Friday, July 27, 2012

Dark Chocolate Espresso Scones

Scones are a tricky subject.

Everyone seems to want them light and fluffy. Seems obvious enough right? Nobody wants to eat a hockey puck.

But if it is super light and moist then isn't it a biscuit?

There's such a fine line between scones and biscuits.

In my world they are defined by an egg and the consistency of the dough.

Scones use eggs, whereas biscuits don't - they only use milk or cream.

Scones also have a drier dough. They are flaky and crunchy on the outside with a soft but still substantial center. That's how I see it.

These are some of my favourite scones. Espresso coffee and dark chocolate chunks are more than enough to wake up my face in the morning!

First the dry ingredients are mixed together. I put the chocolate chunks in here to minimize the amount of mixing I have to do once the wet ingredients are added. If you add them at the end, then you will have to mix further to evenly incorporate them. This little trick will help to prevent your scones from becoming tough and dry.

Once you roll out the dough to about 1-inch thickness, use a 2.5-inch round cookie cutter to cut out nice tall scones.

Cut them as close together as you can and then press together the scraps to create that one last scone.

I usually get about 8 from this recipe.

Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a very hot preheated oven until golden and gorgeous. 

They are done when you tap on the bottom and they sound hollow. Don't be afraid of some serious brownage! It makes a delicious crust, and if they are not baked long enough then they might still be raw and doughy in the middle. Let's not have that happen.

These are best served warm, when the chocolate is still melty. 

I could recommend some homemade strawberry jam. I think that sums up one awesome morning.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Scones
Makes 7-8 scones

2 cups (28 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (12g) baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp espresso coffee grounds
6 tbsp (85g) very cold unsalted butter
100g/3.5 oz bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped into chunks
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (135ml) 2% milk, plus extra for brushing
1 large egg
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
coarse sugar for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Add espresso coffee grounds and whisk to blend evenly. Add cold butter and toss to coat in flour mixture. Use your fingertips to cut in butter into flour mixture until it is well dispersed and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger oat flake and pea-sized pieces remaining. Stir in chocolate chunks.

In a measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg and vanilla extract until well blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add milk mixture. Stir just until dough holds together. Do not over-mix. The dough will look shaggy. 

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and press together gently until it clings together in a ball. Fold it over itself a few times as necessary to bring it together. Pat dough into a circle about ¾ to 1 inch thick, pressing in loose bits. Use a 2.5-inch round to cut out as many circles as you can. Press the scraps together to cut out more rounds. 

Transfer scones to prepared baking sheet, brush tops with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Place the scones on the center rack of your oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 375°F. Bake until golden brown, about 17-20 minutes, depending on how thick they are. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool. 

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