Tuesday, 18 August 2015

American Cheese Scones - and the Tasmanian CWA

my cheesy doodle!

Last time we were in Tasmania, I found this fabulous book The 21st Birthday Cookery Book by the women of the Country Women's Association of Tasmania.  The book was first published in 1957, so as you can imagine, there are some fascinating old recipes in here.  It is ring-bound for easy handling; you can turn the whole book inside out if you feel so inclined!  So very sensible of the ladies:)  

I try to collect regional cookbooks wherever I go, as the old-fashioned culinary arts are in danger of dying out (even with the advent of celebrity chefs and Masterchefs). Another favourite of mine is also from Tasmania - The Lighthouse Cookbook; another great read from the ladies of Tasmania.  Nothing better than baking, on a cold wintry day in Tassie!

Last week I made our friend Pam's grandmum's scones; this week I wanted to try this recipe for American Cheese Scones.  Miss PP grew up in the USA (her Aussie mum married an American serviceman during the Second World War and went to live there), so she has a delightfully soft American accent, and a very charming manner.   So I thought of her when I saw this recipe, which though mostly made in the traditional way, has a few quirks of its own!  


240g. self-raising flour (Mrs. CWA lady says 1/2 lb.)
pinch of sea salt
1 large tbs butter
1/2 cup (125 mls) milk
1 egg
1/2 cup (115g.) butter
1 cup (110g.) grated tasty cheddar-type cheese
1/2-1 tsp mustard (I used my home-made grain mustard)
pinch of cayenne pepper - make it a big one if you like a bit of heat


Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl
Rub in the butter with your fingertips till it looks like breadcrumbs
Whisk the egg lightly into the milk
Pour it into the flour mixture
Mix to a soft dough with a knife or spatula 
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead slightly
Pat it out with your hands till about 1 cm thick - you should end up with an oval/rectangular shape about 20 cm x 30 cm
Cut into rounds - use a cookie cutter or drinking glass
Place on a lined baking tray
Melt the butter in a small saucepan
Throw in the cheese, mustard and cayenne
Stir over a low heat till the cheese starts to melt
Take it off the heat and stir madly till it all comes together in a cheesy, buttery gloop
Spoon over the top of each scone - about 1.5 tbs per scone (I had some left over as I didn't want my scones to drown)
Bake at 220C for about 15 minutes till golden

I have taken a few liberties with the recipe as given.  Mrs. L. Barnes of Longford, the putative author, has neglected to tell us what kind of flour to use so I have decided to use self-raising as per most scone recipes.  This book uses imperial measurements, where a cup is 285 mls, rather than the modern Australian one of 250 mls. I have chosen to stick to modern measurements!  She also forgot to mention what happens to the milk and egg, so I made an executive decision as to when and how to add them. And finally, I doubled the mustard and cayenne.  They were unexpectedly delicious! Mr P. immediately had about 6 for his lunch.  I think I may have eaten a few myself just quietly.


whisking milk and egg together 

adding it to the flour and butter mixture   

mixing to a soft dough with a knife    

patting it out to about 1 cm thickness    

cutting out shapes with a cookie cutter

cut out and ready for a cheesy topping  

melting the butter and cheese together 

spooning over the cheesy mix  

realising I had to line the tray before baking:)    

beautiful and golden

Mr P.'s washing up - he insisted I put in this photo:)  It does look cute in the sun   

A few words of warning here: the dough was incredibly soft so I had to sprinkle on more flour when kneading.  There was excess cheesy mix; you could either make a bit less or use on toast perhaps as a spread.  Make sure you line the tray!  I realised that the cheese would melt on and become rock-hard after baking, so I quickly transferred them to a lined tray.  Phew!  But they were delicious I have to say, much to my surprise and that of Mr P., as I had been grizzling all morning about how I thought they would end up like little bullets.  Nope!  They were light and moreish.  Definitely worth a try.


  1. Om Nom Nom nom! I love scones. Savoury cheese scones are the best. I have the WA version of the CWA cookbook. First published in 1936 it is a full resource that a young newly wed can use to get her through life on the farm in the middle of nowhere. It has everything from catering for a wedding with a 100 guests or public stock sale to 'hints that help in the home and preserve the temper'. But the best recipe is the self saucing pudding. I'm not a cookbook person but this one I treasure. I must hunt down the Tassie one.

    1. hi stella
      yep i love savoury scones too. these were a surprise. and i adore cwa type cookbooks. i love community cookbooks and collect them everywhere i go.

  2. Oh do love the cheesy topping - often disappointed with cheese scones that just have a token sprinkle of cheese over the top - certainly not the case here:-)

    1. hi rachel
      nope lots of cheese here:) they were tasty.

  3. I would love that cookbook, I have quite a few CWA books. And I could so go a cheese scone right now!

    1. Hi Jem
      You can buy that book online:). We did enjoy those cheesy scones! Thanks for all your kind comments.

  4. these look really delicious - I am a sucker for cheese scones - I also love your support of local cookbooks - regional cook books give a great insight into a place

    1. thanks johanna. i love quirky cookbooks like these:)

  5. These were really nice. Mrs Pickings was worried they'd be hard and stodgy but i can attest to their flavoursome wonder!

  6. they look great, I'll have to make up some cheesy scones soon!

    1. hi cate
      they were very cheesy! a hit with me and hubby.

  7. I've had this in my inbox for weeks to make sure I took time to read this and I'm so glad I did. I like collecting regional cookbooks too. Slim little volumes that you can tuck into your luggae as a souvenir. My friend Noeline used to make us cheese scones - a Kiwi originally, she of course used the Edmonds cookbook. Sadly she has now passed away but only the other day I bumped into a mutual frind and we rhapsodised over those scones. Great post Sherry.

    1. thanks fiona. it was such a quirky little recipe I just had to try it and it was so much better than i expected.


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