Scones are a pretty versatile, single-serving quick bread. A batch of scones comes together really easily and in nearly no time at all. There’s no yeast necessary, and no lengthy “rest-and-raise” dough raising process to wait for. In fact, the whole process of putting together a batch of scones is fairly lax on labour, and can pretty much be completed in a single bowl—so there’s no huge pile of dirty dishes to wash up afterwards!
A scone’s basic form can be altered to suit any savoury or sweet purpose. Cheese scones are hugely popular, and plain scones with added dried currants are pretty conventional for pairing with afternoon tea. Scones made to accompany tea or coffee are usually only lightly sweetened, so as not to compete with the sweetness or flavours of the tea or coffee. This weekend though, I decided I wanted to make my scones sugary, and stand in for a traditional dessert. I decided to add dried apricots for a subtle fruit flavour, but threw in white chocolate chips for their distinct creamy sweetness.
Did you know white chocolate isn’t actually chocolate in the strictest sense of the term? White chocolate is actually a derivative product of chocolate. It contains nearly all the ingredients necessary to meet the requirements of classifying as chocolate, but lacks the all-important re-addition of cocoa. In its manufacturing, the cocoa solids are removed from the process and never reincorporated, so while it still contains the appropriate cocoa butter, milk, and sugar, white chocolate lacks the inclusion of cocoa that is present in other forms of chocolate. As a result, white chocolate has a very sweet taste that is reminiscent of other kinds of chocolate, but is still distinctive enough in terms of flavour that it stands apart from the other types.
Depending on your own tastes (and desire for a sugar-rush), you may want to adjust the amount of sugar added to the scones’ dough, or increase or lessen the amount of chocolate chips incorporated into the dough. I used a whole cup of white chocolate chips in my scones, and despite the recipe yielding fifteen scones, I almost feel as though I’d used too much! The sugar content definitely helped make these scones work as a treat for dessert!
I think if I were to make these scones again, I would lessen the amount of white chocolate added, and maybe even increase the amount of chopped, dried apricot, so that the flavour of the chocolate wasn’t so prevalent in each bite. Instead of making Dried Apricot and White Chocolate Scones, I whipped up a batch of White Chocolate and Dried Apricot Scones. Still, a cup of strongly brewed, dark roast coffee would offset the sweetness and creaminess of the white chocolate, and its acidity will likely call forward the flavour of the apricots.
If you are looking to put your own spin on a basic scone recipe, I would suggest using this one as a base, and then swap out the white chocolate and dried apricots for dried cranberries and dark chocolate; cinnamon, ginger, and toffee pieces; fresh raspberries or blackberries sweetened with honey; diced rhubarb tossed with vanilla sugar; or any other flavour pairing you can imagine! Or, you could omit the additional flavours completely, sweeten the dry ingredients with a half cup of white sugar, and simply let the scones’ flavour stand alone—they’re just as tasty eaten warm from the oven with a small pat of butter or jam as the scones stuffed with other ingredients!
White Chocolate and Dried Apricot Scones
Makes: 12-15 scones
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 cups cold, unsalted butter, cubed
½ cup white sugar
2 cups chopped dried apricots
1 cup white chocolate chips
2/3 cup cold milk
Make sure your baking rack is in the middle of your oven, and preheat your oven to 425˚F.
Chop your dried apricots, and set aside in a separate bowl.
Add flour, baking powder, and salt to a medium sized mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Add your butter, and mix with clean hands until it is incorporated, and the dry ingredients are adhering in small, pea-sized pieces.
Add sugar and mix thoroughly. Add your chopped, dried apricots and mix into the flour mixture so that the pieces of apricot are not sticking together. Add the white chocolate chips and combine.
In increments, add the cold milk, kneading the dough gently between each amount added. You may not need to use all of the milk—you want your dough to adhere, but not become too sticky and difficult to work with.
On a clean, floured surface, turn out your dough once it adheres and forms a mass. Briefly knead the dough, making sure not to overwork it. Split the dough in half and pat each half out on the floured surface into disks about an inch thick.
Using a sharp, clean knife or a clean pizza cutter, cut each disk into wedges. Arrange wedges on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets so that the wedges are not touching, and have enough space between them to expand.
Bake each sheet of scones for fifteen to twenty minutes, until they are beginning to turn golden brown. Keep an eye on them, and monitor their progress so that they don’t burn. Remove cookie sheets from the oven, and place scones on cooling racks for them to cool.
Serve warm or at room temperature with coffee or tea.