We had our first house guests of the New Year this past weekend, and we did the usual things: a little sight seeing, some shopping, lots of sitting and talking and drinking good wine…And, we went out for breakfast to a lovely cafe not too far from where we live.I was a little surprised at first that my breakfast plate of eggs, ham, and potatoes didn’t include any toast. But what it did include was a cute little scone, flavored with orange, lightly glazed, and full of chocolate chips. I set it aside until I was done with the savory foods. Then I broke off a small piece to taste. It was delicious! The orange flavor was just right, the chocolate chips offered a little texture and sweetness, and the glaze reinforced the orange flavor with the addition of a little zest. We took the scones home with us, and later that afternoon, all four of us tried to evaluate how that orange flavor was so perfect. Was it in the scone itself, or just in the glaze? I decided then and there to try to recreate this little gem of a pastry, and what you see here is the result. With oranges in the fruit bowl, and chocolate chips in the pantry, I got to work this morning. The recipe is a basic one to which I added lots of finely grated orange zest, and a heaping cup of those bittersweet chips. The glaze is fragrant with more of that fresh zest, and a little vanilla too. I am quite pleased with the results. This may be the start of some new recipes to celebrate citrus season, and to try out on the next group of visitors.
Glazed Orange and Chocolate Chip Scones
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup pastry flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon fine , sea salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Finely grated zest of one large orange , 1/4 packed teaspoon reserved for the glaze
- 1 stick (4 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 heaping cup bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons milk or cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 packed teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Mix the dry ingredients and the orange zest together in a large mixing bowl. Quickly work the butter into the mixture, with a pastry cutter or your fingertips, until it is crumbly. It's okay if some of the butter pieces are larger than others. Stir in the chocolate chips. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and the milk (start with the smaller amount of milk). Add the liquid to the dry mixture and stir until evenly combined. If there are still dry crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, add a little more milk. The dough should hold together, but still be soft and moist in texture.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work space. Divide it in half, and shape each half into a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Transfer each disc to a parchment-lined baking sheet. With a sharp knife or bench cutter, slice each dough circle into 6 pieces. Gently separate the wedges to create about 1/2-inch of space between them. Place the sheet of dough wedges into the freezer for 30 minutes. In that time, preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake the scones for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to touch. Remove to a rack to cool while you make the glaze.
To make the glaze, combine the sugar, milk, vanilla, and orange zest. Stir until smooth. When the scones have cooled, use a pastry brush to coat them evenly with the glaze. You can apply as much glaze as you like, but I prefer just a thin coating. Serve the scones when the glaze has set, and store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container, at room temperature for 2 or 3 days.