Freeze, bake holiday scones

Ham and cheese scones can be easily prepared and frozen ahead for an easy breakfast on Christmas Day.

With all the ripping of wrapping paper and worry over Christmas dinner, having a delicious breakfast stashed in the freezer can make the big morning go much more smoothly.

Our go-to choice is this recipe for ham and cheese scones, which are easily prepared days (or even weeks) ahead of time. Just mix the dough and form it into wedges as instructed, then freeze them until ready to bake. You can double the recipe, or just bake a portion of it depending on the size of your Christmas morning crowd.

When you are ready to bake the scones, take them directly from the freezer and pop them into the oven on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

The best way to freeze them is on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Prepare and freeze as directed, then transfer them to a zip-top plastic bag for longer storage.

We've opted for a savory ham and cheese scone, but for a sweet variety, increase the sugar to 1/3 cup, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and stir in 1 1/2 cups of your choice of chopped dried fruit and nuts. A handful of chocolate chips would be tasty, too.

Start to finish: 1 hour (plus freezing time)

Servings: 8

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

8 ounces (2 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

10-ounce package deli ham, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup sour cream

Directions

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Drizzle in the melted butter, then stir well. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar and the ham and chives.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cream and sour cream, then add to the dough and stir just until everything is moistened and the dough sticks together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, form the dough into a round that is 1 inch thick and 10 inches in diameter. Cut the round into 8 wedges, then transfer each to the prepared baking sheet. Freeze until ready to bake (at least 10 minutes).

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Ensure that the scones are evenly spaced on the baking sheet, leaving several inches between them. Sprinkle the scones with the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and slightly firm. Cool slightly on the pan. Serve warm.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 560 calories; 340 calories from fat (59 percent of total calories); 38g fat (23g saturated; 1g trans fats); 125mg cholesterol; 40g carbohydrate; 19g protein; 1g fiber; 840 mg sodium.