I have a bookshelf full of cookbooks in my bedroom. Yes, it's just a small bookshelf, but it's full and overflowing now into a tall, neat pile on the floor. Baked Explorations that I got for my birthday is one of those cookbooks. As I started planning a menu for our recent camping trip, Baked's Nutella Scones jumped out at me. We needed these scones to launch our trip.
Toasting the hazelnuts was the first adventure. They had to be toasted in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, and then placed into a towel. Each hazelnut had to have its skin rubbed off! Quite a bit of skin came off in the general rubbing, but some needed to be individually scrubbed. There were hazelnut skins everywhere by the time I was done.
Some of the directions in the recipe were a little confusing, and I googled "Nutella Scones" to find some handy how-to guides. I found so many beautiful blog posts about these scones, many of them from the group Baked Sunday Mornings that's baking through Baked Explorations; I'm hoping to bake along with the group and am particularly excited they haven't made either of the Mississippi Mud Pies yet!). I searched and searched for pictures of what I needed. However, none of the blog posts detailed how to roll the dough up, stand it on its end and gently flatten it.
I figured out why. I made the scone dough and flattened it. I spread Nutella over it (crisscrossed, it was beautiful). I rolled it up and stood it on its end. I took photographs all along the way.
Then, I started to flatten it. Taking photographs was not an option. My hands were covered with the Nutella that oozed out everywhere. It wasn't until the dough was flattened into a circle and my hands were washed that I was able to take a photograph. So, I apologize for leaving you in the same situation, but just trust your gut instinct. Flattening it wasn't as hard as I thought.
These scones went with us on our canoeing trip last weekend, and they provided us with a little nourishment during the car ride. Because I was transporting them individually, I avoided drizzling them with Nutella and instead brought it for people to slather on as desired in the car.
And a special thank you to NPR for featuring Nutella this week and giving me ideas about how to use up the remaining Nutella in my pantry. I'm debating between the Nutella ice cream and a Nutella tartine for breakfast tomorrow.
recipe from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented
Renalto and Matt stress a few key ideas throughout this recipe and their cookbook. One is using high-quality ingredients. They recommend Valrhona cocoa powder. It is incredibly complex, much deeper in color, and it's got a deep, smoky flavor. When it's placed side-by-side with Hershey's cocoa powder, there's no comparison. Get Valrhona cocoa powder if you can. They also stress not overworking the dough. It's alright if a few bits of flour remain scattered throughout. If the dough is overworked, the scones will be much tougher. Finally, they stress that you may not overbake these scones. While that sounds like a given, keeping them in the oven for just a minute too long results in a much drier texture than desired.
If you like Nutella, feel free to use more than 1/4 cup to spread over the dough before rolling it. I probably used more like 1/2 cup of Nutella (it was a lot of fun to spread).
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Nutella
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until combined.
Add the butter. Use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until the butter is pea sized and the mixture is coarse.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and cream. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until the dough just comes together. Gently and briefly knead the dough with your hands. Add the toasted hazelnuts and knead gently to incorporate.
Flatten the dough into a rectangle approximately 6 by 12 inches (it does not need to be precise) and spread 1/4 cup of the Nutella on top in a criscross pattern. Roll the dough up to make a cylinder about 6 inches long, turn it on its end, and gently flatten it into a disk about 1 3/4 inches high. Do not overwork the dough.
Cut the dough into 6 or 8 wedges and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the scones for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating them on the baking sheet halfway through, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. Do not overbake.
Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool completely. Place the baking sheet with the parchment still on it underneath the rack.
Assemble the scones: Heat the remaining 1/4 cup Nutella in a microwave until pourable, about 10 seconds on high. Pierce the tops of the scones a few times with a fork. Use a spoon to drip the warm Nutella in a zigzag pattern over the tops of the hot scones. Transfer them to a refrigerator to set for 5 minutes, and then serve immediately.
Most scones have a lifespan of 24 hours or less; however, these scones taste pretty darn good on day two provided you wrap them tightly and store them at room temperature.