If you can make a biscuit, you can make a scone. That’s all they are really; sweet biscuits that you can have for breakfast or tea, preferably with clotted cream. Or, if you put big hunks of chocolate in your scones, you can skip the clotted cream.
I’ve talked about my love of scones before. I truly believe they are the king of all pastries. Tender and moist and just sweet enough; if my thighs could handle it, I’d eat them daily. Alas, like any good biscuit, butter is the key ingredient; all the others are really just incidental. A basic scone recipe is a blank slate with which you can play, putting any and all ingredients in together. I tend to like slightly more basic scones; give me currants or blueberries any day. But Joy the Baker posted some chocolate orange scones a while back and I couldn’t get them out of my head. In her post, she waxes poetic about Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. I LOVE Terry’s Chocolate Oranges and I get one every year in my stocking for Christmas. If you haven’t jumped on the chocolate-orange bandwagon yet, I suggest you get to your closest confectioner and buy yourself some orangettes (also a fabulous blogger, fwiw); you will be turned, I promise.
So when I found myself with some left-over buttermilk this weekend, I decided to get on it and make me some orange and chocolate scones. Although I used Joy for inspiration, I decided to use a different recipe for my base, one with more buttermilk (that was the point, after all, use the freakin’ buttermilk) and no eggs. I’m not sure I think that eggs belong in scones….does anyone have thoughts on this? Anyways, I turned to Epicurious and found a 13 year-old, 4-fork, 200-review orange-cranberry scone recipe (don’t give me too much credit, it was like the first one that popped up) for my base. Then I modified it, substituting some really, really good, really, really dark chocolate for the cranberries. Lovelies, this is key: use the best, darkest chocolate you can find and hack it into big ole chunks. Scones aren’t meant to be cloyingly sweet and you want a verging-on-bitter chocolate to properly set off the slightly sweet flesh. You want BIG chunks because you don’t want chocolate-flecked scones, you want chocolate-studded scones.
I always forget just how totally easy scones are to make. They come together in moments, with nearly no work. There are two things you must remember: keep things cold and do NOT overwork your dough. Cold butter lends to flaky scones and dough that’s just-barely holding together leads to tender ones. The other tip I would give is to make them taller than you think they should be; you will never have a scone that’s too tall in the end, but you can end up with ones that seem too flat. You also have a choice between hands and food processor for incorporating the butter. Since taking pictures slows me down, I opted for a food processor (to keep it cold!), but honestly, fingers are meant for rubbing (For shame! That’s not what I mean!), so don’t be afraid to get in there. There’s no reason that we can’t all have ready-to-bake scones in our freezers at all times (Mum, these are waiting for you!).
Orange and Chocolate Scones
Scones are always better fresh out of the oven. You can freeze the raw, cut scones and bake them from frozen any time; just pull then out of the freezer, thrown them in the oven add a few minutes to the baking time.
3 c all purpose flour
1/3 c sugar + extra for dusting
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 T grated orange zest
3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 oz 70%-85% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 c chilled buttermilk + extra for brushing
2 T orange juice
- Heat oven to 375°F and like baking sheet with parchment
- In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and orange zest until just mixed
- Add the butter and pulse just until it forms a course meal. DO NOT OVER MIX!
- Dump into a bowl and stir in chocolate chunks
- Using a fork, incorporate buttermilk and orange juice, just until moist clumps form
- Dump the dough out and gather in a ball, kneading only once or twice until it just holds together
- Pat into a 1″-thick circle and cut into 8 wedges
- Brush each scone with the extra buttermilk and sprinkle with the extra sugar
- Bake on prepared sheet for ~20 minutes or until just golden browned