And the winner of the 2016 scone bake-0ff

There was definitely a grand winner and I'll save that until last.. But coming in with 4.5 stars was the very first recipe I tried.  In fact they were so good I really thought they would be unbeatable.

This recipe was.. "the World's Best Scones! From Scotland to the Savoy"  I used raisins and walnuts in this batch.  The  Oregon bakery's scones had just a bit of rosemary in them and since my rosemary was so lovely  I added some fresh from the garden....

At 4 stars were the "Fresh Apple Cinnamon Scones" from the King Arthur flour site and they were  judged in first place by Morris.  With spices, fresh apples and applesauce they were really outstanding.  They will be a repeat recipe for sure..

Also at 4 stars (just barely) were the "Lemon-Poppy Seed Scones"..  They were just a tad too "cakey" but still delicious and deserve  another bake. I would definitely add more lemon zest to them next time. This recipe only called for 2 T. lemon juice and the lemon flavor could have been stronger for my taste.

And at dismal last and did not even get photographed were the chocolate/orange scones.  The recipe went straight into the trash and I had such high hopes for that recipe...  just dreadful.

Chocolate Hazelnut Ricotta Scones

And the winner was a recipe I chose on a whim for a really  unrelated reason.  Every so often I cook an Italian recipe which calls for ricotta cheese so I buy a carton and then only use half of it.  And there is never a second recipe imminent to use before the rest of  it spoils.  So when I was searching scone recipes and found one that actually called for ricotta cheese I immediately printed it out.  And lo and behold it turned out to be the winning 5 star recipe.  I did recently see a recipe for orange-ricotta scones which I will try also..

 This did make a double recipe but could easily be halved.  I did make one change though....I reduced the sugar to 1 cup as DH does not like his scones too sweet... Also I did not add the glaze on these or any of the scones because again DH does like his too sweet.
Chocolate Hazelnut Ricotta Scones with Nutella Glaze
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 16 scones
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or organic shortening, ice cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 100g (about 2/3 cup) semi-sweet dark chocolate, roughly chopped (or chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons nutella
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  2. -If using food processor (steps 2-3):
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of a food processor
  4. Add cold butter to dry mixture and pulse until it is fine and powdery. Add ricotta, egg, and vanilla extract to mixture and pulse to combine until it comes together into a dough.
  5. -If doing by hand (steps 4-5):
  6. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to a large mixing bowl and mix well. Grate butter with a cheese grater then use a pastry cutter or pair of knives to cut it into the dry mix until you have a course, crumbly mixture.
  7. Add the ricotta, egg, and vanilla extract to a small bowl and stir to combine, then pour into dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula until it comes together.
  8. Fold in chocolate and hazelnuts then scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half and, with well floured hands because the dough will be a bit wet, flatten each half into a circular disc shape, about an inch high. Do your best to handle the dough as little as possible in order to keep it cold. (If you're having trouble with handling it you can chill it for about 30 minutes in the fridge or even the freezer to make it easier to work with.)
  9. Make 4 cuts, straight, across, and diagonally, in the circle so that you have 8 equal triangles (see photos) Repeat with other half of dough. Seperate them and place each triangle about 2 inches apart to allow spreading room on prepared pan.
  10. Bake for 12 - 16 minutes or until edges start to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  11. While the scones are cooling, whisk all ingredients together for the glaze until smooth. When completely cool drizzle glaze over scones and let dry for about 30 minutes. Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.

 I didn't get the pumpkin scones baked but will give them a try next month.  I can't imagine any recipe will displace the chocolate/ricotta scones though.. 

I believe part of the success was due to a few extra tips   I found as I was researching recipes.  All recipes cautioned about overworking the dough and I did find specific instructions on handling the dough with a bench scraper and gently folding it.  The second tip was freezing the butter and grating it into the flour mixture which I did with every recipe.  And the final tip was once the dough was cut and on a baking sheet to stick it in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking to achieve a better rise which I also did.  These tips seemed to help.

Because of this challenge Morris has received the official title of "Royal Guardian of the Scones."  As long as a tray of scones sat on the counter cooling he parked himself right by it as long as it was there...and nary a crumb made it all the way to the floor.


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

These all look so good! Thanks for sharing.

Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Recipes have been written out and passed along to the resident chef. Plan to have our own testing session....thanks!

Debbie Smith said...

I'll be baking these but with gluten free flour. Hope they taste as good as yours.

margaret said...

you have certainly been very busy in the kitchen, such a variety but poor me only likes plain scones, mind you they have to have respberry jam and thick cream on

Marilyn said...

I'm definitely going to give some of these a try. It will be a toss up between the lemon (I love lemon) and the chocolate hazelnut ones as to which will be first. Thanks for testing and posting the best ones :)

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