The books I fondly remember from my childhood were all set in London or the English countryside. My mother would read these to me, unleashing her best British accent, and when we came across words or phrases that were unfamiliar to us (“spotted dick,” for example) we’d research each one. These stories always left me yearning to travel to England (which, in my teenage years, I got to do quite a few times). Life over there appeared to be so elegant, at least from the way it was portrayed in these books, and I loved everything about the culture. Nothing seemed more exciting than taking a trip to Harrods or as luxurious as afternoon tea and scones.
I can’t help but believe that these stories contributed to my love of baking scones (the American variety as well as the British). Funnily enough, I never liked tea as a kid and I didn’t start making scones until just a few years ago. But now that I have, I’ve become a little obsessed.
Making scones is a joyous, almost cathartic process. I’m sure some individuals take such pleasure in baking cakes or tarts, and, don’t get me wrong, I like to make them every once in a while, but I find it leaves me a little stressed out. Scones, however, are quick and easy and making them, slowly drizzling in the cream and working with your hands to gently knead them, is a great way to soothe the soul. Oh, and scones contain the very best ingredients: butter, sugar, cream, some flour… and whatever mix-ins you feel like throwing in.
Now, here’s my little secret about making scones: I use a food processor. It incorporates the butter perfectly and takes out a lot of the hard work that’s involved with doing it by hand.
After my old food processor kicked the bucket, KitchenAid was kind enough to send me one of their new 13-cup models. I must say, it feels like a huge upgrade (both in size and in effectiveness) from my 7 cup. You see a noticeable difference when whipping up pie dough or scones, as the flour doesn’t fly out like it did in the smaller bowl.
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Official Rules: No purchase necessary. Open to US residents only . Giveaway will end on May 11th 2012 at 12:00 pm EST. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected.
Disclaimer: While KitchenAid did provide me with the food processor, I was not monetarily compensated and all opinions in this post are my own.
Makes 8-10 scones
2 cups flour
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small chunks
3/4 cup dark chocolate chunks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Place rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together the first six ingredients. Transfer this to the bowl of the food processor and add the butter. Pulse until the butter is fully incorporated with the dry ingredients (it’s ok if a few small chunks of butter remain). If you do not have a food processor, you can use two knives or a pastry cutter. Transfer the mixture back to the large bowl. Add the chocolate chunks.
Mix together the milk, heavy cream, and vanilla in a bowl. Slowly add the liquid to the dry ingredients, mixing with a wooden spoon or pastry blender to make sure it is fully incorporated. If the dough looks like it is moist enough, you can leave out a little of the liquid.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead a couple of times. Using your hands or a rolling pin, flatten the dough out until it is about 1 1/2 inches thick (should be about 10 or so inches wide). Transfer the dough to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
Brush the top of the dough with a little bit of heavy cream. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Cut into 8-10 wedge-shaped scones.
Let cool on wire rack and enjoy!