Toasted Hazelnut and Chocolate Chunk Scones

There’s at least a half a dozen reasons why you should make this recipe, but lets cut to the chase…it looks like autumn on a plate. You will at first be drawn in by the sheer seasonality of the image, but I promise what awaits you when you actually eat it is even more magical.

I speak for myself and thousands of others when I say that sometimes autumn doesn’t always make me feel so warm and cosy inside. I don’t automatically wake in October full of the joys of leaf kicking, nor do I feel like I can wax lyrical about log fires and I certainly do not greet extra layers of socks and wool jumpers with overwhleming excitement. After all the chances are that as an individual who’s thermostat is permananlty set at around 5 degrees, I have been wearing the extra layers since mid august and I’m a little over it already.

What I’m not over is this scone. It has positively transformed my outlook on autumn, for this year at least.

Toasted hazelnuts, salt, butter and chocolate chunks are the stars of the show. If you didn’t buy in to the whole ‘autumn of a plate’ thing then I know I got you now.  

Ingredients 

Adapted from Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan

90ml whole milk
1 tsp cider vinegar
240g white spelt flour
50g hazelnuts (toasted with skins removed and finely ground)
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla powder
40g caster sugar
1 tsp sea salt 
250g unsalted butter, fridge cold, cut into 1cm cubes
140g chocolate (60-70% cocoa content) cut into 1-2cm chunks
2 tbsp demerara sugar
1 egg and 1 tbsp milk beaten together to glaze

 

 

Method

1. Start by combining the whole milk and the cider vinegar in a jug and set aside to allow the milk to curdle slightly.
2. Combine the flour, ground hazelnuts, baking powder, vanilla powder, sugar and sea salt in a large bowl.
3. Add the cold butter cubes and toss to coat in flour then begin to rub the butter into the dry ingredietns until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs. Some pea sized pieces of butter may remain.
4. Add the chocolate chunks and toss to distribute, then add the mikl. With the aid of a fork work the milk into the dry ingredients until the mixture begins to come together to a rough dough.
5. Tip the contents of the bowl onto the worksurface and use the palms and heels of your hands to bring the dough together into a mound then flatten out and bring back to a mound again. Repeat this process once more if needed. You should find the dough begins to hold together, but be careful, if you’re too heavy handed you’ll overwork the dough and end up with tough old scones.
7. Transfer the mound of dough onto a lined baking sheet and gently shape into a round appriximately 7-8 inches in diameter.
8. Place the baking sheet in the fridge to chill completely for at least 3 hours. You can also freeze the dough at this point, but remember you will need to bake the scone a little longer if baking from frozen.
9. Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees C.
10. Once sufficiently chilled (or frozen) remove the sheet from the fridge and brush with the beaten egg and milk, then sprinkle with demerara sugar.
Bake in the oven for 15 mintues then rotate the tray and bake for a further 15 minutes. (If baking from frozen be prepared to bake for a further 5-10 minutes.)
11. After this time test the giant scone with a skewer, it should come out clean, if it doesn’t then return it to the oven for a further 10 minutes and check again.
12. Once baked remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. 
13. Using a large serrated knife very carefully slice the scone in half, then each half into half again and then each quarter in half again to give 8 large wedges. Leave the wedges in place until the scone has cooled completely or they are likely to crumble. But to be honest risk of crumbling is a small price to pay for eating a chunk of this warm.
14. If you mananage to resist the urge then once cool, glaze with a simple maple glaze made with icing sugar, a little water and maple syrup.

N.B. In the image above I served wedges with warm hazelnut butter, which I heated in a pan with a dash of milk and maple syrup and served with a few more toasted hazelnuts scatted over.

It is likely that you could substitute the whole milk and cider vinegar for buttermilk, using 90-100ml depending upon the consistency of the buttermilk. Similarily, a combination of natural yogurt let down with a little milk could also work well.

 

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