When I first started thinking about desserts for our Mother’s Day tea party, I knew scones had to be on the menu. Jason and I have done a lot of tea partyin’ in our day—you know, for research purposes—and almost every afternoon tea we’ve attended involves some sort of scone situation.
[“The Scone Situation”—good band name, or amazing band name?]
The only question was what kind of scones. I wanted to keep the tea menu light, so I focused mostly on fruit flavors rather than chocolate, but a chocoholic can only go so long before looking for her next fix. So I crammed some chocolate chunks into these scones, along with chewy bits of candied orange peel and big pieces of toasted hazelnuts, and magic was born.
These scones are my very favorite type of scones, which is to say, they’re not all that scone-like. Oftentimes, scones are just a slightly sweeter biscuit in disguise, tarted up with a glaze or a few raisins thrown in. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I prefer my scones to have a softer texture, with a moist crumb and a crackly, sugar-crusted top. If you fall into the scone-as-biscuit camp this recipe might not be for you, but if you’ve always wished your scones were a bit softer and sweeter, then have a seat at my table.
I also love this recipe because it’s so flexible. You can add almost any mix-ins you can dream up—cranberries and lemon zest is a good combination, or try mixing fresh berries in at the very end. Soft on the inside, with pockets of melting chocolate, chewy peel, and crunchy nuts, they’re perfect alongside a cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or lukewarm water from that grungy plastic bottle you keep meaning to get rid of but never do.
…It is possible that I know about that last one from experience.
They’re also perfect as part of a breakfast in bed menu (hint) for any special ladies in your life (hint hint) who might be having a day in their honor this Sunday (hint hint hint). Happy weekend, all!
Hazelnut Orange Chocolate Scones
- 15 oz all-purpose flour (3 1/2 cups)
- 8 oz powdered sugar (2 cups)
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 oz candied orange peel (1/3 cup), finely chopped (see note below)
- 2 1/2 oz hazelnuts (1/2 cup), toasted, coarsely chopped
- 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate (1/2 cup), coarsely chopped
- 5 oz unsalted butter cold, cubed
- 7 oz heavy cream (3/4 cup + 2 tbsp)
- 1/4 tsp orange oil (or 1 tsp orange extract)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange peel, hazelnuts, and chocolate. Mix on low speed with a paddle attachment until well-combined.
Add the cubed butter and mix on low speed until the mixture is sandy. Mix together the cream and orange oil or orange extract, then with the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour the cream into the dry ingredients. Mix until there are just a few dry streaks of flour remaining.
Stop the mixer and mix the scones the rest of the way with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Wrap the sheet with plastic wrap and chill it for 1 hour, until firm.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut the scones into small 2-inch squares or circles. If cutting out circles, press the scraps together and cut more circles out until you use all the dough. Arrange them on baking sheets covered with parchment. They will spread, so leave a few inches in between each scone. Brush a little cream on top of each scone, then top with a scattering of granulated sugar. Bake the scones at 375 F for 15-16 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
Cool on the baking sheet, then serve. If desired, you can drizzle them with a bit of chocolate and top them with extra candied peel and hazelnuts for a fancier presentation. Scones are best the day they are made, but they can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. They can also be frozen before baking, after they have been cut out, and can be baked from frozen. Add 3-4 minutes to the baking time if you're baking frozen scones.
If you don't have candied orange peel, you can substitute the zest of two oranges instead. Add it to the dry ingredients in the first step and proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.