Chocolate, Raspberry Scones on a Snow Day in Maine

School was canceled today, even before the first flake has graced the ground.  They keep saying it’s coming …  And the doom and gloomster weather people say that for us on the coast it will be 3 to 6 inches and followed by rain.  Only part about this that’s doom and gloom for me is the rain.  Love the snow.  Love when the girls are home for a lazy, creative, free day.

To celebrate, the girls wanted Chocolate, Raspberry Scones for breakfast.  Our freezer is full of raspberries picked and frozen the second half of the summer from our generous ever bearing raspberry bushes and now I get to dole them out all winter long in fits and bursts of flavor.  And we had one egg from our less than generous molting chickens, who among the fourteen of them produce one egg a day right now, if that.

Making scones is one of the easiest baking projects one could endeavor.  There are a few tricks, however, to good biscuits/scones,  just as with any sort of baking.  The first is that sifting the dry ingredients is an important step to incorporating air and lightness in your scones.  Next, the butter should be cold, cut into smaller pieces and then worked in with your fingertips with a smushing technique.  Work the butter into the flour until the pieces are the size of peas or smaller.  Lastly, it’s important to mix the liquid in with a quick and judicious hand.  This is very important; if you overmix you will probably get hard tack instead of scones.  Patrick O’Brian aside, hard tack has never sounded like a Martha Stewart “good thing” to me.

There are all sorts of variations to this recipe.  Sprinkle with demerara sugar or not, cut into biscuit shapes or make one large scone cut into pie wedges, substitute the chocolate and raspberries for other yummy combinations.  Some of my favorites are:  Apricot and Almond,  Dried Cherries and Walnuts,  Crystallized Ginger and Apricot

Chocolate, Raspberry Scones
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch squares
1/2 cup semi-swee chocolate chips
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup milk
1 egg

2 tablespoons milk or half and half
2 to 3 tablespoons demerara sugar

Preheat oven to 400°.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.  This is an important step because you want to add air to the mixture so the scones are as light as possible.  Press the butter between your fingers and thumbs until the butter pieces are no bigger than the size of peas.  Stir in chocolate chips and raspberries.  Add the milk and egg, stirring until a soft dough forms.    Do not overmix.    Turn the dough out onto a floured board and pat to 1 inch thick.    Cut with a floured 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter.  Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar.  Place on ungreased cookie pan and bake for 15 to 17 minutes.  If you use frozen berries, the cooking time will be longer.

To make one large scone:
Place the dough on a cookie pan and shape  it into a circle about 6 to 7 inches in diameter. Brush the top with a tiny bit of half and half and sprinkle with sugar.  Score the “pie” into 8 to 10 pieces.  Increase the baking time to 15-20 minutes.

Oh, I just saw the first flake!

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