12/07/2014

chocolate chip ricotta scones

Yum

Recently I got a lot more experienced in the scone-making department. I've only tackled this breakfast pastry a time or two but have had plenty of experience eating scones, even especially legit ones in the heart of rainy, freezing London. Scones are pretty simple, but the process can be easily messed up because of that. You don't want to overmix your dough or you risk it going tough like bad pie crust or pastry dough. For that reason, I've usually stuck to muffins or coffee cakes, things I know that work and still always manage to please a crowd.


Still, there's something about scones. They're rich yet crumbly. It's almost like a texture nirvana. They're super buttery and yet somehow always served with more butter and no one ever points out the irony in that. Because it's just that good.

So I dove head first into the scone-baking world for a special breakfast brunch for my mom, a tradition we started about three years ago now (right?). We've recently had a series of amazing scones from the folks over at Our Shared Ground, a New Jersey nonprofit that focuses on whole, local ingredients as well as food education, which is the heart of this baking initiative. So I knew that scones were a good way to go (and yes, I keep pluralizing because I made these plus a spiced butternut squash variety, which you can check out here).


Chocolate chip ricotta scones are kind of like the cannoli of the breakfast world. And have you ever met anyone that didn't like a cannoli? Think about it, and if the answer is yes, that person is not your friend. You're welcome. The ricotta adds a layer of moisture and richness and helps to balance out the sweetness of the chocolate and the added sugar. It makes them feel a little more decadent, which is really what birthdays are all about, right?

For this recipe, you'll need:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons organic butter, cold and cubed
1/2 miniature chocolate chips
3/4 cup organic part-skim ricotta
1/3 cup organic heavy cream

Two things. Part-skim ricotta? All you purists, don't worry. You can definitely use regular ricotta in this recipe. But to be honest, with butter and cream, the part-skim part will go unnoticed, I guarantee. Second thing is I've started to note all my dairy recommendations as organic, since that's what we aim to use in our house. That's been true for a few years now, but I recently decided to get more specific in the ingredient listing.


Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor using the S-blade, pulse together your flours, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add your cubes of cold butter and plus for ten seconds, or ten individual pulses. Trust me, that's all you'll need.


Transfer the food processor contents to a large bowl. Fold in your chocolate chips (I thought miniature would work best here but any size will do) and then form a well in the center of the mixture. Add your heavy cream and ricotta and fold together until just combined or until no dry and wet ingredients are obviously separate.



Turn your dough out onto a well-floured countertop. Form into a circle, working quickly, that is about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a pastry cutter or a floured chef's knife, evenly(ish) cut into eight triangles. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until the tops are puffed up and lightly golden at the edges.


If you really want to get into the spirit of it, serve these with a little more ricotta (sweetened with some honey is nice) and jam. The best would be cherry or raspberry, since these flavors are great with chocolate, but anything you have on hand will do. Even orange marmalade would do it.

Looking for some other scone recipes?