Sunday, September 4, 2011

Chocolate Cream Scones

Scone, Scone, Scone, Scone, SCCCOONNES!
For some reason making scones make me feel fancy. Perhaps my brain puts scones and british people together, and eating a scone immediately makes me feel like a fancy brit who eats scones all day, drinks tea, and discusses politics while never actually doing anything. Regardless, scones are the jam, and taste great with it!

I wanted to make a birthday gift for someone, but it needed to travel easily and not require refrigeration. Recently on vacation I made lemon blueberry scones which were a hit. I couldn't believe how easy they were to make and how popular. Since these were for a birthday, I wanted something really decadent. If I was making scones for myself, I would use oatmeal, more milk and less cream, and fruit instead of chocolate. But for a present, I used all the good stuff. Granted almost all the ingredients were organic, but heavy cream is heavy cream.
All this goes to say is these are very rich, dessert like, not a healthy morning breakfast. Make with caution, extreme cravings have been know to happen.

Be sure your butter is chilled when you add it to the dry ingredients. Having the butter go in the oven cold changes the way it bakes. Scones are delicious when they are light and flakey, and your butter must be cold in order to get that end result. Similar to baking biscuits or pie crust, you want your butter cold so it melts in the oven, not before.

Use any chocolate you have. I am obsessed with dark chocolate and use it for 80% of my recipes. If you have a chocolate bar, roughly chop it up and toss it in. You can also use chocolate chips, but make sure to use semi-sweet, nothing sweeter. The scones are rich enough that you don't want a sickly sweet chocolate. 
I used 70% dark chocolate and thought it was perfect. Because the scones are so rich, the dark chocolate contrasted nicely. 

Beware of burning bottoms. Scones are easy to burn, because you need to cook them at such a high heat. If you have cheap/flimsy baking sheets, place an inverted baking sheet on the oven rack and then place your cookie sheet with the scones on top. This should prevent the bottoms from burning before the tops cook.

A food processor is not required for this, if you don't have one, just mix by hand. If you omit the chocolate chips, you have a great base scone recipe and can add all sorts of fruits and zests to make a delicious scone.

To make LEMON-BLUBERRY SCONES: Omit the chocolate chips. Add 2 tablespoons lemon zest and one cup of frozen blueberries when you would add the chocolate chips. Be careful when stirring in the blueberries so they do not break apart. 

Chocolate Cream Scones

The Goods: Makes 8 scones
2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
3 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, but into 1/4 inch cubes and chilled
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup dark chocolate chips *See note

The Deal: 
1. Be sure your oven rack is in the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a food processor to combine, about six pulses. Scatter butter evenly over the top and pulse until mixture resembles course cornmeal with a few slightly larger lumps, about 12 pulses. 

2. Transfer the flour mixture to a large bowl and add chocolate chips. Stir in the cream with a rubber spatula until a dough begins to form, about 30 seconds. 

3. Turn the dough and any floury bits on a floured counter and knead until it forms a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Press the dough into a 9 inch pie plate. This is an easy way of giving your dough shape. Unmold the dough and cut into eight wedges. 
Your dough ball
Press into a pie pan for an easy mold
4. Lightly brush each scones with milk and a dash of sugar. Place on a ungreased cookie sheet and bake until the tops are lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Can keep in a air tight container for 2-3 days. 

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