Hey May, you aren't looking so good these days. You are cold, and rainy, and windy. I've tried to rebel by wearing bare legs and floral skirts, but as soon as I step outside my house I am consumed by your frigid air and instantly regret my choice of outfit. You've got me sleeping with my winter quilt, battling a nasty cold, and curling up on the sofa, instead of outside on the patio. But May, if it weren't for your borderline-rude weather, I might not have ever had the chance to make these scones. And eat them hot out of the oven. Curled up on the couch.
So for that, I thank you wholeheartedly.
I find scones to be tricky little things. As with most products, there is so much variation and so many different kinds that I hardly know what is what. My goal with scones has always been to make them as healthy as possible. I always sub all-purpose with whole wheat, and half-and-half milk with skim. Well, I hope to save you some time by saying that using this gung-ho healthy method can be dangerous. More often than necessary, I have ended up with a tray full of flat, dense, brick-like scones that are dry and completely uninviting. This is really disappointing for all parts involved. You feel like a failure, an unsuspecting subject almost chokes to death upon first bite, and the remaining scones are neglected for all eternity.
Anyway, I stumbled upon a scone recipe a few weeks ago that sounded promising. The recipe was for whole wheat scones done right: healthy and light and puffy, with gorgeous golden tops. I took a risk and made them for my mom on Mother's Day. I am happy to report that we did NOT have a disappointing situation on our hands. Not disappointing in the slightest. They were hearty, light, and just sweet enough to be appropriate for an exceptionally early morning.
It's still raining outside, and the weatherman isn't calling for much else this week. How about a mug of tea, a warm scone, and a good book to keep you company until the sunshine shows up?
Orange and Chocolate Whole Wheat Scones
Slightly adapted from, Orangette
The original recipe was for Whole Wheat Apricot Scones, but lately I've had a slight fixation with the chocolate-orange combo. One of the lovely things about these scones is the fact that they are hugely versatile. Let your imagination run wild- make them with any kind of fruit your heart desires!
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
Grated zest of one orange
4 Tbsp. (½ stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup good quality dark chocolate chunks (such as Callebaut)
½ cup milk (I used skim), plus more for glazing
1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and orange zest. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture, squeezing and pinching with your fingertips until there are no butter lumps bigger than a large pea. Add the sugar and chocolate chunks, and whisk to incorporate.
Pour the milk into a small bowl, and add the egg. Beat with a fork to mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the four mixture, and stir (with the fork; it works fine) just to combine. The dough will look shaggy and rough, and there may be some unincorporated flour at the bottom of the bowl. Don't worry about that. Using your hands, gently press and shape the dough, so that it holds together in a messy clump. Turn the dough and any excess flour out onto a board or countertop, and press and gather and knead it until it just comes together. Ideally, do not knead more than 12 times. As soon as the dough holds together, pat it into a rough circle about 1 ½ inches thick. Cut the circle into 8 wedges.
Put the wedges on the prepared baking sheet. Pour a splash of milk into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with a thin coat to glaze. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until pale golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm- with butter, if that's your style.
Note: If you plan to eat them within a day or two, store the scones in an airtight container at room temperature. For longer storage, seal them in a heavy plastic bag or container, and freeze them. Before serving, bring them to room temperature. Either way, reheat them briefly in a 300°F oven. They are best served warm.
Yield: 8 small scones