In college, the dark days before I had my own bookcase dedicated to cookbooks, I owned only “The Joy of Cooking,” and my culinary repertoire was meager. My roommate thumbed through it and decided to make some orange and chocolate chip cream scones. I couldn’t remember ever having eaten a scone before. Ah, the flower of youth.
Scones can be dry and slightly acidic when compared with the average baked good, yet somehow, inexplicably, they’re addictive, especially warm out of the oven. I ate four before I caught myself, realizing I could easily eat the whole batch.
Over the next year, scones became my go-to recipe anytime I needed to prepare food for others. I experimented with different add-ins, but orange-chocolate chip was always my favorite. I showed up with scones for co-workers, a class, a meeting with my adviser. My boyfriend (now husband) ate his fair share.
It’s probably the easiest baked good there is. Because scones are already dry, it’s hard to mess up. If it doesn’t rise well it’s still edible, and it’s a quick recipe. Bonus: Because my recipe makes just eight pieces it leaves you wanting more, which is a better problem than having too many.
From those scones, I ventured on to other recipes. Naturally, biscuits weren’t such a stretch, and the techniques I learned have served me well in baking other things. Still, over the years, I occasionally visit those scones like an old friend.
My daughter recently asked me about eggnog, and as I described its ingredients and flavor, a sudden light bulb went off — cream, eggs, sugar — eggnog seems almost formulated for scones, and I was excited about the possible complementary flavors. I pulled out my old recipe and worked on adapting it. After all, what better way to use up all the eggnog left over from Christmas?
Something to note: Most eggnog-flavored recipes don’t call for eggnog. Instead, they approximate the flavor with rum extract and nutmeg. If you’re looking for strong eggnog flavor, add about 1/2 teaspoon of the extract.
The combo of scones with festive, nostalgic eggnog? It’s a great way to send off the old year and begin the new.
>> 2 cups flour
>> 2 tablespoons sugar
>> 1/2 teaspoon salt
>> 1 tablespoon baking powder
>> 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
>> 6 tablespoons butter, cold
>> 1 cup eggnog
>> 2/3 cup chocolate chips or 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
>> 1 tablespoon eggnog, for brushing (optional)
>> 1 tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In food processor fitted with metal blade, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and nutmeg. Spin about 10 seconds.
Cut butter into 1/4-inch pieces and scatter them over flour mixture.
Pulse for 1 second intervals until pieces of butter are pea-sized, about 8 pulses.
Dump mixture into large bowl and add eggnog and chocolate chips or dried cranberries, if using. Stir lightly with spatula until dough comes together. Do not over mix.
Lightly flour a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Gather dough into a ball and pat it down into a flat circle, about 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 8 triangles. If you’d like a sheen on the scones, brush tops with eggnog and sprinkle with sugar.
Place scones on parchment-lined sheet pan and bake 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Makes 8 scones.
Nutritional information unavailable.
Mariko Jackson blogs about family and food at thelittlefoodie.com.
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