Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pear & Chocolate Scones

Moving to a new apartment is a lot of work, at least for a day. There is a lot of organization and careful packing and back-breaking hauling. I always swear off my large couch but then it's so comfortable once it's unburied of boxes that it nestles its way back into my heart. Your days are numbered, my monstrous friend.

I consider my most recent move a great success for a number of reasons.
  1. I didn't crash the moving truck. Granted, it got stuck in some snow and ice and it was looking not so good there for awhile but ultimately, all was well. 
  2. Nothing broke. At least not during the move. One item was dropped during the packing process and one plant was knocked over within a week of the move due to early morning grogginess but technically speaking, nothing broke as a direct result of the move. 
  3. Nothing was lost. I lost my coffee cream pitcher for 36 hours, wracked my brain, dug through two garbage bags of newspaper to make sure I hadn't thrown it away and then found it carefully packed inside a saucepan. So ultimately, nothing was lost (to the best of my knowledge). 
Now, the newly unpacked kitchen must be christened. I did my darndest to use up as much food and supplies as possible before moving so we're starting with a new bag of flour and a new bag of sugar, clean canisters and fresh chocolate chips. So naturally, the first thing I cooked was Star Wars mac and cheese from a box. It was delicious, it was childish, I found it ironic (to be in my  new grown up solo apartment eating kids dinner).

So the second thing I made really solidified my relationship with my oven (okay, it was actually the third thing, there was a batch of chocolate chip cookies in there). We're best of friends now. Scones are rapidly becoming a staple in my diet, for better or worse. Last time, we did some healthy twists of yogurt scones. Now, we're throwing all healthiness to the wind and adding lots of butter and chocolate to the mix.

These are adapted* from Joy the Baker's recent cookbook, Homemade Decadence. I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you love ice cream. And breakfast. And cake. And delicious things in general. If you're not a pear person, you can substitute strawberries, blueberries or nothing, really.

We start with the dry ingredients, mixing them together before doing my least favorite part: cutting the cold butter. I'm always concerned it won't get mixed enough. I should worry less about that and just enjoy the final product. Once the butter is cut in, the milk and egg is added.

This is where things get shaggy. And by that I mean, make it shaggy and mix together to make the dough sticky but if it's too sticky you can add some flour. Carefully fold in the chocolate chips and pear. Once incorporated, dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 10-15 times. My dough was pretty sticky here so definitely added some flour.

You can either use a glass or biscuit cutter to shape the scones or cut into squares. Regardless, you'll want to brush a second egg across the tops of each scone. The scones are baked until golden for 10-15 minutes. They're delicious warm but can also be preserved in a container for 2 days, tops.

*Note: usually when I say "adapted", it means I've forgotten enough ingredients or steps to no longer warrant following the recipe. 

  • 1 cup chopped pear (or other desired fruit)
  • 3/4 cup of chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet but you can also use dark chocolate)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of refined sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup of milk (I used soy milk but you can also use buttermilk or regular milk)
  • 2 eggs (one for mixing, one for brushing)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Next, carefully mix in the cold butter cubes. You can use your hands or a pastry cutter or in desperate situations, a butter knife. Combine the butter and flour mixture until it is crumbly.
  4. In a small bowl, beat together the milk and one egg. Add this mixture to the flour-butter combination and carefully stir to combine.
  5. The dough will start to get tough so I recommend using a large spoon or rubber spatula to fold the dough to help incorporate everything. You want it to be damp and shaggy. 
  6. Fold in the chopped pear and chocolate. Once they are incorporated, dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  7. Knead the dough about 10-15 times. This is where you can add flour to your hands and the dough if it's too sticky. Press the dough into a 1 inch thick block. 
  8. Cut the block of dough into scone-sized shapes. Place these individual scones onto the parchment-lined sheets.
  9. Lastly, whisk the second egg and using a pastry brush (or your fingers or by drizzling), lightly coat the scones with the egg wash.
  10. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and firm.
  11. Enjoy warm or save for up to two days. 

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