Each time I visit Yountville I must wait in the long line at Bouchon Bakery. At first, you may think that it will be eternity until you get inside to preview all of the delightful goodies that await you, but it does goes rather quick, especially if you have a friend with you to pass the time. If you are by yourself, then listening and watching all of the people will surly pass the time for you. People come from around the country and the globe to have one of those light green boxes filled with the spectacular treats that Thomas Keller is so well known for.
Last time I went to Yountville, I purchased the Bacon Cheddar Scones and devoured it in the car on the way home. I could not believe how absolutely delicious this scone was. As I was driving home, I kept trying to determine what made these so tasty. Was it the butter, bacon and white cheddar cheese? I think those were definitely part of the tasty equation. There was something else that was added that I could not quite put my finger on.
I saved half the scone to examine closer when I got home. I proceeded to sift through my Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery Cookbook to find the recipe for the Bacon Cheddar Scones. Ah ha – there it was. After I looked at the recipe, it hit me like a ton of bricks. There was a certain smoky sweetness on the top of the scone and according to the recipe it was just brushed with heavy cream and sprinkled with white cheddar cheese.
I truly believe that they brushed a coating of bacon drippings (a.k.a. bacon fat) on top of each scone along with a tad of sugar then the heavy cream and cheese. It was not in the recipe, but I think it was the “secret” ingredient. So with that bit of discovered information, I slightly altered the recipe by brushing bacon grease on top then a quick sprinkle of sugar and proceeded to lightly brush with cream and top with cheese. The result was out of this world delicious!
Bouchon Bakery Bacon Cheddar Scones
¾ Cup plus 1 teaspoon All purpose Flour
1 ½ Cup plus ½ teaspoon Cake Flour
1 ½ teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon Baking Powder
3/8 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Tablespoons plus ¾ teaspoon Sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon Salt
4.7 oz. Cold Butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces
¼ Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream
¼ Cup plus 2 ½ Tablespoons Crème Fraiche
12 oz. Applewood Smoked Bacon, cooked, drained and cut into ¼ inch pieces
2 Cup Grated White Cheddar Cheese
¼ Cup Minced Chives
½ Cup Grated White Cheddar Cheese (for top of scones)
Freshly Ground Pepper
3 Tablespoon Bacon Drippings
¼ Cup Sugar
Place the all-purpose flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Sift in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar and mix on the lowest setting for about 15 seconds to combine. Add the salt and mix to combine. Stop the mixer, add the butter and, on the lowest setting (to keep the flour from flying out of the bowl), pulse to begin incorporating the butter. Increase the speed to low and mix for about 3 minutes to break up the butter and incorporate it into the dry mixture. If any large pieces of butter remain, stop the mixer, break them up by hand, and mix until just incorporated.
With the mixer running, slowly pour in the cream. Add the crème fraîche and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, until all of the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough comes together around the paddle. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and paddle and pulse again to combine. Add the bacon, the 2 cups cheese, and the chives and pulse to incorporate.
Mound the dough on the work surface and, using the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together. Place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and, using your hands, press it into a 7-by-9-inch block, smoothing the top. Press the sides of your hands against the sides of the dough to straighten them. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours, until firm.
Line a sheet pan with a Silpat or parchment paper. Cut the block of dough lengthwise in half and then cut each half crosswise into 6 rectangles. Arrange them on the prepared sheet pan, leaving space between them. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until frozen solid, at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. (The scones can remain in the freezer for up to 1 month.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (convection) or 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with a Silpat or parchment paper.
Arrange the frozen scones 1 inch apart on the sheet pan. Brush the tops with the reserved bacon fat and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of sugar the sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and black pepper. Bake until golden brown, 24 to 27 minutes in a convection oven, 33 to 36 minutes in a standard oven. Set the sheet on a cooling rack and cool completely.
The scones are best the day they are baked, but they can be stored in a covered container for 1 day.
Note: Recipe slightly altered from Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery Cookbook