When I first became interesting in cooking, scones became the highlight of my life. My family got sick of them, to be honest. But I loved inventing new creative ways to make this simple recipe healthier, with varying tastes and functions for each variation. I made a lot of whole wheat kinds, with flavors like cranberry orange (one of my favorite combos), chamomile tea (which did NOT work out), and chocolate-chocolate chip. I even made savory scones with rotelle and zatar (they were pretty darn good, I must say). A general favorite, though, is chocolate chip scones. They were the first kind I ever had, when I was little. And I was smitten from that moment on.
The other day I was in a grumpy mood for no good reason and decided to make some scones. With a bottle of wine and Alanis Morisette's "Jagged Little Pill" album playing, I was in my element and I really enjoyed making these Ginger Chocolate Chip Scones.
A friend of mine from college studied abroad in Ireland during our junior year, and when she came back, she brought with her an incredible recipe for the softest, most delicious scones I had ever had. The rock-hard scones at Panera? Forget 'em. This is where it's at.
Last week I made the basic recipe again, with a few additions that you are free to leave out or replace with whatever your heart desires. Another favorite combination is adding dried cranberries, then smearing some nutella while eating.
-2 cups flour
-3 tbsp sugar
-1 tbsp baking powder
-6 tbsp butter
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 cup half-and-half (I only had heavy whipping cream, so I did 1/4 cup of my cream, and 1/4 cup of water. In the past, I have used regular milk and it has turned out just fine as well).
-1/2 tbsp vanilla
-1/2 cup chocolate chips
-1 tsp ground ginger
-1 tbsp orange juice (because the dough was a little too dry)
-Heat the oven to 400 F.
-Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter.
-Here, add the ginger and chocolate chips (or whatever alternatives you desire).
-Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and quickly add the wet ingredients -- egg, half-and-half, and vanilla -- in the center of the well. Break the yolk and mix it all together quickly. (Most scones recipes mix the wet ingredients separately, then add them to the dry, but I don't think we need to use another bowl. You are, of course, welcomed to do so if you like.)
-Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until moistened through. (Add more half-and-half, milk, water, or orange juice if the mixture is too dry. I added orange juice this time because I thought it would go alright with the ginger and chocolate)
-Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead lightly. Pat into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Cut into sixths (or eighths, if you want more of them, like I did).
-Place on a lightly greased baking sheet (butter works best as a greaser)
-Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.
Eat up! They will be soft and moist and delectable...makes me want to go make some more.
*If you would like a sugary crusty topping:
-Mix a little bit (~1 Tablespoon) half-and-half or milk and about 1 Tablespoon sugar together. Smooth the mixture onto the tops of the scones before baking them.