(Part I of II: Musings on precision, ovens, and whatnot)
Scones, I’ve promised scones. So those are on the menu today. And there’s also peppermint bark. Those two will finish up my musings on precision, ovens, and whatnot, and then I’ll have to tell you all about my new favorite books. It’s never ending, I’ll say.
So I’ve officially conquered scones. The first time I made them, they made a fool out of me; it was trickery of the highest order. The recipe looked deceptively simple, yet the scones proved to be exceptionally finicky, the jerks, and served only to reinforce my grudge toward foods that depended too heavily upon baking soda, flour, and sugar chiefly among other ingredients. In order to move forward in any constructive way, I had to repress this incident, and with my competitive spirit urging me forward, try it again. Try it to win, that is.
The chocolate chip scones I made a few weeks back could be considered a win, to be sure. They rose, bless their heavy-handed dose of baking soda and powder, and they actually resembled something I would want to eat for breakfast, alongside a cup of coffee. They’re orange-scented, scattered with a generous handful of dark chocolate, and they go particularly well with new Christmas pajamas and a large gathering of relatives. You don’t need that exact combination, of course, but I would highly recommend it.
Chocolate Chip Scones
(Adapted from Bon Appetit)
Note: The orange flavor, with only 1 tablespoon of grated peel, is faint. If you want a more robust, citrusy scone, add a bit more. Also, if you want a slightly higher yield and slightly smaller scones, use a circular cookie cutter. That’s what I did.
3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 ½ sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
Generous handful dark chocolate chips, or about ½ cup
1 cup chilled buttermilk
Get your oven good and ready at 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into large bowl. Stir in orange peel. Add the butter, and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal, much like you would with a pie crust. Gently mix in dark chocolate. Gradually add buttermilk, tossing with fork until moist clumps form. Roughly ball the dough together with your hands, being careful not to overwork it.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead briefly to bind dough; you only need to knead (sorry) about four times. Form dough into 1-inch-thick round. Cut into 8 wedges for traditional shaped and sized scones, or use your cookie cutter to make smaller circles. (Be sure to consistently ball up the leftovers to make more circles, until dough is all used up.) Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar if you’d like, and bake until tops of scones are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let stand on baking sheet 10 minutes.