Baking For Others: A Scone Disaster

DISH: Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones
MAIN INGREDIENTS: Cheddar, Egg, Flour, Cream

It’s no mystery that I am not a baker and, unlike certain other BGSK bloggers, I do not feel obligated to bring dessert to every event. So you might think I would have had the good sense to shy away from making rushed, frantic scones at the last minute for Rodrigo’s housewarming party, particularly when I had never made scones before, let alone any recipe that called for a pastry blender.
I mentioned my intentions to make these scones from Smitten Kitchen, and my concerns about baking equipment to Cara that afternoon during our Field Hockey match. She told me not to be silly, no need for a pastry blender, just to use my hands, and it will all be fine.

But, as any unskilled baker might reflect, I really don’t know what happened next, or why, but everything proceeded to go horribly horribly wrong. All I know is that when the recipe called for me to turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface, I looked into the bowl at the not-so-pea-sized lumps of flour and butter swimming in a sea of wet ingredients, and thought to myself: how the hell does Deb expect me to knead this, “gently?”

My well-floured surface was a mess. My hands, arms, and sleeves were too. In a moment of panic and frustration, I nearly dug my messy hands and sleeves into the soupy dough and threw it in the trash can. Instead, I tossed handfuls (of all shapes and sizes) violently onto my baking sheet, which I had neither greased nor lined with parchment paper.

For the next 20 minutes, I wasn’t praying, or dreading, for that matter. In fact, I had so accepted my failure, that I entirely forgot about the sheet in the oven. But then I began to smell sweet buttery, cheesy deliciousness. And much to my horror, there were the scones: round, risen, rustic, and utterly perfect.

Just as the dough looked nothing like hers, the scones weren’t quite the beautiful, uniform rounds Deb had pictured on her site. But they were a beautiful thing to me.

From my kitchen, covered in wet scone, to yours,



Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones
Makes 8ish Scones
Recipe on Smitten Kitchen

As for this recipe: it might not turn out as you had planned, but I encourage you to jump right in. The unanticipated result is foolproof.

Posted in: Baking For Others
  • bigBANG studio

    hot DAMN that looks uh-mazing. no joke, gals, i just made five quarts of anchor steam chili with some cornbread to go with it, but i have GOT to try these scones- perfect time of year for such a pair! and your chili pic looks so DELICIOUS- i'm afraid the shots i took of my chili looked…er…less than appetizing.

    have a swell weekend!
    xoxo lily

  • Unplanned Cooking

    Ha ha! So funny. Nice to read I'm not the only one with the occasional (okay, maybe frequent 😉 flop!

  • Kelsey B.

    LOL! I've had similar disasters! Scones are pretty easy to make though, if you want some other recipes I have a few that are a snap.

  • Lau

    I use another method to get the butter into pea-sized bits: Freeze butter and grate with box grater or food processor. The goal is to keep the butter as cold as possible. Then toss the butter with the flour. When you add the liquid, you want to add just enough to make the dough moist (there may be some dry bits of flour at the bottom of the bowl. You also want to work the dough as little as possible.

    You probably could use your hands, but you should use partially unfrozen butter and cut into small cubes…I did this for making a quiche crust.

  • Phoebe and Cara, The Quarter-Life Cooks

    Lily, so glad to hear you are whippin up some chili as well!

    Thanks, Kelsey. I'll definitely check out your scones (when I work up the courage again to make them).

    Lau, those are some great tips. The box grater is a brilliant idea. I wish I had thought of it!

    Thanks all!!!

  • Kate

    I always look at cheesy scones in cookbooks, and while they always look great, I never really know why I'd make them. Now, I can't wait to try them with your chili!!

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