SOMETIMES it’s a welcome change to bake something lovely and savoury.

I’m sure for most of us, we learned how to make scones at school - I remember the rubbing-in process vividly well.

I’m a true fan of all things scones: I love fruity ones, plain ones and definitely cheesy ones.

They are just perfect this time of year as an ideal accompaniment to dunk into a big bowl of steaming tomato soup or as a cobbler scattered on top of a meaty casserole.

This week’s recipe was kindly passed to me from Lesley Hanson to try out.

It will be included in the Friends of Silsden Town Hall’s Past And Present recipe book to coincide with my Yorkshire Baking demonstration on October 28 at the town hall.

Tickets for the event will be on sale from Twiggs newsagents and through the FoSTH web page.

These scones are so light and fluffy, yet packed full of mature flavour for something so delicate and easy to make.

Let’s look at the flour and raising agent first - I’m firmly against discrimination of any kind here, but there’s no denying that the success to a great, well-risen scone is the flour and raising agent. The ruler doesn’t lie.

Strong bread flour and fresh baking powder will always give you a good rise, and they are a master baker’s top choice.

The butter must always be kept cold from the fridge to rub down to a fine breadcrumb with your fingertips.

Eggs make the crumb softer and richer. I suspect the protein in them might contribute, along with milk that brings the dough together.

The cheese: this of course is the really important bit, and any hard cheese to grate should work well. Don’t bother if it’s reduced fat: it’s all or nothing when making cheese scones.

Generally speaking a strong mature cheddar is a pretty good one to dig out from the back of the fridge, to accompany the warming mustard that adds heat to the recipe, along with the freshly ground black pepper.

Feel free to add mixed herbs – chives or rosemary – if you wish. It adds interest for natural pairing with the cheese.

To finish off the handsome beast, a shiny top is achieved with egg wash and a sprinkling of cheese for an entirely satisfactory bite.

In my eyes cheese scones ought to look like cheese scones, but if in doubt, always add more cheese.

Great recipe Lesley!

Lesley Hanson’s Perfect Cheese Scones

Yield – 12 large very cheesy scones


225g/8oz strong bread or plain flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

Sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon English mustard powder

50g/2oz cold butter

150g/5oz grated mature English Cheddar, hold back a little for topping the scones

100ml/3.5 fl oz buttermilk or milk

1 large egg, beaten

Egg or milk to glaze


1. Preheat the oven to 220c/Gas Mark 7. Grease or parchment line two baking trays.

2. Place into a large mixing bowl: the flour, baking powder, salt, mustard powder and black pepper, and combine all well.

3. Rub in the cold butter with your fingertips to a fine breadcrumb texture.

4. Add the grated cheese and combine well with a wooden spoon.

5. Pour the milk into a jug and add egg and beat well with a fork.

6 Add the liquid to the bowl and form a soft dough that comes away from the sides and bottom of the bowl.

7. Tip the mixture onto a floured work surface and gently knead until it all comes together.

8. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 2.5cm/1in thick.

9. Stamp out your scones using a dredged fluted 6cm/2.5in scone cutter, reshaping the remaining dough until it’s all used up.

10. Place your scones onto the baking trays allowing room to rise. Glaze the tops of the scones with a little beaten egg, taking care not to let it run down the sides.

11. Use the remaining cheese to sprinkle over the tops of the scones.

12. Bake in the oven for around 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

12. Once baked, transfer onto a cooling rack and allow to cool slightly before serving.