I have been traveling here and there – first a trip to the San Juan Islands, followed by a brief getaway to Santa Barbara. Both were lovely, especially because it was the first time Howie and I have been away alone on a “real” vacation in a very long time. The trip to the Islands was fun and relaxing with a bit of adventure thrown in for good measure. I went zip lining for the first time. I am not exactly what you would refer to as a thrill seeker. Not by a long shot. And although zip lining on San Juan Island pales in comparison to the adrenaline pumping versions, say, in these videos, nevertheless – I did it! And for that, I was very proud of myself. We also went on an intoxicatingly beautiful sunset whale watching expedition. To my delight, we saw whales galore – plus bald eagles, deer, and other wildlife that inhabit the many islands throughout Puget Sound. Crashing through the deep blue waters of the Sound, the boat’s mist moistening my face, the sun setting in the distance, I felt humbled as a human in that serene and peaceful place, where I was a visitor and the fishes and birds were at home.
We decided to spend the last day of our trip meandering the many, many, fruit farms, dairy farms, bakeries and antique shops that dot the map between Anacortes (the town where you catch the ferry to the Islands) and Burlington, WA. I bought way too many baked goods – more than any human could have eaten in a week’s time – but I always use the excuse that I need to indulge in a variety of items so as to experiment for my blog. Our explorations also turned up some fun and interesting bakeware treasures while rummaging the “antique” (junk and antique can sometimes be used interchangeably in this case) stores in the area.
Sometimes the best part of a wonderful vacation is in coming home. I’ve heard it said that the perfect vacation is when you have had a great time but you are also ready to go home. Such as it was when we came to the end of our second trip. We had a fabulous time but I missed my own bed, shower, and the general comforts I’ve created within the walls of my home. Most of all, I missed my kitchen. I was eager to get my hands back into some flour; to stir, shape, fold. A craving for chocolate and a desire for immediate gratification led me to these scones. Warm, comforting, and housing pockets of melted chocolatey goodness – these are not your typical scones. If too rich for breakfast – try one with your afternoon tea. Thinking outside the box, it occurred to me that these would make a delicious base for shortcake. Top with berries and whipped cream and you have an impressive but easy summer dessert.
A very versatile scone – serve at breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or transform into the foundation for a delicious shortcake dessert.
Double Chocolate Scones with Cinnamon Butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) butter cut into 1/2 pieces
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons Turbinado or granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor pulse together the flour through salt until combined. Add the butter pieces and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add the chocolate chips and pulse several times just until mixed in.
In a small bowl, mix the egg with the buttermilk just until combined. Add to the dry ingredients and pulse just until the dough comes together. (Do not over-process.)
Turn the dough out onto a light floured surface and with floured hands knead a few times. Divide the dough in half and place each half on the prepared baking sheet. Keeping hands floured, shape each piece into a flat round, 6 inches in diameter. Using a sharp, straight edged knife, cut each round into 6 wedges, leaving them in place. Sprinkle the tops with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and bake until firm in the center when lightly touched, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool slightly before breaking into wedges.
1/2 stick (2 ounces) butter, softened
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
In a small bowl, using a small whisk or a fork, whip together all the ingredients until light and fluffy. Serve with the warm scones. (Double if serving with all 12 scones.)
Source: Adapted from Rachel Ray’s EveryDay Magazine