The saga continues. This has got to be what attempt number 5,283 in my apparently lifelong goal to make the perfect scone. This time I busted out the professional equipment. I had the pastry blender churning away. I used one of my full collection of 10 biscuits cutters, available in various sizes. The bench scrapper came out when I cleaned off the table. I used my pastry brush to paint on the egg wash--that brush works like a dream. And the silicon baking mat led to even baking and easy cleaning. Yet still I fall short. To be fair, my standard is perfection.
I love scones for their balence between flaky and chewy. They aren't moist or rich like a muffin can be, but they shouldn't be too hard like a biscotti. They should be just barely sweet, just barely. The perfect scone, I know I've written about it before, would be one like the blueberry version I ate at the Boston Public Library. Flaky and crisp on the outside, dense but crumbly on the inside and bursting with blueberries. I'd hate to hear that the scone they had came from a mix. The fruit and nut scones at Delice are quite good. A close second.
I'm being a little too hard on these chocolate scones, like a parent who's ashamed their B+ student didn't land an A. The chocolate chips lend a great bite, and they aren't too sweet. I just want some more flake. That's my fault. I should have blended in the butter a touch more. I shouldn't have been so afraid of turning out dry dough onto my table. Maybe that's been my mistake all along. Scones can be quite the mess. Instead of fearing the mess or trying to minimize it, perhaps I should embrace the mess because it's that crumbly, floury, buttery mess that is the scone.
Chocolate Scones: from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
2 1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teapsoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, cold and cut into small pieces
10 tablespoons butter
5 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels
1 egg plus one egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream
Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda and salt. Mix the butter into the dry mixture with a pastry blender until it forms large crumbs with a few bigger chunks (but not too many). In a smaller bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup plus one tablespoon cream and egg. Using a spatula, incorporate the egg into the crumbs, stirring until it just comes together.
Turn dough out on a floured surface and press into a one-inch thick square. Cut into three-inch squares with a knife or pastry wheel or into rounds with a biscuit cutter. Arrange on baking sheet one inch apart. Makes 20. Freeze for an hour or up to a week. Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes.