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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Recipe: Chocolate Orange Almond Scones

Chocolate Orange Almond Scone

Recipe: Chocolate Orange Almond Scones



When it comes to the world view on Scones, there is anything but consensus. Some people love the just-slightly-sweet, flaky crumble of these miniature quick breads (i.e. breads that are leavened with Baking Soda or Baking Powder). Others feel that those exact characteristics make for dry and flavorless cakes. "Why bother?" they ask at brunch. "Just give me a Glazed Donut!"

To each their own. But the discord doesn't end there. Diametrically opposed tastes notwithstanding, it seems people can't even agree on the pronunciation. In the United States, "Scone" rhymes with "Cone". But in the United Kingdom, and most certainly in Scotland, which seems to have the most valid claim on having invented the cake, the pronunciation of "Scone" rhymes with "Con". Nothing in life is easy.

While I can't settle the pronunciation issue, hopefully I can bring more people to enjoy a good Scone. To the detractors... yes, a Scone is flaky, but it should not be dry. A well-baked Scone should remain moist in the center. Granted, the relatively low Sugar and Butter content (compared to something like a Pound Cake) means a Scone will become dry quickly, so Scones should always be served on the day they are made. But if a freshly baked Scone is dry, it was a poor recipe or it was over-baked.

And while some may think it's cheating, a few simple enhancements can add flavor and moisture to a Scone. Typically made with Currents or Raisins, there is no reason why you can't be more playful with what you stir into the final Scone Dough. I grabbed a bag of Chocolate Chips - personal preference. And a simple Glaze can go a long way. Not only does it directly add flavor and moisture, but it helps to seal in the moisture of the Scone itself.


Plated Chocolate Orange Almond Scone
Traditionally a part of a light afternoon tea such as a Cream Tea or Devonshire Tea, Scones are a simple, single serving Cake perfect for the occasion. Unlike a Tea Cake, they are leavened with Baking Soda or Baking Powder rather than Yeast.

Raw and Toasted Almonds
Scone Dough is extremely simple. However, for these Chocolate Orange Almond incarnations, the are several components that should be made in advance.

First, toast the Raw Almond Slices. The Toasted Almond Slices are sprinkled onto the glazed Scones at the very end. Approximately 10 minutes in a 350 degree Fahrenheit (177 degree Celsius) oven is all it takes to release a depth of flavor. Set the Toasted Almond Slices aside to cool.

Oranges to Candy
Minced Candied Orange Peel joins the Toasted Almond Slices as a final garnish for the glazed Scones... although Candied Orange Peel is really so much more than a garnish. 

A process of repeated blanching (to remove bitterness) followed by a slow simmer in a Simple Syrup makes delicious candy of the Orange Peel.

Orange Peels to Candy
Using a peeler or paring knife, peel the Oranges in long strips, being careful to avoid as much of the white pith as possible. If there is too much pith remaining on the Orange Peel slices, cut it away with a sharp paring knife.

If you are going through the trouble of making some Candied Orange Peel for the Scones, consider making and even larger batch for future uses. You will only need about one Orange worth of Candied Orange Peel for a single Scone recipe. However, Candied Orange Peel keeps well for months, and it's a nice ingredient to have on hand.

Save the juice from the peeled Oranges and use it later on to make the Orange Glaze.

Julienned Orange Peels to Candy
Julienne the Orange Peels by cutting them lengthwise into strips between 1/8" and 1/16" wide. 

Blanche the julienned Orange Peels by placing the strips into a medium pot of water and bringing it to a boil. As soon as the water is boiling, remove it from the heat and strain the julienned Orange Peels from the water. Refill the pot with cold water, place the julienned Orange Peels back into the pot and bring the water to a boil. Repeat the process of boiling and straining the julienned Orange Peels for a total of three time. 

Candied Orange Peel
Set the blanched Orange Peel slices aside. Make a Simple Syrup by combining equal parts White Granulated Sugar and Water in a medium pot and bringing it to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to keep the Simple Syrup at a low simmer. 

Candy the blanched Orange Peel slices in the Simple Syrup, letting them simmer until they turn translucent - approximately 10 minutes. When the Candied Orange Peel slices are soft and translucent, strain them from the Simple Syrup.

Save the Simple Syrup. You never know when it will come in handy.

Minced Candied Orange Peel
Place the Candied Orange Peel slices in a bowl of sugar, coating them well. Set the bowl of sugar-coated Candied Orange Peel slices aside to dry for a couple of hours (ideally overnight). Toss the Candied Orange Peels occasionally to prevent them from sticking together. The Candied Orange Peels will take longer to dry in humid weather; however, you can still mince them even if they remain slightly sticky. 

Once dry, shake any excess sugar from the Candied Orange Peel slices and place them on a cutting board. Mince the Candied Orange Peel slices with a sharp knife. Set the minced Candied Orange Peel aside.

Butter Cut into Dry Ingredients
After that somewhat lengthy garnish preamble (it will be worth it, I promise), it's time to make the actual Scone Dough.

Combine the dry ingredients (All Purpose Flour, Baking Powder, White Granulated Sugar and Salt) in a large bowl. Cube the chilled Butter and "cut" it into the dry ingredients - using a pastry cutter, butter knife or your fingers, break the chilled Butter into smaller and smaller pieces within the dry ingredient mixture. Keep cutting the Butter into the dry ingredients until the pieces are pea-sized. Gently stir the Miniature Chocolate Chips into the dry ingredient mixture.

It is important to use cold, solid Butter. If the Butter melts into the dry ingredients or if the Butter is cut into too small pieces, then the Scones will not be as flaky.

In a separate bowl, briefly whisk together the Whole Egg, Egg Yolk, Heavy Cream, Vanilla Extract and Orange Zest.
Stream the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients while stirring gently. Continue stirring until the mixture just comes together into a soft, homogeneous dough. If the Scone Dough appears too dry, add a little more Heavy Cream.


Do not over-mix the Scone Dough. Mixing develops gluten, which creates a tougher texture. It also breaks up those pea-sized pieces of Butter, and those need to be preserved in order to achieve that desired flaky texture.


Unbaked Scones
When it comes to portioning and shaping the individual Scones, there are no rules. Just keep in mind that the less the Scone Dough is handled, the better the final product.

For modest-sized, wedge shaped Scones, divide the Scone Dough into two equal portions (approximately 400g) and roll each portion on a lightly floured surface into circles approximately 6" wide and 3/4" thick. Do not overwork the Scone Dough as your roll. 

Cut each circle into eight slices like a pie. Place the individual Scones on a parchment lined sheet tray. If you plan to bake the Scones immediately, brush them with Heavy Cream.

Baked Scones
Once formed, the Scones can baked, or they can be stored in either the refrigerator or freezer for future baking. The raw Scones will keep for 2-3 days wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator or for several weeks in the freezer. 

Bake the Scones at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) for approximately 17 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly golden brown. Transfer the baked Scones to a wire cooling rack to cool. When baking the Scones directly from the refrigerator or freezer, allow the Scone Dough to temper at room temperature first.

While the Scones bake and cool, make the Orange Glaze. Combine the Powdered Sugar and Vanilla Extract in a medium mixing bowl. While whisking gently, slowly stream the Orange Juice into the Powdered Sugar until the desired consistency is achieved. You may not need all of the Orange Juice. The Orange Glaze should be fluid enough to easily pour onto the Scones leaving a thin coating, but it should not be so liquid as to run down the sides and be transparent.

Chocolate Orange Almond Scones
Either dip the tops of the cooled Scones into the Orange Glaze or pour a thin coating on top of each Scone. Place the glazed Scones on a wire rack over a sheet tray for the Orange Glaze to set. 

While the Orange Glaze is still wet, dust the top of each Scone with some of the Toasted Almonds and the minced Candied Orange Peel.

Cutting into a Chocolate Almond Scone
Scones are without question best served the day they are made, so enjoy them while they're fresh!

Inside Texture of Plated Chocolate Orange Almond Scone
A well-made Scone should be flaky but moist on the inside and lightly golden brown on the exterior, particularly on the bottom.

Chocolate Orange Almond Scones
While the Scones should be served on the day they are made, they can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, but they will quickly become dry.

The Scone Dough can be mixed, rolled, and portioned into individual scones in advance. The raw Scone Dough will keep for 2-3 days wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator or for several weeks in the freezer. When baking the Scones from the refrigerator or freezer, allow the Scone Dough to temper first. 





- The Recipe -




Chocolate Orange Almond Scones:


Yield: 16 Scones 

Adapted from the recipe for Savoy Scones, part of the Professional Pastry Arts Program at the International Culinary Center.


Ingredients:
  • All Purpose Flour: 330g (2.75 Cups)
  • Baking Powder: 19g (4 tsp)
  • White Granulated Sugar: 50g (0.25 Cup)
  • Salt: 3g (0.5 tsp)
  • Butter, chilled: 113g (0.5 Cup / 1 stick)
  • Miniature Chocolate Chips: 120g (4oz)


  • Whole Egg: 50g (1x)
  • Egg Yolk: 18g (1x)
  • Heavy Cream: 135g (0.5 Cup + 1 Tbls)
  • Vanilla Extract: 4g (1 tsp)
  • Orange, zest: 1x medium


  • Raw Almond Slices, toasted: 35g (0.25 Cup)
  • Candied Orange Peel, minced: 1 Recipe (below)



Candied Orange Peel:
  • Oranges: 2x medium


  • White Granulated Sugar: 400g (2 Cups)
  • Water: 400g (1 2/3 Cups)



Orange Glaze:
  • Powdered Sugar: 300g (2.5 Cups)
  • Oranges, juiced: 2x - 80g (1/3 Cup)
  • Vanilla Extract: 4g (1 tsp)




Directions:

1. Toast the Almonds: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius). Place the Raw Almond Slices in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet tray and toast them in the oven until they are light brown and fragrant - approximately 10 minutes. Remove the Toasted Almonds from the oven and set them aside to cool.

2. Candy the Orange Peel: Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel the Oranges into long, wide strips. As you peel, try to avoid as much of the white pith as possible. If there is too much pith remaining on the Orange Peel slices, cut it away with a sharp paring knife. Save the juice from the peeled Oranges for making the Orange Glaze.

Chef's Note: The Scones will not need all of the Candied Orange Peel from this recipe; however, if you are undertaking this process, it's just as easy to make more as it is to make less. 

3. Julienne the Orange Peels by cutting them lengthwise into strips between 1/8" and 1/16" wide. Blanche the julienned Orange Peels by placing the strips into a medium pot of water and bringing it to a boil. As soon as the water is boiling, remove it from the heat and strain the julienned Orange Peels from the water. Refill the pot with cold water, place the julienned Orange Peels back into the pot and bring the water to a boil. Repeat the process of boiling and straining the julienned Orange Peels for a total of three time.

Chef's Note: Blanching the Orange Peels softens the skin and removes much of the bitterness.

4. Set the blanched Orange Peel slices aside. Make a Simple Syrup by combining the White Granulated Sugar and Water in a medium pot and bringing it to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to keep the syrup at a low simmer. Candy the blanched Orange Peel slices in the Simple Syrup, letting them simmer until they turn translucent - approximately 10 minutes. When the Candied Orange Peel slices are soft and translucent, strain them from the Simple Syrup.

Chef's Note: You may want to save the Orange Simple Syrup for future use. You never know when it may come in handy.

5. Place the Candied Orange Peel slices in a bowl of sugar, coating them well. Set the bowl of sugar-coated Candied Orange Peel slices aside to dry for a couple of hours (ideally overnight). Toss the Candied Orange Peels occasionally to prevent them from sticking together. The Candied Orange Peels will take longer to dry in humid weather; however, you can still mince them even if they remain slightly sticky. Once dry, shake any excess sugar from the Candied Orange Peel slices and place them on a cutting board. Mince the Candied Orange Peel slices with a sharp knife. Set the minced Candied Orange Peel aside.

6. Prepare the Scone Dough: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).

7. Combine the dry ingredients (All Purpose Flour, Baking Powder, White Granulated Sugar and Salt) in a large bowl. Cube the chilled Butter and cut it into the dry ingredients - using a pastry cutter, butter knife or your fingers, break the chilled Butter into smaller and smaller pieces within the dry ingredient mixture. Keep cutting the Butter into the dry ingredients until the pieces are pea-sized. Gently stir the Miniature Chocolate Chips into the dry ingredient mixture.

Chef's Note: It is important to use cold, solid Butter. If the Butter melts into the dry ingredients or if the Butter is cut into too small pieces, then the Scones will not be as flaky.

8. In a separate bowl, briefly whisk together the Whole Egg, Egg Yolk, Heavy Cream, Vanilla Extract and Orange Zest. Stream the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients while stirring gently. Continue stirring until the mixture just comes together into a soft, homogeneous dough. If the Scone Dough appears too dry, add a little more Heavy Cream.

Chef's Note: Do not over-mix the Scone Dough.

9. Divide the Scone Dough into two equal portions (approximately 400g) and roll each portion on a lightly floured surface into circles approximately 6" wide and 3/4" thick. Do not overwork the Scone Dough as your roll. Cut each circle into eight slices like a pie. Place the individual Scones on a parchment lined sheet tray. Brush the Scones with Heavy Cream.

10. Bake the Scones at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) for approximately 17 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly golden brown. Transfer the baked Scones to a wire cooling rack to cool.

11. Prepare the Orange Glaze: While the Scones bake and then cool, combine the Powdered Sugar and Vanilla Extract in a medium mixing bowl. While whisking gently, slowly stream the Orange Juice into the Powdered Sugar until the desired consistency is achieved. You may not need all of the Orange Juice. The Orange Glaze should be fluid enough to easily pour onto the Scones leaving a thin coating, but it should not be so liquid as to run down the sides.

12. Either dip the tops of the cooled Scones into the Orange Glaze or pour a thin coating on top of each Scone. Place the glazed Scones on a wire rack over a sheet tray for the Orange Glaze to set. While the Orange Glaze is still wet, dust the top of each Scone with some of the Toasted Almonds and the minced Candied Orange Peel.


Storage:
- The Scones should be served on the day they are made. The Scones can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, but they will quickly become dry.
- The Scone Dough can be mixed, rolled, and portioned into individual scones in advance. The raw Scone Dough will keep for 2-3 days wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator or for several weeks in the freezer. When baking the Scones from the refrigerator or freezer, allow the Scone Dough to temper first.


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2 comments:

  1. Mother would store her scones with a slice of apple. I'm assuming that was to help with keeping it moist. Most scones tho, didn't last past 2nd day --eaten. She made hers with golden raisins and blk walnuts. (Scotland) or strawberries. Thank you for the details on the candied peel. I watched Jacques Pépin with daughter making grapefruit with chocolate. Yum both ways. Thank you

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    Replies
    1. Storing with an Apple is an interesting idea. But we, too, seldom have to worry about them going stale given our voracious appetites!

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