WOW! I said this about 76 times after consuming the first of these unbelievable scones, and trust me so will you. The thought of combining bacon and dates never crossed my mind before I made these, but now I’m as hooked on the combo as peanut butter and jelly.
My foray into this new flavor territory was prompted by an encounter I had with a recipe from the gastronomical hot-spot Gjelina. I have been trying to get a seat there for about three months now and I’m beginning to realize that my failure lies squarely in my refusal to make restaurant reservations six week in advance. Ludicrous I know, especially for someone who loathes non-planners, but I guess everyone has their limit. This whole debacle was kind of rubbing me the wrong way especially when every publication from Vogue to Bon Appetite was extolling their greatness, but then I got my hands on a recipe.
Now if you’re like me you don’t think of scones as tantalizing taste bud fare; they are if anything a solid breakfast food. Well folks I’m now ready to admit the err in my ways. These scones are not only spectacular breakfast, but also excellent lunch, brunch, dinner, and post bar hopping snack. The sweet, smoky flavor and simultaneously crunchy soft texture is everything you ever wanted in food. Trust me.
Run, don’t walk to your nearest kitchen and get baking. These are a bit time consuming and will make your kitchen look like a bomb went off but honestly who cares? They are so good you’ll completely forget about the extra time these took upon first bite, and if you chose to share your guests won’t stop raving about theme either!
Gkinda Bacon and Date Scones
By Gjelina Restaurant, Venice CA
10 oz bacon
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup frozen unsalted butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
Cook bacon until cooked through but still tender and not crisp, turning occasionally. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain; cool. Pour bacon drippings from skillet and into a small heatproof bowl and reserve.
Whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Coarsely chop cooled bacon. Add bacon and dates to flour mixture; toss to coat. Coarsely grate butter into flour mixture, things will get messy but carry on. Using a fork, stir in the butter to evenly distribute it into the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk; stir until large moist clumps form. Using hands, knead mixture briefly in bowl until dough forms DO NOT OVER MIX; there should be visible streaks of butter in the dough.
I’ve made this recipe four times. The scones have been spectacular every time and my kitchen has taken the same beating just as consistently. Worth it.
Transfer dough to floured work surface. Pat into 8-inch round. Cut into 8 wedges. Transfer scones to sheet. Cover and chill scones at least 2 hours and up to 8.
When ready to bake preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or use your trusty silpat. Brush scones with reserved bacon drippings. Sprinkle with raw sugar (optional).
Scones ready for the oven! Notice the large fissure in the scone to the left? The dough is barely mixed together ensuring a light crumb and crispy exterior.
Bake scones until golden brown and tester inserted into center of scones comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Store leftovers in refrigerator. They should last a few days but they’ve never hung around my house long enough for me to find out