Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Chiffy’s Chocolate Chip Scones with Cake Spice

We’ve all tasted or at least seen cloyingly sweet scones from a national coffee chain covered in a thick shell of sugary glaze – well, these aren’t them. A delicate balance is somehow achieved to create a treat with a touch of sweetness; and a modicum of decadence is added by the semi-sweet chocolate chips. The cream cheese puts these scones over the top, ensuring moistness and richness. Perfect with coffee or tea, or as a late night snack, should you have leftovers from breakfast.

Chiffy’s Chocolate Chip Scones with Cake Spice
by Louise Chiffonade Brescia

3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon The Spice House Cake Spice
8 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter in small cubes
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whole peeled hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

For Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon The Spice House Cake Spice
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

For Topping:
1 Tablespoon milk
2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar

Place oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 375ºF (350ºF convection). Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. With fingers, rub in the butter until it is well distributed. The mixture will appear dry.

Pour 2/3 cup milk into a 2 cup glass measure. Add the eggs and vanilla to the cup and whisk or stir thoroughly with fork.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry using a rubber spatula. Mix these ingredients until just incorporated. Mix in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips with the rubber spatula. Switching to hands, knead this mixture gently in the bowl, turning the bowl while kneading. Divide the dough in two.

On a cookie sheet lined with parchment, form half the dough into a round 7” in diameter and 1” thick. Using fingers, press the 8 ounce brick of cream cheese into a round and place it on the round of scone dough leaving a border of approximately 3/4”. Sprinkle the cream cheese mixture with Cake Spice and crumble the brown sugar over the cream cheese. Using an offset spatula, gently press the brown sugar into the cream cheese, distributing it as evenly as possible. Top the base with the remaining dough round, sealing the edges well. Alternatively, form the dough into a flat log approximately 12” long, starting with half the dough. With fingers, work the cream cheese into a long bar and press into the flat log of scone dough. Add the spice and brown sugar as above. Top the log with the remaining scone dough, sealing the edges well.

Brush the dough with 1 Tablespoon milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. For the round assembly, cut the dough using a metal bench scraper or other straight edge tool into 8 wedges, gently moving each scone away from the others. In the case of a log assembly (which I find easier), cut triangles by holding a bench scraper at a 45 degree angle and plunging it into the dough creating a wedge, then moving the scone a few inches from the others. Continue cutting scones into wedges, moving scones away from one another.

Bake in 375ºF (350ºF convection) oven for 12 minutes. Rotate pan and bake another 12-15 minutes or until nicely risen and light golden brown.

If you must gild the lily, a drizzle of melted chocolate can be applied over the scones. Wrap leftovers individually in plastic wrap.

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