Bread of the Month: Indulging in chocolate scones

ledeSconeI may be going against popular opinion by saying this but, chocolate does not go with everything. Some people could eat it anywhere, anytime, on anything. But as I recently strolled through a market and noticed a basket full of dried chocolate fettuccine, I realized, surprisingly, that chocolate in that format did not appeal to me at all.

Chocolate and morning don’t always turn me on, either. While I think the French are quite cool by enjoying hot chocolate or a chocolate croissant early in the day, the thought of putting a chocolate chip in a pancake turns my stomach.

cocoa01I didn’t think chocolate and scones went together, either, but I was proven wrong. My notion of a scone — traditionally a morning treat, but not exclusive to that time of day — is something of a heavier, drier baked good (completely delicious in that way) that would lend itself to more fruit, nut and spice flavors and butter and jam on top. But chocolate? OK, chocolate chips could work, but a fully chocolate scone? Hmmm.

Still, there it was, leering at me enticingly on the delightful “Joy of Baking” website (www.joyofbaking.com) — a scone, looking very much like a scone, only as dark and fudgy as any brownie I’d ever seen.

chipsWith Valentine’s Day on the horizon, and chocolate almost a mandatory accessory for that holiday, I, A Woman Sconed, made chocolate scones, and a new version of a chocolate fix, for me, was born!

The scones come together as every other scone mixture I’ve ever prepared, beginning with blending the dry ingredients, which included rich, dark cocoa (I recommend Pernigotti).

Butter is cut in, then both dark and white chocolate chips are added (the recipe also suggests trying other chip flavors, such as cappuccino or mint-chocolate).

circleA combination of cream, a beaten egg and vanilla are added to the dry ingredients to make the dough. I ended up having to use a little more cream than the recipe called for, but this was recommended, if necessary. The stiff dough was easily patted out into a round and cut into eight wedges. I brushed the tops with cream and added my own touch of a sprinkle of crunchy sanding sugar.

The scones smelled great baking on a rainy afternoon. I thought of something I’d read recently about all the reasons — beyond eating — that bakers bake. And smell would be at the top. I sometimes go outside when baking so I can come in again and be met by the full aroma anew. And I did so during this baking, despite the inclement weather.

The scone is deeply chocolate, but not overpowering, with the indulgent bursts of white and dark chocolate within. The outside of the scone has a nice crust; the inside, buttery and tender. It is as rich and decadent as any chocolate treat. It’s like a cookie and a brownie, but not quite — and certainly not as sweet. And it’s as good as any scone, of any kind. As my longtime friend and collaborator put it: “This is a scone for people who think they don’t like scones.”

I’m not wondering what this scone would go with and when it would fit in my day. I’m wondering of new accompaniments for these scones (a little coffee flavoring? a wee bit of orange zest? a busting out my tiny espresso cups?) and when I can make them again.final

Chocolate Scones
From www.joyofbaking.com
Makes 8 scones

2/3 cup (160 ml) cream or milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (235 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (25 grams) Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (75 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup (80 ml) dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup (80 ml) white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl whisk together the cream or milk, egg, and vanilla extract. 
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips. Add the cream mixture and stir just until the dough comes together (add more cream and/or flour as necessary).

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Shape the dough into a 7 inch (18 cm) round and cut into eight wedges. Brush excess flour from the bottom of the scones, and place on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream or milk.

Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until they are firm around the edges but a bit soft in the center. A toothpick inserted into the center of a scone will come out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Can serve with clotted cream or softly whipped cream.

Blogger’s Note: I used closer to one cup of cream for this recipe.

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