Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chocolate Orange and Oat Scones

The only scones I've ever made before are a variation of  Heidi's Orange and Oat Scones.  I was so nervous the first time I made them, too - scones were uncharted territory and I didn't know if I could pull them off.  And while I love being in the kitchen and am pretty good at just making our meals up as I go, I am rarely able to actually follow a recipe - go figure.  I usually forget some step or the other and end up trying to creatively save the meal from complete and utter disaster.  Especially baking recipes - those are the real baddies.  But making these guys was super easy and they turned out pretty darn good.

 Encouraged by my successful attempts in scone-making, I decided to try again - but this time, I threw some chocolate into the mix (because who doesn't love some chocolate every once in a while?).  I had to play around with the dry ingredient numbers in the original recipe to make room for the cocoa.  

And after a bit of a math meltdown (math is not my forte!), Daniel saved the day on the number crunching front and I was set to bake away in hopes of finding a new (or at least slightly different) scone to add to my things-I-have-successfully-baked list.

So here's the recipe - they turned out good.  Definitely denser than I expected.  A little crumblier than I was hoping.  But good.  I almost thought they were better a couple days after I baked them, actually.  If I were to play around with the recipe again, I might cut back a touch on the cocoa, up the orange zest, and perhaps add some applesauce for some added moisture...or I might just leave it as is.

Chocolate Orange and Oat Scones

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups rolled oats
zest of 2 oranges
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

- Preheat oven to 350*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

- In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.  

- Cut the butter into the dry ingredient mixture using a pastry cutter until it looks like sandy pearls - try not to overwork the dough.    
(Alternatively, you can use a food processor to do this, pulsing 15 - 20 times or so after adding the butter, then transferring the dough to a bowl)

 Stir in the oats and zest then add the buttermilk and chocolate chips until just moistened (you may not need all the buttermilk).  You should be able to bring the dough together with your hands - if it's too crumbly, add more buttermilk a bit at at time until you reach a good consistency.  

- Divide dough into two equal parts (doesn't have to be exact)and gently pat each half into a 4" round (so that it looks like a wheel of cheese)

- Cut each round into 6 "slices," like a pizza.  If your dough is a bit sticky, you'll want to do this on a lightly floured surface.

- Transfer scones onto your parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 12 - 15 minutes, or until the bottoms have browned nicely.  They do expand a bit as they bake, so leave at least an inch of room around each scone.  

- Once baked, transfer the scones to a cooling rack and try to resist the urge to break into one until they've at least partially cooled (they are quite crumbly when warm)

Oh and if you would like them sweeter (or glaze-ier), I imagine they would be good with an icing sugar & orange juice glaze (mix the two together till you get the consistency you like).  If you go that route, try and go for real OJ (i.e. not the stuff with added sugar or unpronounceable extras).  Happy Baking!

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