pancetta scones are the bees knees

Guys, remember how when I wrote about the Sugar Buns I said what I liked about breakfast? Meat + Carbs + Coffee. Well, you can get 2 out of 3 in this scone recipe ... and it will knock your socks off. I'm not even kidding.

I had thought about making these last week pre-sugar buns ... but I didn't have any pancetta in the house. The North End on the weekends can be a bit of a disaster at times and the idea of wading through tourists buy meat and cheese sounded a bit like torture. But, last night when I was on my way home from work I knew I needed to get milk for coffee ... and perhaps a slice of pizza for dinner ... so it just naturally made sense to add two more things to that list: pancetta and pecorino romano.

Crispy fresh cooked bacon is one of my favorite things in the world, but a close second is crispy chopped pancetta. It's amazingly salty and bite-size - so obviously I was really pumped to put it in some scones with some cheese and rosemary. You know that feeling when you are making cookie dough and you just want a bite of it because that chocolate chip looks so good? That danger exists with this recipe because all you see are the hunks of pancetta ... but scone dough does not taste nearly as good as cookie dough. Fyi.

I made these a bit late last night (a Friday) with the intention of having them for breakfast in the morning. But when these little suckers came out of the oven ... warm ... flaky... filled with pancetta... I cracked into one of them rather immediately. I was not disappointed. It was one of the best things I've ever tasted fresh out of the oven. Ever. I'd quit cookies for a year if I could eat one of these scones fresh from the oven once a week.

A few notes about these gems:
Occasion. When I was googling these gems last week, someone mentioned them as part of dinner. I didn't get it at the time, but I can see them being appropriate for a dinner. The meat and cheese makes it confusing about what time of day you should eat these. Any time of day seems appropriate. The recipe makes about 8 scones but I can totally envision serving these at a brunch as smaller little bites (16 small scones).
Ingredients. I hate wasting food. It's one thing to not eat your leftovers but I hate the idea of buying something and never using it. So, even though this recipe called for buttermilk I opted to substitute in the sour cream that I had leftover from the sugar buns. I actually really like how they turned out - but I think using buttermilk makes the scones distinctly more breakfast. Be your own buttermilk captain.

Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Dice the pancetta into 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces. Cook the pancetta until crispy and browned, then transfer onto a paper towel.

(Step 2) In your stand mixer or mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Combine.
(Step 3) Add in the cheese and rosemary. Combine.

(Step 4) Add the butter pieces and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

(Step 5) In a separate small bowl, combine the egg and buttermilk. Then, add to the big bowl. My mixture was a bit dry with only 3/4 cup of buttermilk*, I probably added just under a 1/4 cup to evenly mix and moisten the dough.

(Step 6) Gently fold in the pancetta pieces, just until blended.

(Step 7) Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and form into a rectangle or round and pat the dough, with floured hands, to about 1 1/4" thickness. It's at this point that you can really tell how well you mixed in the pancetta. 
Cut the scones to the size you want. I came up with 8 from this size batch - but I think if you were serving them with a brunch or something, you should be able to get 12 small ones.

(Step 8) Bake the scones at 425 on a parchment baking sheet for 15-20 minutes.

Shopping List
4 oz. pancetta or a thick cut bacon
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup parmesan cheese or a pecorino romano
1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into 1/2" pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk* (and maybe a smidge more)
1 large egg

*like I said before, I opted to use sour cream but either is fine. You want the same amount of wet ingredients regardless of which one you pick. If you do go sour cream, I went with 2/3 cup sour cream and made up the remainder of the 3/4 cup with water. But in order to get the dough to the right consistency I needed a bit more liquid, so I just used some milk I had in my fridge. No biggie.

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