This is a sponsored post, but as always, all opinions are my own.
I don’t know how it happened but the great big leap from summer to fall has already happened. Mornings have a definite chill to them, and the leaves have begun the great progression from green to amber and orange. To be honest, I’m grateful for it. Summer definitely has its positive points, but I love the feeling of fall and all of the comfort food that comes with it. Like pots of tea and scones!
With the changing of seasons I wanted a scone that has some sturdiness to it, yet with a buttery crumb. And instead of berries, I wanted chopped Natural Delights Medjool Dates as they add lovely caramel flavour, plus puddles of melted chocolate, and the bright zip of citrus running throughout the bake. And oh my! These scones are absolutely lovely to nibble on with good lashings of salted butter. They’re ideal for a second breakfast or a bedtime snack as I hunker down with the latest episode of “The Bear.” Is anyone else watching? It’s so good!
Medjool dates are so dreamy to bake with. They are bathed in sunshine as they grow in the Bard Valley and you can taste the sun in every bite. Packaged straight from nature, Medjools are a versatile ingredient to cook and bake with. I love adding them to big green salads along with toasted pecans, goat cheese and grilled chicken. So good! I also grab plump and juicy Medjool dates when it’s snack time around here. Sometimes I’ll add a little dark chocolate to go along for the ride, or else chunks of cheese and cured meats like salami or prosciutto too. That’s the marvelous thing about Natural Delights Medjool Dates, they are the perfect sweet or savoury snack, depending on what you pair them with. They also pack a nutritional punch. Nutrient dense with 16 essential vitamins and minerals, dietary fibre and natural sugars, Medjool dates not only have a delicious caramel flavour, but provide sustained energy to keep me powered throughout the busy day. And, Medjools are a fresh fruit, never dried, and readily available year-round in the produce section of your local supermarket.
I love to keep all of this info in mind as I bake with the Medjools, and of course I can taste their deliciousness in every bite of my buttery scones. They aren’t terribly sweet, which allows the flavour of the Medjools, chocolate and orange to shine through. Plus, the scones come together quickly so you can make them for a delicious snack whenever you get a hankering for something yummy to go with coffee or tea. It’s best if the butter and cream are quite cold, as they will help the layers to be light, which is what you want in a scone. And I’ve included my trick about grating the cold butter instead of cubing it - so much faster! Remember not to overwork the dough, and brush the tops with cream for a golden brown finish. These are best the day you bake them, but they also freeze well. Your future self thanks you already!
Enjoy these wonderful fall days. I hope they are treating you well, wherever you are.
Medjool Date, Chocolate and Orange Scones
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cold salted butter
3/4 cup chopped Natural Delights Medjool dates
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
1 large egg
1 cup plus 3 Tbsp cold whipping cream
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
coarse or granulated sugar for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and orange zest. Use a cheese grater to grate in the cold butter. Use your hands to quickly combine the butter with the flour until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the Medjool dates and chocolate.
3. In a medium bowl, beat the egg, then add the whipping cream (reserving 1 Tbsp for brushing the tops of the scones). Whisk in the vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until combined.
4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until it comes together. Shape the dough into an 8-inch circle that’s 1-inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with the reserved whipping cream and sprinkle with coarse or granulated sugar. Bake for 10 minutes then turn the temperature down to 350ºF and bake for another 14-18 minutes until the scones are golden. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 scones.