The scone: Portman presents origins and recipe

Alex Lento

By Sally Portman, ’13, Contributor

Looking for a treat, and having sorted through many different recipes, Cassie Sachs, ’13, and I decided to bake simple, delicious chocolate scones.  Although scones may not be the most nutritious food out there, their taste makes them worth their slightly unhealthy ingredients.

The first time I ever made scones, I had the assistance of experienced baker Holly Dayton, ’13, so attempting them without her guidance was a little nerve-racking.  However, I knew that even without Holly, if we followed the recipe carefully and correctly, the scones would turn out well.

“Scones are a delicious morning or dessert alternative.  You can justify that when you add fruit, they are nutritious.  In all honesty, they aren’t good for you, but they taste delicious,” said Holly.

Cassie and I were more than satisfied with our batch of chocolate scones, and the recipe is included below.  But first, a little history:

The scone is a small Scottish quick bread made with just a handful of basic ingredients. Although scones are consumed and enjoyed in many countries around the world and the word “scone” has many different pronunciations, everyone agrees that they originated as a beloved comfort food on the British Isles.  They came from the ancient Welsh traditional cooking of small round yeast cakes on bake stones and, later, on griddles.

Some people claim that scones are named after the Stone of Destiny, where Scottish kings would sit while they were being crowned. Others say that scone comes from the Dutch word “schoonbrot,” meaning fine white bread, or the German word “sconbrot,” meaning fine or beautiful bread. Scones were originally made with oats, cut into triangles and griddle-baked over an open fire. Modern scones are usually shaped into triangles or diamonds but many use cookie cutters and create shapes. The newer recipes now make for a harder and dryer texture than the originals.

Now, without further adieu, here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Scone Recipe

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl whisk together the whipping cream, egg, and vanilla extract and set it aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chunks (chips). Add the cream mixture and stir just until the dough comes together (add more cream and/or flour as necessary).

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and, knead a few times. Shape the dough into an 8 inch (20 cm) circle. Cut into scones. Brush excess flour from the bottom of the scones, and place them on the baking sheet. Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture.

Bake the scones for about 15 minutes or until they are firm around the edges, but a bit soft in the center. A toothpick inserted into the center of a scone will come out clean if they are ready. Cool on a wire rack. They can be served with clotted cream or softly whipped cream. Makes about 8 large scones.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup (160 ml) heavy whipping cream

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups (245 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 cup (25 grams) Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup (75 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/3 cup (50 grams) semisweet chocolate chunks or chips

1/3 cup (50 grams) white chocolate chunks or chips

For Tops of Scones:

1 large egg

1 teaspoon heavy cream

Photos courtesy of Sally Portman.