It's January. Winter, you're here. You've brought a super brief dusting of the white stuff the other night, which has mostly dissipated, but your chill isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. Time to trench in for winter, for real—which, paradoxically, gets both a little shorter and lighter every day. We need as much sunshine as possible.
Naturally, I think of food. Specifically, scones. They have much to offer. They are fast, easy and endlessly adaptable.
If you know me, you know I'm all about the flavor boost, so these scones get some help from orange zest, juice and some orange herbal tea. The white chocolate makes for a creamy backdrop; the fresh ginger, chopped and added to milk, provides a bright, zippy contrast. If you have candied crystallized ginger and you love it, which I didn't but I do, I would not hesitate to add 1/2 cup or it, finely chopped, to the batter.
- 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 T plus 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 cup butter, frozen
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- Zest of one orange
- 1-inch knob of ginger, minced or grated
- 1/4 cup orange juice (fresh is great, from the orange you zested)
- 1-2 T of herbal orange tea (optional)
- White decorating sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine.
Slice the stick of butter into 8-10 pieces and add to the bowl. Pulse in the frozen butter, being careful not to overmix. Pay attention to how it sounds; you'll know to stop because you won't hear as many chunks of frozen butter hitting the side of the bowl. I sometimes like to stop it and put my hand in to see how small the pieces of butter have become; you don't want any large chunks. Small bits are ideal.
Transfer the contents of the bowl to a second, larger bowl. Add the chips.
Combine the milk, zest and ginger in a measuring cup and add to the flour. Add the orange juice and herbal tea, if using. Stir with a fork to combine.
Turn out onto a floured surface and form it into a rough ball. If it's still dry in some parts, add a tablespoon of milk or so. You don't want it too wet, but all bits of flour need to be combined.
Roll out the dough until it's about 1/2 inch or so in thickness. I like to use the largest cutter in my biscuit cutter set, which is about 3 1/4 inches, but you can make these as large or small as you want. (The smaller ones will bake faster, so keep an eye on them and drop the baking time down by several minutes from what I've specified here. ) Transfer to the baking sheets, and put them in the freezer for 10-20 minutes to firm up. (Longer is also fine.)
Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through the cycle, until they are starting to get golden around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: About 15 3-inch scones.
Scones will keep for a couple of days and reheat well in the toaster or oven. Baked scones that somehow go uneaten will freeze well; just wrap them in aluminum foil first.