Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. Same goes for toast … and muffins, and doughnuts, and the tons of other baked breakfast items that we eat over and over.
When you’re tired of eating the same American stuff, look across the pond for decidedly different options to spruce up your breakfast table. A great place to start is with bannock.
A scone by any other name
Say “bannock” and people might wonder what you’re talking about. That’s because Americans are more acquainted with bannock’s brethren, scones. (Bannock refers to the whole bread; scone, to the bread’s individual parts.)
Versatile, comforting (and, yes: amazing with clotted cream), bannock and scones hail from Scotland, not England, where we oft associate them with tea time.
With the English lesson out of the way, let’s talk about what makes bannock so great.
Versatility, Versatility, Versatility
You can easily make bannock on the fly since traditional recipes use staples bakers always have on hand: flour, extremely cold butter, milk or cream, eggs, sugar, and baking powder and/or soda. A little mixing is all you need (tough dough yields a flat bannock, and a flat bannock isn’t very pretty). After gently shaping into a disc, dough can be baked whole (as we show in the photos) or cut into triangular quarters or eighths to form scones before baking (as referenced in the recipe).
But that’s where the formula ends. Because there are as many flavor combinations for bannock as tartan patterns.
One dough, many additions
Need a side for a light lunch of salad or soup? Dill and cheddar turn plain bannock dough into something savory. Pinches of salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper make for a chili accompaniment that’s a nice change from cornbread or rolls. Even raisins and cinnamon are simple additions. But our best bet for brightening your breakfast is this lemony recipe.
(A variation on Simple Scones from All Recipes)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
- Adjust oven rack to middle in a countertop oven or lower-middle position in oven and preheat to 400ºF (200ºC).
- In the bowl of your blender, combine flour, ⅓ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in butter (mixture should resemble coarse meal), then stir in lemon zest.
- In a small bowl, whisk sour cream, lemon juice, and egg until smooth.
- Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large clumps of dough form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. (The dough will be sticky in places, and there may not seem to be enough liquid at first, but as you press, the dough will come together.)
- Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7- to 8-inch circle about ¾-inch thick. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar. Use a sharp knife to cut into eight triangles; place on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper), about one inch apart. Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.