For Mother’s Day, I wanted to share with you a recipe that may have never existed had I not become a mom. This is my most requested recipe, second to my chocolate chip cookies, so here it is – chocolate chip buttermilk scones! But first, a stroll down memory lane…
Once upon a time, for many years up until my daughter was born, I actually used my college degree and worked at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in the Pathology Laboratories. Yes, I am a science geek and proud of it. This may be why I love baking so much. It truly is a science, as opposed to cooking which I love as well, but there’s a certain precision and accuracy required in baking that is not as crucial a factor in cooking. I commuted to the city by train and usually slept the entire way there. The worst part about working there was waking up at 5am to catch the 6am train. I am not a morning person so this was sheer torture. The best part about it was that I’d pick up a freshly baked scone from the bakery near the hospital for breakfast at least twice a week.
In my 8th month of pregnancy with our first child, the arrangements we had made with a nanny we loved fell through. She found out that she was pregnant herself with her second child, and would not be able to care for our daughter. Her first pregnancy was high risk and she was on bed rest for most of it. She knew that she was going to need help with her own toddler during this pregnancy, so there was no way she could be our nanny as well. She felt terrible but we completely understood and with no time to start the nanny search all over, I made the decision to give up my career to stay home with my newborn daughter. I loved my job but I was also excited to become a mother and start this new chapter of my life. I missed my work and my coworkers, the projects I had been working on and had to pass on to someone else, and I was sad to miss out on the new laboratory technology coming our way. And, I missed the scones so much that I was on a mission to recreate them at home.
Being a stay at home mom allowed me time to experiment with scone recipes while my daughter, Juliana was napping. This recipe was born a few months after she was, and I haven’t changed it in over 13 years. I do occasionally change up the flavorings, but the base recipe remains the same. Chocolate chip scones are my absolute favorite, but white chocolate and orange is a close second. During the holidays, cranberry and pistachio with white chocolate drizzle is so festive and flavorful. You can add almost any flavorings you like or leave them plain, the way my 10 year old son prefers. These scones are tender, flaky, not too sweet, and the perfect breakfast treat with tea, coffee or juice. I always have scones in the freezer ready to pop in the oven for unexpected guests. Just like my chocolate chip cookies (recipe under desserts), they are best when baked from the frozen state and enjoyed soon after baking. I prefer them while still slightly warm.
A few years later, my son Will was born in the same hospital, my old workplace. Any mother would agree that childbirth is exhausting, even if it takes just a few minutes like in my case. My mother did not want to be in the delivery room when Will made his appearance, so she decided to go to the cafeteria for a bit. She was still waiting for the elevator on our floor when my nurse went out to tell her to come back in and meet her new grandson. He was quite anxious to escape his nine month confinement and that was just fine with me. We all stared at baby Will in amazement, welcomed him to the world, and told him we loved him and held him. When the nurse took him away for his bath, I told my Brad, my husband that I needed to eat something stat. Guess what he ran out to get me?
Chocolate Chip Scones (makes 32 small or 16 large scones)
1 tablespoon white vinegar (not white wine vinegar)
1 cup, less 1 tablespoon 2% milk
2 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, (plus more for dusting your work surface)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- For homemade buttermilk, pour 1 tablespoon white vinegar into a measuring cup and add enough milk until the milk/vinegar mixture measures 1 cup and set aside.
- Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add the chilled butter pieces to the bowl and pulse until the butter is broken up into small pea sized bits.
- With the food processor running, pour the buttermilk in and turn it off when it begins to form a dough. NOTE: You can also make these using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, or by hand. Use your fingers to crumble and blend the cold butter into the flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to blend in the buttermilk.
- Remove the scone batter and place it onto a generously floured surface. Incorporate the chocolate chips into the batter by gently kneading and folding it onto itself.
- Divide the dough into 2 pieces for larger scones, or 4 pieces for smaller scones.
- Form each piece into a circle about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and cut into triangles. You can also use a cookie cutter if you’d like circles or specific shapes. Reroll scraps gently without overworking the batter if you are using a cutter.
- Place your scones onto a parchment lined baking sheet and chill for a few hours before baking or freeze for best results.
- To bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake refrigerated or frozen scones (do not thaw), on a parchment lined baking sheet for 15-18 minutes depending on the size and shape of your scones. They will puff up about three times from their unbaked state and will be a light golden brown. *Optional: Before baking, you can brush the top of each scone with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Enjoy while still warm from the oven with your favorite morning beverage. Happy Mother’s Day!