Scone recipes are essentially quickbreads, which means that they’re leavened with something other than yeast (baking powder / baking soda, usually). They’re convenience items, the benefit being that they come together easily and without too much fuss, and you don’t have to wait around to eat them.
Today is the kid’s first Valentine’s Day at daycare, and I wanted to make something for his teachers. (His fellow classmates being one year old, I thought they wouldn’t care much about valentines. Turns out I may have committed a social faux pas; he got a valentine from one of his classmates this morning. I’m sure the kids won’t notice the lack of valentines from my son, but hopefully the other parents forgive me. It’s my first kid! I’m still learning daycare etiquette.) Anyway, because his daycare has a strict no-nuts-on-premises policy, I went with dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries in the scones.
Baking the scones turned into a substitution frenzy. My go-to recipe for sweet scones used heavy cream, which I didn’t have in the fridge; however, I had plenty of milk, so I turned to my go-to recipe for savory scones instead, since it used buttermilk. (I didn’t have buttermilk either, but if you let a tablespoon of vinegar sit in a cup of milk for about ten minutes, you get a decent curdle.) I upped the sugar content and reduced the salt, and sprinkled the scones with demerara sugar before they went into the oven.
The resulting scones baked up okay, but they still looked a little too hearty for Valentines Day, so I melted down some more chocolate chips and piped the chocolate into heart shapes on top of the scones for a festive touch.
You know, it probably would have been less effort if I’d just filled out paper valentines. But this way made extra, so K and I also got something sweet to nibble on the way to work. I call it a win.
Chocolate Cranberry Scones
Note: these were fine as is, but I wouldn’t have minded if they were even sweeter (it is Valentine’s Day after all). Next time, I’d increase the sugar further, to 1/3 cup or even 1/2 cup, and perhaps add a teaspoon of vanilla when mixing in the buttermilk. Also, more chocolate chips never hurt anybody; I’d probably throw in another handful of those too.
Makes about 8 heart-shaped scones
2 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, cold, cubed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp milk, for brushing
crystallized sugar, for sprinkling
1/4 cup choc chips, for melting and piping
Preheat oven to 400.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture looks like damp sand. Mix in the dried cranberries and chocolate chips, and then stir in the buttermilk until just combined.
On a floured surface (I like sprinkling flour on a Silpat), flatten the dough about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick and cut desired shapes. You can gather scraps and cut them out again, but the first batch will be the most tender. Arrange scones on a prepared surface (another Silpat or a greased pan), brush with milk and sprinkle on some crystallized sugar, and then bake 15 to 20 minutes or until scones are golden-brown and tasty-looking.
Cool on a rack. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips in the microwave (cautiously — I go 10 to 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval). Pour the melted chocolate into a small plastic bag and snip a tiny hole in the corner. Pipe chocolate onto cooled scones, and stick them in the fridge until the chocolate hardens up.
Or you could just eat them right away. I won’t judge.