Sunday, May 16, 2010

Chocolate Scones

I've practiced yoga, off and on, for the past couple of years, sometimes at yoga studios and with friends, but mostly, I just do it at home all by my lonesome. I'm not bendy and I cannot contort my body into a pretzel though, I still take great comfort in the peacefulness of each exercise. While I strive to one day become more limber, I am well aware of the limitations of my body -- I can only stretch and bend so far. For me, each practice is a journey and with each journey comes a renewal of faith in my ability to become stronger and more balanced both inside and out.

A couple of days ago I made dough for Chocolate Scones, cut them into rectangles and placed them in the freezer to bake off later. On Saturday morning I awoke with a sweet tooth and decided to bake a few to enjoy after yoga.

I placed the scones on a baking sheet and then popped them into the oven; set the timer for 35 minutes and was off to roll out my yoga mat. I chose a yoga practice that would take approximately 35 minutes to complete.

While in downward facing dog breathing in deeply though my nose, I got a powerful whiff of butter, sugar and chocolate. The scones smelled like sweet goodness and my yoga seemed to go on forever. I tried to concentrate on what the lady in the video was telling me to do, so I allowed my body to move with ease into each posture all the while trying to ignore the aroma wafting in from the kitchen.

Suddenly, as I was moving toward the very last tree pose and the woman in the video started to smile and congratulate me on finishing the practice, the oven timer went off. I sprang from my yoga mat with such speed that I hadn't noticed how exactly I came to be in front of the oven. One minute I was saying Namaste and the next, I was licking my lips.

I'm sure any yogi will tell you that what I did wasn't entirely in the spirit of what yoga is all about. So what do I have to say to that? Namaste.

Chocolate Scones
Recipe from: Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook


2 1/4 cups flour
3 tbsps Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps sugar
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsps) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/3-inch to 1/2 inch pieces (1 cup) I used chocolate chips instead.
1 large whole egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps heavy cream
Sanding sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Line baking sheet with parchment; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, 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.

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 directionsand incorporating crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, until dough just comes together. {If too dry, add more cream a tablespoon at a time}

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and gently pat into a 18-by-3-inch rectangle about 1 inch thick {I rolled mine into about a 13-by-3-inch rectangle}. Using a sharp knife or a pastry wheel, cut the rectangle into six 3-inch squares {or any size/shape you like}. 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 ake, up to 3 weeks.}

Preheat oven to 375. 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 in the center of a scone comes out clearn, 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. they are best if eaten the day they are baked.