Sleepy scones: A study in productivity

Saturday night I went to bed around 11:30 p.m. I tried to lull myself to sleep for an hour, trying to shut off my mind. When that didn’t work I stared at the orange glow of my alarm clock for 57 minutes. Enthralling I tell you. Fully awake at 2 a.m., I decided to do what any normal person would do: rearrange furniture.

With my living room newly restyled, I flipped through my TV channels twice before going to the kitchen, opening all the cupboards and thinking of what to make. By 4 a.m. I put on the kettle and had decided to make proper breakfast food. Enter scones.

I’ve blogged about scones before. I had half a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer, and was contemplating a repeat batch when I spied the remnant bag of crystallized ginger in the back of my spice cupboard. Seven, pathetic shards of ginger stared at me, pleading, “Use us up.” Well, who am I to refuse?

I swapped the cranberries for about two tablespoons of ginger and then about 1/8 of a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips for good measure. Ok, so maybe I was cleaning the pantry and not being talked to by shelf goods, but it worked.

Second confession, I fooled around with the butter and upped it by two tablespoons. I understand baking is a science and precision is the law, but sometimes life just needs more butter. Hear me out, I needed to add the extra butter because I only had skim milk on hand. Since the recipe calls for fatty milk, I figured the extra butter would even everything out.

Coco-Ginger Scones, adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s Scottish Scones



1/2 cup skim milk

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

6 Tbs. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled (dice and put in the freezer until ready to use)

3 Tbs. sugar

2 or 3 Tbs. crystallized ginger, finely diced

large handful or 1/8 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Beat together milk and egg. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.

2. Now comes the fun part. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until there are no lumps larger than a pea. This is why you need cold butter. If you didn’t have thoroughly chilled butter, the heat from your hands would melt it and then you wouldn’t get flaky scones. Also, this is my favorite part of the scone making process. At first, nothing seems to be happening, but then this plume of buttery-floury smell hits your nose and it’s like you’re in a bakery. It is delicious.

3. When the butter is broken down into proper lumps, add the sugar, ginger and chocolate chips. Stir to mix. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, but reserve a little bit of the milk-egg mixture to use as a glaze. Bring the dough together gently with a wooden spoon.

4. Place dough on a lightly floured counter and knead it no more than 12 times. Pat the dough into a 1/2 inch thick round and cut into 8 wedges. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, or one lined with tin foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup. Glaze the scones with the remaining milky-egg; a final sprinkle of sugar over the top wouldn’t be bad here either.

5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack (or eat immediately, burned mouth be damned).


2 thoughts on “Sleepy scones: A study in productivity

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