Validating my cookbook collection, one damn recipe at at a time

18: Sour Cream, Chive, and Feta Scones — The Violet Bakery Cookbook

18: Sour Cream, Chive, and Feta Scones — The Violet Bakery Cookbook

I may need to change the name of this blog to “Dana Refuses on Some Cellular Level to Follow a Recipe to the Letter.” (Don’t worry, though; this one still turns out great.)

Folks, this bitch loves a cheese scone. I fell for them hard when I lived in Hong Kong and my local grocery store had these cheddar scones. I recall they generally went right into the microwave when we got home so we could eat them right away. I basically love anything akin to a savory pastry, including American biscuits. (Scroll to the bottom for my sad history with those.)

The Assignment: Sour Cream, Chive, and Feta Scones from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak

I’ve been super interested in this book for a long time. The pictures are gorgeous, Alice Waters is involved, what’s not to love? When I first saw it, I wanted to Julie & Julia my way through the whole damn thing. And then I proceeded to cook NOT A SINGLE RECIPE.

This cookbook is so British, y’all. It’s lovely. It’s so British, I felt the golden light of Mary Berry guiding my rolling pin. It’s so British, I felt compelled to make a pot of tea and even used my stovetop kettle to do so (knowing how apparently the Brits lose their minds over Americans microwaving water; apparently it’s a far more delightfully nerdy issue than just “Americans are animals because they don’t have kettles”).

I emphasize the Brittitude because it affects the measurements, but we’ll get to that in the notes.

The Recipe (straight from the book, which you should buy, if you can handle it):

Hey, can you find the typo in the recipe? Call it out in the comments! Does it kill me to see typos like this in a professional and beautiful cookbook, particularly because part of my day job involves editing cookbooks? It sure does! Did I have to put aside a lot of snobbery in order to trust that the recipes were trustworthy after spotting that? You bet!

In addition, I must note this.

There’s a whole scone section in the recipe list. This scone recipe? Not in that list; it’s listed with Savory Buns (giggity) in the Midday section. WHY? There’s another savory scone in with the morning scones. Why defy logic and separate this one lone scone? Is it THAT unfathomable to include it in the Morning section? And then there are the Cream Scones listed in the afternoon — which I get, that’s a tea item, I’m not THAT American — but those are categorized under Tea and Loaf Cakes and CLAIRE, I HAVE QUESTIONS. (For the record, I’ve found that these scones are appropriate all day long and please don’t ask me how many I’ve eaten in the last 24 hours, they are MY SCONES.)

Things to Note About the Recipe:

  • Back to the Brittitude! You can either choose to use the metric measurements or the American measurements… but the amounts just make more sense in metric. It makes way more sense to put your bowl on a scale and shake out 400g of flour than to scoop out 2 cups + 2 tbsp. As for the temperatures, I came to terms with the weirdness of 390 degrees, but could prob have just gone up to 400 because #myweakoven.
  • That said, the kitchen scale is a great tool here. When I’m baking, I prefer to measure by weight. Not because I’m precise, but because I’m lazy AF. I put the bowl on the scale, zero it out; add an ingredient by weight, zero it out; add the next ingredient, zero it, and so forth. Couldn’t take advantage of that so much here, but it’s a tip I’m passing forth to you that will hopefully spare you some dirty measuring cups.
  • I read the recipe well beforehand for once, made out my grocery list carefully… and then I got bit in the ass by Trader Joe’s again. Because it’s not so much that I couldn’t get sour cream there; I just couldn’t bring myself to get a whole huge tub when I needed just under a cup. In stubbornness, I grabbed a single serving cup of whole-fat plain Greek yogurt — a lovely swap for sour cream. You know, if you get enough of it. And the cup I grabbed was too small. Sigh. Allow me to self-mock my instinct to play fast and loose with the FIRST TITLE INGREDIENT of the recipe. Anyhow, I added a bit of water to make up for not having enough yogurt, and I overcompensated a bit. The result was that the insides are a bit more moist than is appropriate (nope, I’m sticking with that phrasing), but the dough turned out just fine.
  • This recipe made me feel really cool and baker-y. I had to do the whole cut-in-the-butter, let-the-dough-rest, roll-it-then-fold-it-and-chill-it thing, and I did it right, despite the fact that I jumped in a bit haphazardly. So I’ll say, it’s not an unforgiving recipe. And I was able to throw it all together after work and not have to stay up baking ’til the wee hours to finish, and I love that.
  • THESE THINGS ARE SO GOOD, Y’ALL.

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THE VERDICT

How did they taste?
Spectacular. Simple, but flavorful, but in no way boring or trying too hard. This is a great damn recipe.

Would I make them again?
Unfortunately, yes. I will be looking for any excuse to make them again. If you see me, ask if I have any, because I don’t really need all these scones for myself.

Do I recommend this book?
Based on this recipe, totally. Looking at some of the Amazon reviews, some people have had difficulty with a few of the recipes, it appears. If you’re comfy with baking, I’d say go for it; if you’re more of a beginner, this might not be the one to start with.

What’s the next recipe I want to make from this book?
It could be any of the savory tarts or the rest of the scones. Once tomatoes are back in season, I’ll surely circle back on the Tomato and Marjoram Tarts, but I’ve got to say that the Honey and Rose Water Madeleines are probably in the number-one spot. This is a very tempting cookbook.

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And in case you missed the big announcement, my podcast is now a real thing! I’m co-hosting Foodie Parlour with my dear friend Brandi Clark, a health-conscious vegan who’s currently walking a gluten-free path but is still a total food nut… so you know that our subjects are gonna run the gustatory gamut. The trailer is up, and episode 1 is coming on Thursday — click on over and hit subscribe so you don’t miss out! (I figure if you’ve read this far into my blog post, you’re probably in our target audience.)

That’s one more damn recipe done… and, er, 9 more scones left for me to eat…

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**The sad biscuit story: One time, I was going to make biscuits and gravy to bring to a party. “Who brings biscuits and gravy to a party?” Hi, I do. “That’s weird.” It was an Oscar party, and I think it thematically fit with one of the nominated movies CAN I FINISH? Anyhow, I followed an incredibly gorgeous and legit biscuit recipe, because I wanted to do it right. After going through all the steps and being really proud of the dough, I got ’em in the oven. At the end of the bake time, they were still a little pale. (My oven is weak.) So I put them in for a few more minutes. Checked again; not quite there. A few more minutes… but alas! I didn’t set a timer. By the time I realized what I’d done, the biscuits were scorched. Charred. Unsalvageable. So I went and cried about it face down on my bed for half an hour, and then I got Ralph’s mini croissants to go with my sausage gravy because fuck it.



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