Why It Works
- Using more cream than butter gives these scones more lactose, helping them brown and crisp along the bottom.
- Milk cuts the richness of cream, keeping the scones light in both taste and texture.
- A pinch of sugar in the dough complements the savory chunks of ham.
When I was growing up down south, Easter supper wasn't Easter supper without a honey-baked ham on the table. Oh, sure, we had lamb as well, but by my father's reckoning, the meal was simply incomplete without ham—mostly because that man sure does love a ham sandwich. But, to be honest, a family can only eat so many sandwiches.
If that sounds familiar, just follow my lead: Dice up your leftover ham, grab a handful of scallions, and coarsely shred some cheese. That's all it takes to put a savory twist on a batch of plain and simple scones. For this batch, I happened to use some shredded Gruyère, but just about any shreddable cheese will do, whether that's sharp cheddar or Drunken Goat.
The Basic Scone Mix
The basic mix starts out exactly the same as my bakery-style chocolate cream scones, with cold butter rubbed into a mix of flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Just as a pinch of salt can go a long way to round out the flavor of a dessert, a bit of sugar stays in the mix here to offset the savory richness of ham and cheese, while softening the sharpness of green onion. Plus, anyone who's ever had a honey- or maple-glazed ham knows how amazing that subtle edge of sweetness can be.
Once the butter has all but disappeared into the floury mix, you can actually pause the recipe and refrigerate everything in an airtight container up until the date stamped on your package of butter. When you're ready to bake the scones, just dump the mix into a bowl, then add a heaping cup of diced ham, a quarter cup of chopped scallions, and a handful of coarsely shredded cheese. (When you're measuring mix-ins, volume can often be more important than weight, since it's the only measurement that can give you an idea of how much space these ingredients will occupy in the scone.)
Making the Scones
Toss the fresh and dry ingredients together until they're evenly distributed, stir in a mix of milk and cream to form a stiff dough, and pat it all out into a wheel no less than one inch thick. Cut into wedges with a chef's knife, and generously cover with shredded cheese; again, the specific amount is less important than physical coverage, but if that's giving you any anxiety, aim for about three ounces.
Bake until the scones are puffed and the cheese is melted and golden, about 25 minutes in a 400°F (200°C) oven. Do give the scones a few minutes to cool before digging in. The steam pictured a couple of photos down is the real deal—those pockets of ham and cheese are screaming-hot.
While my version keeps the flavors simple, with ham, cheese, and a hint of onion from the scallions, feel free to customize the recipe with your favorite herbs and spices. Try a bit of fresh rosemary or smoky paprika; the scone mix is a blank canvas for your cravings.
Whether served up for brunch with fluffy scrambled eggs, or at the dinner table alongside a hearty bowl of broccoli cheese soup, these fast and simple scones will make short work of whatever leftover ham you find in your fridge after the holidays.
9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups, spooned; 255g), plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon (12g) baking powder
2 teaspoons (8g) sugar
1 teaspoon (4g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
2 ounces cold unsalted butter (4 tablespoons; 55g), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
7 ounces diced, fully cooked ham (about 1 heaping cup; 200g)
1 ounce chopped scallion (shy 1/4 cup; 30g)
4 ounces coarsely shredded cheese, such as cheddar or Gruyère (about 2/3 cup; 115g), divided (see notes)
2 ounces milk (1/4 cup; 55g), any percentage will do
6 ounces heavy cream (3/4 cup; 170g)
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Sift flour into a medium bowl, then whisk in baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add butter and toss to break up the pieces, then smash each one flat between your fingertips. Continue smashing and rubbing until butter disappears into a coarse meal.
Add diced ham, scallion, and only 1 ounce cheese (shy 1/4 cup; 30g); the rest will be used to top the scones. Toss until well combined, then stir in milk and cream to form a stiff dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-inch round, no less than 1 inch thick.
Cut into 6 wedges with a chef’s knife, cover with remaining cheese, and arrange on a parchment-lined half sheet pan.
Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool at least 5 minutes. Serve as a snack, with eggy brunch dishes, or alongside hearty soups and stews. Leftovers can be stored up to 24 hours in an airtight container, then briefly warmed in a 350°F (180°C) oven to serve.
This recipe works well with almost any sort of firm, shreddable cheese, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand, from Swiss to parm.
Make Ahead and Storage
After cutting the butter into the flour, you can actually pause the recipe and refrigerate everything in an airtight container up until the date stamped on your package of butter. When you're ready to bake the scones, just dump the mix into a bowl, add the remaining ingredients and continue with the recipe.
Baked scones can be stored up to 24 hours in an airtight container, then briefly warmed in a 350°F (180°C) oven to serve.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 26g||34%|
|Saturated Fat 15g||76%|
|Total Carbohydrate 37g||13%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||5%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||6%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|