Bake the Book: Chocolate and Walnut Scones

[Photograph: Steve Legato]

So many of us buy scones with coffee or tea but forget how simple it is to make them at home. These Irish Pantry scones are studded with dark chocolate and walnuts, in a dense buttermilk dough. Whip up a batch in thirty minutes, and you'll have scones for a week. That is, if they stick around that long.

Tips: This is a pretty standard scone recipe: mix the dry ingredients, cut in the butter, mix the wet ingredients, add wet to dry, shape, and bake. Don't worry about cutting the cold butter into exact cubes; the idea is to chop it into pieces small enough that it is easily incorporated into the flour. The recipe recommends using your fingers, but a pastry cutter is good to use when starting to cut the butter into the flour. That way, the heat from your hands won't melt the butter right away. You will need some heat, though, so put down the pastry cutter after a couple minutes.

Once that's done, stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts with a silicone spatula. (If you use your buttery, floury hands, everything will stick to them.) The rest of the recipe is fairly foolproof; do use a gentle touch to recombine the dough once you've cut as many circles as you can. You don't want to toughen it.

Tweaks: Instead of following the recipe by the letter, try this: Prepare two bowls at the start of the process, a large one for dry ingredients, and a small one for wet. That way, by the time you've cut the butter into the flour, your buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla will have come to room temperature and can be poured into the bowl of flour and butter with one greasy hand. The all you have to do is mix the dough, press, and cut.

As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Irish Pantry to give away.

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