Ham and Cheddar Scones

Ham is almost a strictly Easter meal for me. I rarely think to buy or prepare it other times of the year, but it's tradition in my family to have ham on Easter. (Although this weekend I talked to my parents and they said they were making ribs this year instead. Why do parents always decide to break tradition once their kids get set in their ways about them? Don't even get me started on what they've done to Christmas.) 

One thing I love about ham is how versatile the leftovers are. They can jazz up omelets, be built into sandwiches, mix in a casserole, or star in this soft and buttery scone. Scones are generally sweet, not salty, but these savory scones are some of my favorites. They are little triangles of buttery bread goodness, packed with the salty flavor of ham and cheddar cheese and the mild flavor of green onion. They're easy to prepare and work as either a side dish or a breakfast. 

If you are not a fan of ham, you can always leave it out and the scones are still delicious without it. If you're on the other end of the spectrum about ham and can't get enough of it, you can always make the scones without ham and use them as bread for a thick ham sandwich. 

Not sure it gets much better than that.

Ham and Cheddar Scones

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) cold  butter
1 cup (4 ounces) very coarsely grated or  diced cheddar cheese
1/3 cup (about 1/2 ounce) snipped fresh chives, or finely diced scallion tops (the  green part, 3/4 ounce)
1 cup diced cooked ham
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (7 ounces) heavy cream or whipping cream, or enough to make the dough cohesive
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

1) Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.

2) Work the butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly.

3) Mix in the cheese, chives, and ham till evenly distributed.

4) Add ¾ cup of the cream, stirring to combine. Try squeezing the dough together; if it’s crumbly and won’t hang together, or if there are crumbs remaining in the bottom of the bowl, add cream until the dough comes together. Transfer the shaggy dough to a well-floured work surface.

5) Pat the dough into a smooth 7" disk about ¾" thick. Transfer the disk to the prepared baking sheet.

6) Use a knife or bench knife to cut the disk into 8 wedges, spreading the wedges apart a bit on the pan.

7) Brush the scones with a bit of cream; this will help their crust brown.

8) Bake the scones for 15-17 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
Yield: 8 large scones 

Recipe Source: adapted from King Arthur Flour

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