Scones are sort of the underdogs of baked goods. They're always looked over and come second to their lighter, fluffier, prettier counterparts. But they have their own great qualities. Just like how there's a person you always thought was stuck up, and once you get to know them you realize they're just shy and actually really sweet. Scones are the pastry version of that misunderstood person. Once you get to know them, they're really nice and sweet!
I like to think they're pretty humble. Not too show off-y, not covered in frosting or fancy decorations, just simple. If you've had a bad scone before, I'm sure you can't forget it. Bad scones are dry and tough. But when a scone is made right, it's interior is light, tender, and fluffy, and a little bit cakey. Humble to the eye, but anything but to the mouth.
So what exactly IS a scone? Is it a biscuit? A muffin? A rock? No, these aren't stones, they're scones. Scones are cousins to biscuits. Maybe you could call them siblings. They differ from biscuit recipes in that they contain eggs (usually 1 egg), and heavy cream. Biscuits usually only have milk or buttermilk as the liquid.
Scones are often a tad sweeter than biscuits, as they contain some sugar and biscuits usually do not. Also, scones are more of a breakfast-only baked good. Of course, I have definitely had a couple of these for lunch this past week. And I'm not complaining.
They're great with coffee or tea. And you can switch up the add-ins to create endless possibilities.
Paul has been asking for me to make these scones for a while now. We used to live in San Luis Obispo, and down there Splash Cafe is a really well-known cafe. They sell some chocolate orange scones that Paul still raves about, 3 years after we've moved away.
Of course, I had to make these as my first scone recipe for the blog! He insisted they had to be mini chocolate chips, and I'm glad I listened! They add just the right amount of chocolate to the scones. And the orange zest isn't overpowering either. They're really amazing.
If you've ever had the chocolate oranges that are out at Christmas time, (they're totally my favorite thing to get in my stocking), they remind me of those. But in a breakfast form! (Note, Paul disagrees. He says he hates those chocolate oranges and think theses scones are nothing like them). They're so good, you have to try them!
Chocolate Chip Orange Zest Scones:
Recipe adapted from Baker Bettie
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. orange zest
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
+a few tablespoons of cream for brushing on the tops before baking
sugar for sprinkling before baking
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Mix in orange zest, making sure there are no clumps.
Cut the cold butter cubes in, using a fork, knife, or your fingers. Cut the butter down to chunks a little larger than the size of peas.
Mix in chocolate chips.
In a small bowl, whisk cream and the egg.
Gently stir cream mixture into the large bowl until just combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and gently pat the dough down with your fingertips.
Fold the dough over itself and pat down. Repeat 3-4 times. Be careful not to handle the dough too much or it will cause the scones to be tough and hard.
Form into a flat round, and cut into 6 even scones with a sharp knife or bench scraper.
Place onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Coat with cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and enjoy!