There are times when I feel like growing up on the other side of the world might have messed me up a little. I know nothing about American pop culture of the 1980s. I never saw Ghostbusters or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I hesitate just a little bit before saying certain words like “herbs,” because in New Zealand, where I spent many of my formative years, you pronounce the “h.” I grew up watching a soap opera called Neighbors, drooling over Australian heartthrob Jason Donovan while American girls were in love with Kirk Cameron and the boys from New Kids on the Block. There are many things I lost by not having the typical American childhood. But I also gained something important, thanks to my intermediate school cooking class.
Scones are delicious. At our house, scones are the breakfast of celebrations, but they are so much more. They are perfect to make quickly when you have guests stop by. I keep the ingredients on hand at all times. They also are forgiving with substitutions. They make excellent teacher gifts. Scones can totally serve as breakfast for dinner. Give those kids a fruit and vegetable pouch and a cup of milk on the side, and give yourself a high five for making dinner that your kids will eat.
For years, my mom made scones as Christmas morning breakfast, and now I have adopted the same tradition for my own family. I cannot even count the batches of scones I have made over the last decade. I have tweaked and edited and experimented, and y’all, I have arrived. I now have the perfect scone recipe. And because this is the season of giving and kindness, I’m going to share it with you. Get ready.
There are some things you need to know before we begin. First, the word scone can be pronounced either to rhyme with “con” or “cone.” Both are fine. I say this because my husband still gives me the side-eye when he hears my short o pronunciation. This is how they pronounce it in New Zealand, and it is how I learned the word. I feel fine about holding on to this part of my Kiwi upbringing. The second thing is that you have to keep the butter cold. As you start to make this recipe, and you get distracted by your children or ringing phone, please, for the love of all that is holy and good in the world, do not let the butter get soft! If you must tend to the children or the dog or the Fed-Ex delivery man at the door, put the butter back into the refrigerator. Repeat after me: the butter must stay cold. There. Good job. Third, you will need a pastry blender. It will cost you less than $10, and it will save you a approximately one million years of prep time throughout your lifetime (assuming you have 40ish years left to live) over using knives to cut butter into dry ingredients. Third, this will ruin you for all other scones. Those rock hard vanilla bean scones at your local coffee shop (I’m looking at you, Starbucks) will never again sound appetizing. The flavorless crumbly mounds of flour and water you have had before do not deserve to be called scones. So just brace yourself. Here they are, the world’s best chocolate chip scones. (Or at least the best I have had.) Merry Christmas and Meri Kirihimete.
- 1-3/4 cups flour
- 1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar, divided (you can use regular sugar, but the texture is so much better with raw sugar)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 5 tablespoons cold butter, sliced for easy mixing
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I always measure a heaping 1/2 cup because I love chocolate)
- 3/4 cup cold coffee
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prepare a floured surface for the dough (because, remember, we need to keep the butter cold)
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/3 cup of turbinado sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Using a pastry blender, mix butter slices into dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
- Stir in chocolate chips and cold coffee to make a dough. I like to use a fork here rather than a spoon.
- Once a dough has formed, place dough onto prepared floured surface. Moving quickly, pat dough into a 1/2 inch thick circle. Sprinkle 1 tsp of raw sugar on top.
- Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into pie-shaped slices and transfer slices to baking sheet.
- Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Optional: Use orange juice in place of coffee and add 1 teaspoon of orange zest.
- For a vegan option: this recipe can be converted easily using Earth Balance Original buttery spread and dairy free chocolate chips. I tried several vegan butters, and the Earth Balance works best.
- Note: I used mini chocolate chips for the scones in the photo. These are not the best option. They are just what I had on hand. Regular chocolate chips are preferable. I am sorry if I led you astray with my photo.