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Flour Girl: Chocolate Morning, Noon and Night


Brownie Scones make all seem right. (Bill Webster -- The Washington Post)

I recently got married and am in the process of combining households (and cats). Of course, I'm overjoyed, but it's also a stressful time, and familiar routines are especially comforting.

It's times like this when I practice therapeutic baking: Measure, mix, shape, and in a few minutes I have the smell of warm sugar filling the house. When I have control of nothing and cats are peeing in my yoga bag, I find refuge in the microcosm of the kitchen.

Looking for something simple, I paged through Nicole Rees's book "Baking Unplugged," which gets back to basics by suggesting that you do everything by hand. Not so long ago that's how it was done, but recently recipes assume your kitchen is equipped with a stand mixer, food processor and hydroponic greenhouse to grow your own wheat for milling (organic, of course). I found the instructions to blend with a wooden spoon soothing.

And for a moment, as the scent of chocolate from her Brownie Scones (see recipe after the jump) wafted through the house, all was right in the world ... for a little while, anyway.

-- Leigh Lambert

Brownie Scones
Makes 8 scones
Adapted from “Baking Unplugged,” by Nicole Rees (Wiley, 2009).

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup flour, plus more for the work surface
1 cup cake flour
2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
3 1/2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Fill a medium saucepan with an inch or two of water; place over medium heat.
Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl and set it over the saucepan; when the chocolate has softened, stir until smooth and completely melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flours, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk together the egg, 1/3 cup of the heavy cream, the molasses and vanilla extract in a separate bowl.

Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture until a few pea-size clumps remain. Drizzle the egg mixture over the flour-butter mixture, then add the melted chocolate. Use a fork to combine until the dough holds together, then add the chocolate chips; there still will be a few bits of unincorporated dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl, and that’s okay.

Lightly flour a work surface.

Turn the dough and any dry bits out onto the surface. Lightly flour your hands and use them to form the dough into a 6-inch square that is 1 inch thick. (It’s okay to gently work the dough a bit to form into a nice square, tucking the rough edges under. That will actually help make a nice, tall scone with defined edges, rather than a blob.)

Brush the top of the dough with the remaining 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, then sprinkle with sugar. Use a bench scraper or chef’s knife to cut the dough into 4 squares, then cut each square in half diagonally to form triangles. Place the triangles of dough on the lined baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until the cut sides of the scones look just set. Be careful not to overbake; the scones will continue to set up on the hot baking sheet.

Let them rest on the baking sheet for 2 to 3 minutes, until just firm enough to transfer to a wire rack to cool for 3 or 4 minutes before serving.

Per scone: 479 calories, 7g protein, 58g carbohydrates, 27g fat, 17g saturated fat, 72mg cholesterol, 202mg sodium, 4g dietary fiber, 25g sugar

By Leigh Lambert  |  May 28, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl  | Tags: Leigh Lambert, baking, chocolate, scones  
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Comments

The directions say to divide the dough in half, but it looks like half the dough makes 8 scones, so does this recipe make 16 scones?

Can these scones be formed the night before and baked in the morning?

Posted by: emunsey | May 28, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about that. The original directions called for spliting the dough in half to shape, but I found it easier to make one square. The recipe makes 8 scones. Though you give me the idea to make mini-scones for a tea. Just bake them for a little less. That would be sweet!

Posted by: lambertl | May 28, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

And can these scones be formed the night before and baked in the morning?

Posted by: emunsey | May 29, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't recommend making the scone dough the night before. If you're looking to streamline the process for the morning you could measure and combine the dry ingredients and pre-mix the wet ingredients, but you don't want to put them together until you are ready to bake. It will activate the baking powder and that needs the one-two-punch of liquid and then heat.

Posted by: lambertl | June 2, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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