Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chocolate & Orange Scones, Some Tea and a Jubilee

Chocolate & Orange Scones and a spot of tea for the Jubilee.
Don't know about you, but I've been enjoying watching some of the Queen's Jubilee fanfare in Great Britain. Nothing similar to celebrate here, and all we seem to do is shoot off a few fireworks and have a concert or two for our national celebrations. Kind of plain. The folks on the other side of the pond do it up a bit more. Oddly, the first scone I ever ate was in London, in 1978. It was kind of plain, too, until I plopped a spoonful of clotted cream atop, along with some strawberry jam. Heaven. I've been addicted to scones ever since, and constantly embellishing the recipes. God save the Queen, and God save my waistline from these Chocolate & Orange Scones. I'm surely doing my part on THIS side of the pond. These scones really are fit for a Queen's 60-Year Jubilee.

I pulled a basic recipe for Meyer Lemon and Dried Blueberry Scones (also very delicious) from an old copy Bon Appétit a while back and have been fiddling with it for a while to make a chocolate & orange scone that didn't make the orange play second fiddle to the chocolate. I added a secret ingredient that I think makes the orange flavor sing. I hope you like these as much as my husband and coworkers do. They've inhaled this last batch in record speed.

Note: In addition to plenty of orange zest, I've added Boyajian Orange Oil. It's much different than an extract; it's intense and rich and not floral like an extract can be. Besides this recipe, there are any number of ways to enjoy this oil, as well as the other citrus oils they make-- check them out. I've added the oils to curries, frostings and just about anything that will benefit from some deep orange, lemon or lime flavor. Self-rising flour is available in any self-respecting supermarket. You can also do this by hand in a bowl, cutting the butter into the flour with a dough blender (pastry cutter), and I would have if I could have found either of the two that I actually own, sigh. And a dough scraper will make the dough much easier to handle.

Chocolate & Orange Scones
Loosely based on a recipe from Bon Appétit 12/06

3 cups self-rising flour
4 T orange zest
1 teas. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 -1/2 stick cold unsalted butter, in small bits
1 cup buttermilk, plus 1 T
1 tsp. Boyajian orange oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips
Coarse decorating sugar or Turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the self-rising flour, the orange zest, the cinnamon and the sugar until mixed. Scatter the bits of butter over the surface of the flour mixture, and pulse 2 -3 times, until the butter is just coated in flour. There should be small pea-sized pieces of butter visible in the flour. Whisk the orange oil and the vanilla into the buttermilk, then add the buttermilk to the flour mixture in the food processor. Pulse just enough to barely form a dough, not all the flour will be wet.  That's OK.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, and  flatten it slightly and add the chocolate chips on top. gently knead in the chips forming a soft dough. A dough scraper like this may be helpful to turn it over and incorporate the bits. Divide the dough in half and pat into two circles about 1" thick. Cut each disc into 6 wedges and place on the parchment covered baking sheet., not touching.
Ready to bake!
Brush the scones with the remaining buttermilk, and sprinkle the tops generously with the coarse sugar or the Turbinado sugar. Bake until the scones are brown, and a toothpick inserted into a non-chip area comes clean, about 20 minutes.
Brown, beautiful and ready to enjoy.
Don't ask about the calories. You don't want to know. Even if you ARE the Queen.

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