Food + Wine

Dark Cocoa Cream Scones

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a scone recipe.  But I wrote this last night in bed when I was craving a little comfort.  I had had a conversation earlier that day with a good friend about how sweet our society eats their desserts.  We both talked about how much better a sweet treat tastes if a lot of the sugar is taken away.  You can really taste the ingredients much better if you scale back on the sugar…otherwise that’s all your tasting.  Sugar.

So. Much. Sugar.

And then we discussed the serious subject of chocolate- milk or dark.

Dark, duh.

Baking soothes me.  It calms me.  It balances me.  It exemplifies something I can control when things seem… out of my control.  I’ve been making scones for years, and love coming up with new flavors.  I could make them in my sleep.  So it was the perfect recipe to test today when I needed to guarantee success.

These are so so lovely.  I’m not generally a ‘chocolate for breakfast’ advocate.  (I’ve been known to eat leftover birthday cake for breakfast, so I won’t judge you if you’re a chocolate fan first thing.)  But I don’t like an overly sweet thing in the morning… or ever, really.  I’m just not a sweets kinda gal.  I do, however, love me a good, balanced baked good.  And these are perfect.  They’re only slightly sweet, just enough to balance out the bitter dark cocoa.  They’re tender, moist, and just plain divine.

No matter what we go through in life, food always seems to be what can connect us and balance us.  Good or bad things can happen and we turn to food to provide the balance.  We need food to survive and food is what makes us think of home.  I’m so happy that I know food well enough to be the person someone can count on in moments of stress- bad or good.  But the bonus is that it helps me out too.  Baking these scones today, with the help of my dear friend who’s moments away from having her third baby, helped me realize that when bad things happen, there is always something amazingly good around the corner.


So what do you do when life hands you something bitter?

You take a little bit of sweet, a lot of love, and create a little balance.


makes 8 large scones

In the bowl of a food processor add the following dry ingredients…

  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose (unbleached is preferred) flour
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (unsweetened, pure cocoa)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Pulse to mix it all together well.

Add to it…

  • 1 (8 oz) brick of neufchâtel cream cheese that you’ve cut into ‘chunks’ and chilled

Blend until the cream cheese is fully mixed in and ‘disappeared’

Add to it…

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter that you’ve diced and chilled 

Blend again until the butter pieces break down, making the dough appear somewhat sandy in texture

With the mixer on, slowly pour in (through the spout hole)…

  • roughly 1/3 cup of very cold half&half, whole milk or cream.

It’s very important to do it slowly so you don’t add too much.  You’re done adding milk when the dough comes together in a moist ball when you squeeze it between your fingers.

(It does not need to ball up into a big dough ball in the food processor.  That means you’ve added too much liquid.  If that happens, you will need to add more flour by hand before cutting, and the texture and flavor will be just slightly off.)

Dump dough onto a dry, flat surface and shape into a flat disk, roughly 2 inches high.

Cut into 8 triangles, like you’re slicing a pie.

Place on an un-greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 375.

They will be moist and soft when you remove them from the oven, but will firm up as they cool.  Do NOT overbake.

Cool on the cookie sheets and enjoy room temperature.

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