I have always loved the blend of oranges and chocolate; oranges are a sweet and lightly perfumed companion to classy dark chocolate and together, they are an elegant combination of flavors.
Here, I decided to use a seasonal variation of that combination- blood oranges and cacao nibs- and put them in my favorite flaky scone dough.
Blood oranges are in season from December to March, and they’re infinitely more flavorful than regular oranges, slightly more tart and with beautiful, sunset-like colors. I don’t even like regular oranges that much, but I can eat 2 or 3 blood oranges in one sitting! Cacao nibs are simply the purest form of chocolate, dried and fermented fragments of cacao bean. They pack a bold, bitter, intensely chocolate flavor that works very well with the sweet orange.
The cacao nibs and orange segments are embedded in the buttermilk and einkorn enriched scone dough, where the einkorn flour adds nutty flavor and softness, and the scones, made with a light hand and folded for maximum butter dispersion, emerge tall and flaky from the oven.
These scones are delicately flavored, just sweet enough and best of all, simple to put together, making them the ideal morning treat to go with a mug of English breakfast tea and marmalade.
Yield: 8 scones
Why I love this recipe: einkorn flour adds a slightly nutty flavor and a beautiful dark color, while using buttermilk and folding the dough ensures that the scones emerge flaky and layered. The blood oranges combine with the cacao nibs for a fresh take on the classic combination of chocolate and orange and provide beautiful flavor and color in every bite.
Notes: the scones can be frozen for up to a month before baking. They may require a few extra minutes in the oven. Be sure to brush these liberally with egg and sprinkle the sugar on at the end using a heavy hand, as both contribute to gorgeous, golden crusts.
- 1 stick chilled, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cups einkorn flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 blood oranges, supremed, then chopped into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons blood orange zest.
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs
- 1 cup chilled buttermilk, well shaken
- 1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 teaspoon water
- turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Rub the blood orange zest into the sugar until fragrant. Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cacao nibs and salt in a large bowl.
- Using your fingers, quickly cut the cold butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
- Stir the buttermilk into the flour-butter mixture with a large wooden spoon or a fork until the dough begins to come together. The flour should not be fully incorporated at this point. Do not overmix.
- Transfer the dough and any loose, floured bits to a floured countertop.
- Quickly knead the dough until it comes fully together, and then flatten it with the palms of your hands into a rectangular, 3/4 inch-thick mound.
- Embed the blood orange pieces on one side of the dough, cutting some in half if they are too big. Roll it up into a log, seam side down.
- Fold the rolled dough in half, give it a quarter turn and then flatten it again. Repeat this process 3 more times.
- Flour your surface once more, and then shape the dough into a 3/4 inch-thick round. Use a bench scraper or a knife to cut the dough into 8 equal triangles. Place the triangles on a rimmed sheet pan.
- Freeze the scones for 10 minutes. When done, brush with the egg yolk and top with turbinado sugar just before baking.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (I baked them for 23 minutes), or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the scones comes out clean.
- Cool the scones on a wire rack. Serve warm with butter, marmalade or honey.