaller (1-2 cm) flakes. Don't overdo this – the butter should remain irregular and just visible. Place the bowl in the fridge to chill the mixture while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

4. Place the garlic, sugar and salt in a mortar and pestle and pound for about a minute until it forms a smooth paste. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, finely grate the garlic, then combine with the salt and sugar. Scrape the paste into a bowl and add the milk and yoghurt.

5. Remove the flour mixture from the fridge, then add the grated cheese, yoghurt mixture and the jalapeno. Stir lightly with a fork until it looks like a shaggy dough, then use a flexible spatula to fold the dough a few times in the bowl to just bring it together.

6. Turn the still-shaggy dough out onto a lightly floured kitchen bench, then flour your hands well and pat into a rough rectangle. Cut the dough into three roughly even pieces and stack them one on top of the other. Press down and pat once more into a rough rectangle, and repeat the cutting and stacking process; this helps to create flaky layers in the scones when cooked.

7. Sprinkle a little more flour on the bench then, using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough out into a rectangle measuring 24cm x 10cm x 3cm thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 pieces (a 4 x 2 grid), then transfer each piece to the prepared baking tray, spacing them a few centimetres apart.

8. Brush the tops of each scone with the extra yoghurt and top with the extra grated cheese. Place the tray of scones into the fridge or freezer for about 30 minutes.

9. Preheat oven to 200C fan-forced (220C conventional) and bake the scones for 22-25 minutes until a deep golden brown. Remove from oven and allow the scones to cool completely before serving.