Chocolate. Travel. Love. Ah, yes, these are some of my favorite things, and perhaps, yours, too. Since getting on a jet plane and flying to the Pacific Northwest or Canada — two more loves — are not in the cards these pandemic days, I am here in the mountains for Valentine’s Day weekend.
Mid-week awaiting the storm(s), I got melancholy missing my solo travels and book tours. One favorite trip was to Seattle for a book signing. Then, I took a train to British Columbia. At the border there was a duty-free store. I was feeling kind of seasick from the road motion; and crackers and ginger ale were on my mind. Once inside the shop I saw chocolate.
Everything was chocolate — candy, cookies, and muffins. Not my choice of tummy woes food. Worse, the cashier played me and took advantage of my ignorance to US and Canada currency. Still queasy and praying that I’d survive, I nibbled on the oversized treat while Canada bound.
Once in Vancouver my stomach was back to normal. Actually, I was in heaven with a high-rise suite to live for, anticipation of city fun, and chamomile tea. In the morning, I ordered a carafe of coffee, a fresh, warm chocolate chip scone, and orange juice. This recipe is inspired by my love for chocolate, coffee, and travel.
Chocolate Chip Scones
2 ¼ cups self-rising flour
¼ cup teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup European style butter, cold small cubes
1/2 cup Greek vanilla honey yogurt
1 brown egg
¾-1 cup milk or dark premium chocolate chips
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
A dash of nutmeg
2 teaspoons orange rind
2 tablespoons European style butter, melted
* You can make a vanilla glaze to drizzle on the scones. 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, half-and-half to a nice smooth texture, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Or forget the melted butter and raw sugar; and dust scones with confectioners’ sugar for a hint of elegance.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl mix flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add chunks of butter (sliced in small squares). Set aside. In another bowl combine yogurt and egg. Mix. Fold in nuts, spices, and rind. For a rustic scone, drop ½ cup spoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. (Or you can put dough into a buttered greased round baking dish for one big round scone.) Drizzle with butter and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake until light golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes for individual scones; about 20 to 25 minutes for a round scone. Remove from oven. Slice whole scone into triangles. Serve warm. Makes 8-10. Note: You can use cake flour for a lighter scone but then you’ll need 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
Chocolate is usually good any time. The orange gives this scone a nice tart punch. The nuts add crunch. And, of course, raw sugar on top is sweet to the palate and glaze is even sweeter. For Valentine’s Day adding organic strawberry jam and cream cheese is a perfect pairing.
This Sunday I won’t be at a bookstore but at 9 a.m., I will be a radio guest on San Francisco’s KSFO to dish on my new Herbs & Spices book. And likely, I’ll have a scone with jam and coffee for memory’s sake. As I say, “You’re where you’re supposed to be.” I’ll be home.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs & Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is http://www.calorey.com.