Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pear & Chocolate Scones

Have you ever had pears from Harry & David? When I was growing up, my aunt used to send our family boxes of fruit from Harry & David for Christmas, and I always looked forward to the pears. They're divine. You haven't had a pear until you have had a Harry & David pear. (Side note: No one is bribing me to write this about these heavenly pieces of fruit. But if anyone wants to give me free pears to bake with, please do!). They also come in these perfect boxes with one of the pears wrapped in gold foil. Swoon. Last year, a friend of mine sent me a box for my birthday and that is the moment I knew our friendship was something special (thanks Kristen!). 

Anyways, those fancy pears started my love affair with this fruit. Yeah, you have to let them ripen, and yeah they have a certain window of deliciousness before they get too mushy. But that just makes them more special, right? Pears are a winter fruit, and I tried hard to pick three perfect ones for this recipe, which resulted in getting different kinds: one Bartlett and two Bosc pears. I also let them ripen in my fruit bowl for an entire week. Labors of love, I tell you. 

I also have a thing for scones. My partner and I like to think we're "scone people". Is that even a real thing? Anyways, since we have been together, we have been splitting scones. Every time we get coffee, or go to brunch, we like to split a scone. They seem to be readily available and delicious at home in Denver. However, Philadelphia is lacking in the scone department. This was a big gripe of ours when we first moved - we went to SO many coffee shops and breakfast places with high hopes for scones, only to have them not be there. There are muffins, coffee cakes, donuts, you name it -- but there aren't scones. After careful coffee-drinking our way through the city, we have found them at a couple places, but they're rare and elusive. So, I started baking them kind of a lot. I just love a good scone. So, my love of pears + leftover chocolate chunks (from the banana muffins last week) + extreme scone lust = this morning's breakfast (made at noon, in my bathrobe, after sleeping in for the first time in weeks -- it felt amazing). 

Pear & Chocolate Scones 
makes 8 

2 cups whole wheat flour 
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
6 tablespoons butter, finely cubed 
3 ripe pears, diced 
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks 
1 egg
2/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add the small butter cubes to the dry mixture and use both hands to incorporate. Continue mixing until the consistency is that of coarse sand.
4. Gently fold in the diced pear and chocolate chunks. 
5. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry bowl and stir gently until combined. 
6. Lightly flour a clean surface and then dump the ball of dough out. With lightly floured hands, form a uniform round, about an inch thick. Using a floured knife, cut the circle into 8 equal pieces (like a pizza). 
7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the scones to the baking sheet and bake until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Turn the sheet once during cooking to insure uniform baking. Let cool before devouring. 

recipe adapted from Pastry Affair 

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