Sunday, July 24, 2016

Chocolate Walnut Scones

This scone is more on the cookie side than biscuit/bread side. In fact, the mouth feel and texture remind me of the same sensation you get when you bite into a cookie. Not just any cookie, but the Mexican wedding or Russian teacakes in particular. That buttery, melt in your mouth crumb is nothing short of amazing.

Part of the texture can be contributed to the ground walnuts in the batter. The combination of nuts and rich bittersweet chocolate makes for a delicious way to start the day. Pair this treat with tea, coffee or a tall ice cold glass of milk for a wonderful mid-day snack or morning brunch.

The dough comes together quickly with basic ingredients. The most time you will spend is forming and freezing the dough prior to baking. This recipe makes about 1 dz scones.

Chocolate Walnut Scones
adapted from La Brea Bakery

1/4 cup sour cream (or cream fraiche)
1 cup plus 2 tbs whipping cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tbs cubed frozen butter
1 tbs vanilla extract
1tbs and 1 tsp baking powder
2 3/4 cups pastry or cake flour
6 tbs sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup walnuts (toasted and cooled)
1 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

1/4 cup walnuts, grated with a microplane
2 tbs sparkling sugar
2 tbs whipping cream

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper. Dust a flat surface lightly with flour.

Fill a food processor with the nuts and 3 tbs of sugar. Pulse until it becomes sandy and fine. In another bowl, sift together the salt, baking soda, and flour. Stir in remaining 3 tbs of sugar.  Pour dry flour mixture into the food processor and combine in pulses until evenly distributed.  Once all is blended, drop in butter cubes and run processor until mixture can be clumped together, like damp sand. Empty into a large bowl.

Fold in chocolate pieces and make a well in the center of the mixture. Then take out a small bowl and stir together the whipping cream, sour cream (or cream fraiche) and vanilla extract.  Pour the liquid into the well and fold together until just combined. Mixture will still be a bit crumbly.

Empty contents onto prepared flat surface. Lightly dust your hands and knead the dough a few times and shape into a ball. Roll out the dough, forming a disc 1 1/2 inches thick. Dust a 1 1/2 inch cutter with flour or spray with non-stick oil. Cut dough into circles, re-rolling scraps as needed.

Once all the circles are made, take 3 circles and form a shamrock by pressing them together on the baking sheet. Continue with this process, spacing the shamrocks 1 inch apart.

Take the filled baking sheets and place them in the freezer for an hour. At the halfway point, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the freezing time is complete, the scones will need to be topped. Brush each with whipping cream, sprinkle on the sparkling sugar and walnuts.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly toasted on the edges. Place pan on rack to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to rack until completely cool.
                            **LAST YEAR: Almond Marzipan Roulade**