If you love olives and cheesy bread, you will love a fresh batch of Savory Olive Cheese Scones! This scone recipe is great with breakfast, with a bowl of soup or with a charcuterie board and a glass of wine! This recipe is inspired by my California Ripe Olives Grove Tour. This post is brought to you by California Ripe Olives.
With each step, we walked deeper into the olive grove, the trees standing gracefully at attention on either side. Their graceful branches drooped down, sometimes brushing our shoulders, greeting us along the way. Some of the trees looked young and springy, while some showed their gnarly trunks, each twist and knob telling of a life well lived. According to our guide, this grove was about 40 years old, and while I thought of them as middle-aged, the truth is, they are still young spring chickens, in olive tree years.
It reminded me of the 1000-year-old olive trees I saw when I traveled to Israel with my family when I was younger, and how even then, I fell in love with them. Because, my friends, it is possible to fall in love with trees.
But the thing is, it wasn’t until later in life that my love for the fruit caught up with the trees…and surpassed them. Living here in California, I have grown to appreciate olives just as much as I have figs — did you know that California produces 95% of the ripe olives in the United States? It’s hard not to fall in love! And when I buy California Ripe Olives, I actually have to buy at least triple than I need because the truth is, olives disappear right from underneath my nose when I’m cooking with them — my kids and husband just sneak them as quickly as I can open a can!
I was thrilled to join my friends at California Ripe Olives when they invited me to join them in an olive grove tour. I made the drive down to Fresno to spend the day at the grove, immersing myself in all things olives.
At the Ricchiutti Family Farm, we spent the morning with Vincent Ricchiutti, a fourth-generation farmer who holds the torch for a family business started by his grandfather in 1914. As we walked through the grove, he explained how despite the olive tree’s seemingly low maintenance ways and adaptability to drought and soil, it, of course, takes so much work and technology to welcome each year’s harvest. From modern irrigation methods and even aerial mapping, this is modern farming at its best. The grove we visited had recently been harvested; harvest only takes place once a year and most of the time the olives are picked by hand.
Did you know that when you open a can of California Ripe Olives, black or green, ALL olives are picked when they are green? They all follow the same curing process, which takes approximately 7 days in a sodium solution to leach out any bitterness, a process originated in the late 1800s by Freda Ehmann, a remarkable woman, and California Ripe Olive pioneer. The key difference between black and green olives is that green olives remain green because they are not exposed to oxygen during the curing process. That’s it!
We spent part of the day surrounded by the olive trees creating charcuterie boards, and I couldn’t help but think that something was missing. I wanted something doughy and buttery to go with all the olives, charcuterie, cheese, and wine — I knew that when I returned home, I would make a batch of Savory Olive Cheese Scones.
You won’t be able to resist the scent of butter and cheese baking into a flaky scone as the oven works its magic…and studded within the scones are the olives, buttery and flavorful. If you’re the type of person who can’t get enough olives in your pizza, you’re going to have to clear your schedule. You have some baking to do! Enjoy them on their own, with a smear of butter, or with a soup or salad, or even better, a glass of wine!
This is California, after all!
Disclosure: This post is brought to you in partnership with California Ripe Olives. Thank you for supporting brands that matter to me; sponsored posts such as this help behind the scenes at Kitchen Confidante. All opinions in this post are, as always, my own.
Savory Olive Cheese Scones
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup chopped California Ripe Olives drained well
- 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (if you can find extra-sharp cheddar, even better)
- 2 tablespoons chives chopped
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- sea salt
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture, until you have coarse crumbs. This can also be done with two knives or a food processor.
- Whisk the eggs lightly and combine with the buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just moist.
- Place the olives between a few layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- In a small bowl, mix together the olives, cheddar, and chives. Add this to the batter, then mix lightly. The dough will be sticky.
- On a floured surface, turn the sticky dough out and knead lightly until all the olives, cheese, and chives are incorporated into the dough. Dust with flour, as needed, if the dough feels too wet. Divide the dough into two pieces and form two balls of dough.
- Roll one ball of dough into 3/4-inch thick 6 inch circles. Cut out 6 wedges. Repeat with the second ball of dough. You should have 12 scones. Place the scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, and lightly brush with buttermilk. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place the scones in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Once the scones are chilled, bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm.