Three years ago Dan and I lived in Berkeley, California, in the neighborhood known as the “Gourmet Ghetto.” And for a good reason. The weekly organic farmers’ market was just a stone’s throw from our place; we were only two blocks from Alice Waters’ famous Chez Panisse restaurant, shops selling artisanal ice cream and chocolate — and the Cheese Board. The Cheese Board Collective is more than just a bakery and a cheese shop, it is virtually a local institution. Every morning at 7am, it was buzzing with people on their way to work, or on their way back from a morning run, picking up a coffee and a pastry. Around noon, a long line of customers was snaking out the door of its pizza branch next door, waiting for their slice of whatever the pizza of the day was (it didn’t matter what it was, it was always good). On top of this, there was the enormous cheese counter with hundreds of cheeses manned by a knowledgeable staff, thanks to whom I ended up sampling and getting to know a number of the cheeses that I now love to have in our kitchen.
But the main attraction for us were the scones. We would joke that we picked our apartment just so that we could be close enough to the Cheese Board to roll out of bed in the morning and sleepily walk over to pick up a couple of still-warm cream scones for breakfast.So when we moved from Berkeley, I knew we were both going to suffer some withdrawal symptoms. Then I devised the most ingenious plan. I got Dan The Cheese Board Collective Works cookbook for his birthday. Every now and then, I would remind him of our blissful Berkeley days and nudge him, “Hey, how about you bake those scones this afternoon?”
It worked. The Cheese Board scones are now Dan’s baking specialty, something he does well and enjoys both making and eating. And I get to enjoy the best of Gourmet Ghetto in my own home!This is our variation on the classic currant scone recipe.
Cheese Board Scones
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups sugar
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup dried currants
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1/8 tsp cinnamon
Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder together in a bowl. Add salt and sugar and stir until combined. Add the butter and slowly work it in with the flour using your fingers until the mix has a crumbly texture. Stir in the currants, then make a well in the center and pour the cream and milk mixture in. Mix briefly. Form small balls no bigger than your fist onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with the sugar-cinnamon mix. Bake at 375 F for 25-30 min, or until golden brown.