Scone of the Month: Ending the year on a sourdough note

I , like many others who have been baking our way through the pandemic, have turned to my sourdough starter more than ever. Dear Petrie (yes, with an “e”), my beloved fellow of the fridge, offspring of “Spike” (my friend Elaine’s starter), has served me well for several years and especially these past months. With his help, I have made round loaves of no-knead yeast dough, fluffy and tangy biscuits, the best banana bread I’ve ever had and even (gasp!) an outstanding chocolate cake.

It was my aim to write one blog post highlighting all of these creations, but as the list grew, I continued to shelve a sourdough blog post project. It simply couldn’t be covered in one post adequately. Plus, I had so many more I wanted to do (focaccia, etc.). So, for the year to come, I’ll feature sourdough projects regularly on this blog. 

For all the sourdough goodies I’ve been making this year, however, I had yet to try scones. Having seen how well the biscuits turned out using sourdough, scones seemed a natural, too.

I found a recipe for Sourdough Discard Scones https://www.bakefromscratch.com/cherry-walnut-sourdough-scones/ that could be modified to include add-ins and flavors. I had in my mind some delicious chocolate-orange scones that Elaine would bake and bring in regularly to our work gatherings. Those flavors together are quite dreamy, just the right balance of citrus and sweet.

These scones call for a cup of sourdough discard (unfed starter). On my starter feeding day, I usually get Petrie out of the fridge and let him warm up a bit, so he is easy to stir, pour off the amount needed for a recipe, then give him his usual feeding.

I combined the starter with some heavy cream and a little bit of orange juice (probably a couple of tablespoons) and added it to the dry ingredient mixture, which included flour, sugar, baking powder, salt which has been blended with five tablespoons of butter, then the zest of one orange and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

The dough was very wet (I wondered if there are variances with starters and maybe mine was a bit thinner or just the range of differences in moisture in kitchens, etc., caused the wetness), but a little dusting of flour and floured hands got it to the sheet pan where I scored it into eight wedges with a sharp knife. I sprinkled all with some crunchy sanding sugar and sent the scones into the oven. Because of the moistness in my dough, I kept the scones in their huddle, but the recipe instructs to put them on the baking sheet separately. 

It took my scones about 20 minutes for adequate baking at 425°, even thought the recipe suggests a 10- to 12-minute baking time.

The scones baked up to a beautiful golden brown and filled the air with that buttery warmth only biscuits and scones can. And I was very pleased with the taste and texture. A little pleasant crustiness on the edges, the scones were tender and moist within. The tang of the sourdough (sometimes a worry to overtake flavors) was subtle and paired nicely with the citrus. The scones were just sweet enough, with those little indulgent bits of melting chocolate throughout.

Sourdough Discard Scones recipe link: https://www.bakefromscratch.com/cherry-walnut-sourdough-scones/

Blogger’s Note: For my chocolate-orange version of these scones, I added the zest of one orange and 1/2 cup chocolate chips to the dry ingredients and about two tablespoons of orange juice to the wet ingredients. I ended up baking these for about 20 minutes.

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