Chocolate Cranberry Scones

It seems that scones are always hit-or-miss.  The good ones crumble when you try to tear off a piece, are moist without being gummy, and have a touch of sweetness, without being a cookie.  Although I have a favorite, go-to scone recipe (which I will post about in the upcoming month), I decided to try something new.

This chocolate scone recipe has been bookmarked for a while; I simply did not find the right occasion to make them…until last week that is.

The recipe is a breeze to make, and you probably have most (if not all) of the ingredients in your kitchen.  The utterly rich, chocolate-studded scone dough is balanced by the tart bite of the fresh cranberries.  These scones would make a great breakfast treat for holiday guests.

 
Chocolate Cranberry Scones
(Adapted from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook)
These scones are quite rich, but make a wonderful treat in the morning with a nice big mug of coffee.  Makes 12
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons high-quality cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup chopped cranberries
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream (you can substitute milk, preferably whole)
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Line a baking sheet with parchment; set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining.  Fold in the chocolate and the cranberries.
Whisk together the whole egg and 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cream.  Add egg mixture to the flour mixture; using a rubber spatula, fold in, working in all directions and incorporating crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, until dough just comes together.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and gently pat into a 12×9 inch rectangle about 1 inch thick.  Using a sharp knife or a pastry wheel, cut the rectangle into 12  3-inch squares.  Place squares about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until the dough is very firm, at least 1 hour or overnight. (At this point, you can freeze the unbaked scones in a resealable plastic bag until ready to bake, up to 3 weeks.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolk with the remaining tablespoon heavy cream; brush over the tops of the scones and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar, if using.  Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the sugar on top of the scones turns golden all over, or a cake tester inserted int th center of a scone comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  They are best eaten the day they are baked.
Enjoy.