Cocoa Dessert Scones

March 28, 2010

I admit I’m venturing into cynical territory.  I once had chocolate chip cookie dough scone and thought they were okay but not what I wanted with morning coffee.

It is evening in Los Angeles.  The husband and I are readying to have a date at home–throw the kiddies in bed and eat alone for a moment of peace and togetherness and likely bad TV.

I wanted dessert.  I wanted chocolate.  While driving I felt inspired to attempt a chocolate scone that could suffice as dessert.

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 oz dark chocolate, grated

1 cup  plus 2 T  heavy cream

Pre Heat Oven to 425

Mix Dry ingredients and chocolate.  Cut in butter until it looks like coarse crumbs.  (You could alternately make this in a food processor).  Mix in dried cherries.  Stir in heavy cream until you get a shaggy mess (it will be crumbly).  Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead gently a few times until it comes together.  Pat with your hand into a round that is about 3/4 inch thick.  Cut into 6-8 triangle.  Brush with heavy cream.  Put triangles on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 min.

These scones were not sweet at all.  You could increase the amount of sugar or do what I did: 

 Mix mascarpone (or cream cheese) with a little softened butter, powdered sugar and a Tbsp or so of milk.   Add a tsp of amaretto (optional).  Heat up a bit of raspberry jam on the stove and add another tsp of amaretto.  Spread mascarpone on scone, drizzle with raspberry sauce.  Remember, these are for dessert so it’s okay to be a bit indulgent.

*A note about dried cherries.  I don’t know much about cherries.  I bought dried bing cherries.  I would buy a different variety next time that are more sour as a matter of personal taste.

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This is my favorite blueberry scone recipe. I found dried blueberries and thought they might make for a better scone texture than using fresh berries and boy was I right! I love these!  They were absolutely perfect and the texture only improved with time.

Cover 2/3 C dried, sweetened blueberries with warm/hot water while you make the dough:

2 C unbleached,  all-purpose flour ( I used King Arthur organic)

1 T baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 C packed brown sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

zest of 1 lemon

2/3 C buttermilk*

7 T cold, unsalted butter

Demerara (or other coarse) sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425. While blueberries are soaking, mix together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture is coarse crumbs. Stir in zest. Strain blueberries, then mix into dry ingredients. Stir in buttermilk and knead to bring dough together. Pat into a 1.5″ round, press a good amount of coarse sugar onto the top and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to allow dough (which will be a bit soft, but will still hold its shape) to firm up. Remove from fridge, cut into 8 wedges, separate them on the baking sheet and bake for about 14 minutes or until tops are golden brown.  Enjoy!

*I use Kate’s buttermilk which is vastly different from other brands I’ve tried. Kate’s is thinner in consistency and thus if using another brand the amount required will likely vary in that you will need more. You want the dough to be able to be brought together into a cohesive mass–neither too dry nor so wet that it won’t hold its shape. How’s that for ambiguous?

My scone fixins cabinet is sadly bare. I have run out of a number of my usual add-ins which necessitated some invention this morning. The use of wheat pastry flour as opposed to plain old wheat flour has made a tremedous difference in the quality of scones like this. Whereas regular wheat flour tends to make scones a bit chewy, dense and grainy, the pastry version makes a supple (yes I said supple in a scone post, I am slightly obsessed) dough and an end product that strikes the right balance between moisture and crumb. I am eating as I type and the scone is getting better.

1/2 C currants soaked in enough orange juice to cover (it’s best to use the juice of the orange you’ll zest below)

2 C whole grain pastry flour (I used Arrowhead Mills)

1/4 C raw, demerara sugar

1T baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

6T cold, unsalted butter

1/2 C oats

zest of 1 orange

1/2 C sour cream

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 425. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is coarse crumbs. Stir in oats, zest and currants (drained of excess juice, juice reserved). In a separate bowl mix sour cream, egg and vanilla. Mix into dry ingredients and knead until dough comes together. Pat into a 1.5 inch round, sprinkle with more raw sugar and drizzle with about 1T orange juice. Cut into 8 wedges and bake for about 12 minutes or until just beginning to brown.

I’ve tried making vegan scones a couple times.  I’m not a vegan.  I’m a big believer in the power butter and cream have in making a scone a scone.  I have never liked the end product I’ve ended up with until today.  Why vegan you ask?  I’ve got a couple friends that adhere to strict food limits due to health reasons.  (And who am I to argue with my 80 year old, wise old lady friend who is a breast cancer survivor and cautious eater in the aftermath of chemo and masectomies and the widow of a man who died of leukemia?)  The vegan versions I’ve tried in the past have been okay but not scone-like.  They were chewy.  Scones are not meant to be chewy.  After this morning however, I think I have a winner.  I used my darling older sister’s New Year’s Scones as my base.  So, without further ado, here is the vegan recipe:

1 C oats

1 1/2 C all-purpose, unbleached flour

3T flax seed meal

2T wheat bran

1 T chia seeds

1/4C packed brown sugar

2T granulated sugar

3/4t kosher salt

1T baking powder

1/2 C dried cranberries

1/4 container of earth balance natural spread (aprox 3.3 oz)

1t vanilla

1/2 C soy cream

3/4 C frozen mixed berries

turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425.

Cut earth balance into smallish pieces and put in freezer until needed.  Earth Balance has a much lower melting temperature than butter so this step is quite important.  You don’t want to be putting melted or soft spread into your flour mixture.

In a food processor add the oats and process until finely ground. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and pulse a few times. Add the earth balance and process until mixture is like coarse meal. Stir in (do not process) mixed berries.  In a separate bowl  vanilla and soy creamer. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix by hand (not in the food processor) until dough comes together–if it is too dry, add soy cream by tablespoons until it forms a cohesive mass.  (Dough should be wet and sticky–more so than traditional scone dough). Scoop out 10 mounds of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Gently press sugar into the top of each scone. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden and slightly firm to the touch. Once out of the oven, let sit for 15 minutes before eating. Warming leftover scones on subsequent days in a 300 degree oven for a few minutes yields great results.

Enjoy!

*Note:  Don’t be fooled into thinking that vegan means healthy.  These scones have just has much fat as traditional scones.  Earth Balance and Soy cream do not have lower fat contents than butter and heavy cream. 

Also, some strict vegans would not consider this vegan because I used sugar.  Sugar is not considered vegan by hardest core vegans because of the way it is processed.