Thursday, February 09, 2012

Chocolate-cherry scones with cinnamon-orange butter

chocolate cherry scones

Sometimes you get a craving. For me, it was a slice of chocolate-cherry bread, that sweet yeasty loaf from Central Market riddled with chunks of bittersweet chocolate and tart, juicy berries. When I lived in Austin, it was a favorite of mine and while I’ve had other chocolate breads since, there's something about their version that's uniquely addictive.

It was summer and fortunately a trip to Houston was planned. When I arrived, I immediately visited Central Market so I could reacquaint myself with this long-favored bread. Now, it had been a while since I had bought a loaf, but I was surprised when I went to the bread department and couldn’t find it. I asked the baker about its whereabouts and he said, “Come back tomorrow—we should have it then.”

The next day, I returned to the store and went to the bakery. Again, I didn’t see the bread. I asked the baker about it and he repeated what he had told me the day before. “Come back tomorrow—we'll definitely have it then.”

chocolate cherry scones

I was scheduled to return to New York the next day, but before I left, I dropped by the store one last time to see if they had the chocolate-cherry bread. And sadly, it wasn’t there. A different baker was working and I asked him why they didn’t have it. He told me that it was a special bread only sold around Christmas and Valentine’s and if I wanted a loaf I should return during those holidays.

This was news to me. When I lived in Austin it seemed they always had it on offer along with free samples that helped foster my affection for it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go home for Christmas this year, so I attempted to recreate what I remembered about the bread back in New York City.

Making chocolate yeast bread seemed simple in theory, yet after trying several recipes none of them had the deep chocolate flavor I remember from the Central Market loaf. It was frustrating. But while making a batch of biscuits, I had an idea. I threw in some cocoa powder, bumped up the sugar, stirred in some chocolate and dried sour cherries just to see what would happen. And the resulting chocolate-cherry biscuits, or scones if you prefer, were extremely satisfying.

The scones were tender yet rich, warm with chocolate and bright with cherries. Finished with a sprinkle of raw sugar for crunch, these scones might not have been the exact bread that I remembered but they were just what I wanted.

Now, I will admit that these are a bit decadent as an everyday food, but they’re perfect for special winter mornings, especially when slathered with cinnamon-orange butter. (Chocolate gravy would also be good.) And if you’re looking for a special way to show someone you love them, I can’t think of a better way than starting their day with a plate of chocolate-cherry scones, warm from the oven.

chocolate cherry scones

My work has me visiting Texas on Valentine’s Day this year, so perhaps I’ll finally get to eat the chocolate cherry bread that I remember. But if for some reason I still can’t find it, I’m fine as these chocolate cherry scones may be a bit different, but they are just as good.

Chocolate cherry scones with cinnamon-orange butter
Ingredients:
For the chocolate cherry scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 stick) well-chilled butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon orange zest
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Raw sugar and powdered sugar for sprinkling

For the cinnamon-orange butter:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 teaspoons brown sugar

Method:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and grease a baking sheet or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.

Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Cut the stick of butter into pieces, and work into the flour mixture with your hands or a pastry blender until it resembles pea-sized crumbs.

Stir in the chocolate chips, dried cherries and orange zest. Pour in the half-and-half and vanilla extract and mix until a shaggy dough is formed. The dough should be slightly sticky but manageable.

For neater scones, roll the dough out on a non-stick surface until it’s 1/4-inch thick and fold over. Using a cutter, (can use a glass or a cup if don’t have a biscuit cutter) cut out the scones from the dough. Roll out remaining scraps and repeat the process. Alternatively, you can simply spoon hand-sized balls of dough onto the greased sheet or skillet.

Sprinkle the tops with the raw sugar and bake until lightly brown, about 15 minutes or until the edges are firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. While the scones are baking, make the cinnamon-orange butter by stirring together the butter, cinnamon orange zest and brown sugar until well combined. When scones are done, serve warm with the cinnamon orange butter.

Yield: about 10-12 scones

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45 comments:

Jenny said...

Those look yummy! I've always been intimidated by scones, even though I don't think I've ever even looked at a recipe. I just know that my mom makes them, and everything she makes is complicated and tedious! Love the cinnamon orange butter

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Jenny--Scones (and biscuits) are a cinch! You can do it, and definitely try the cinnamon-orange butter, too.

christina @ ovenadventures said...

I love scones and these sounds amazing. I'm now craving cherries.

Aoj said...

You've sorta read my mind! All yesterday afternoon, in the drab weather, I was dreaming about making scones or sweet biscuits. Maybe a strawberry shortcake version? Without looking up recipes, I was wondering about the ratio of sugar and whether to use buttermilk. These look delectable! I can see dousing them in chocolate gravy or dipped in hot chocolate or covered with ice cream. My mouth is watering! Thanks for all the great recipes!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Christina--Cherries are especially great in winter because it's been so long since they were in season.

Aoj--You could swap out buttermilk for these, though I prefer them with half-and-half as they're richer. And chocolate gravy would be wonderful with these!

Michele said...

Hi Lisa, I live in East Texas and therefore am NOT homesick! Even so, after a reference to your blog on Smitten Kitchen, I purchased your cookbook. We absolutely LOVE it. Uncle Joe's salsa is wonderful. Plain old dried pinto beans, made your way............fabulous. I haven't found another Tex-Mex book to measure up to this one. Congratulations on a fine book, and know that we will be purchasing two more, one for each of our married sons. Best wishes, Michele

Anonymous said...

These look yummy but what happened to the COWBOY cookie recipe? It says it has been removed?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Michele--Thank you so much! That just makes my day to hear how much you're enjoying the book.

Anon--They haven't gone anywhere! Here's the link for the cowboy cookies recipe.

Anonymous said...

Anon again--when you click on Cowboy Cookies from the index it says "page not found"!
Oh no! Not the Cowboy Cookies!.....
Thanks for the link!

ileana said...

Sorry you didn't get your bread, but now we have these! :) They look and sound so good. One question - why does the butter have to be chilled to make the scones?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Ileana--Chilled butter makes them flakier.

Anon--Thanks for letting me know that link isn't working, I'll be sure and fix it.

Chefconnie said...

Hi, very beautiful blog. Love the chocolate scones. I am new here and glad I have found your blog.

chelsea lyn said...

mmMMmm these sound lovely!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Chefconnie--Welcome!

Chelsea Lyn--Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Good news, Lisa! The chocolate cherry bread is featured in CM's weekly ad for the Austin, SA and Houston stores Feb. 8 through 14. It is described as "chunked with Callebaut chocolate and Michigan dry cherries," $3.99 each. I'll probably try your recipe, though.

Patti

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Patti--Yay! Thanks for letting me know!

marthameetslucy said...

I have yet to have a yeasty chocolate bread turn out. Luckily, the failed loaves make for amazing bread pudding. Kahlua hard sauce optional, but encouraged.

Pilar said...

Hi,
I live in Houston and go every Monday to Central Market, and since is my favorite bread too I always check for the samples at least (too decadent for every week grocery shopping) and they have it randomly. I saw it 2 weeks ago. I can buy it next time I see it and freeze it for you.
Best,

mami abroad said...

Thanks so much for this! I get such a craving for chocolate cherry bread at Valentine time. I believe that it was a version from Great Harvest Bread that sold me years ago. But, alas, I now live in Sweden and there is nothing such to be had! And I have tried many an online recipe without the success I wanted. So these will certainly be tried this year!!!!!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Marthameetslucy--That's an excellent idea! Good to know.

Pilar--That's one of my favorite things about Central Market--all the samples they offer!

Mami Abroad--You're very welcome! Enjoy!

The Cozy Herbivore said...

I've been on a huge scone kick lately, and I absolutely love the combination of chocolate and cherry, so these seem just about perfect right now! Thanks for the recipe, can't wait to give 'em a whirl!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

The Cozy Herbivore--Chocolate and cherries are one of my favorite combinations, too!

Celeste said...

Lisa, one of my early memories is seeing my grandmother cut out cookies with an overturned glass. To me that sight IS home cooking. Thanks for the nice memory today!

Cookie said...

I got up this morning to look up a good scone recipe because I'm having a tea party with a friend using my new beautiful tea set that I just got for my birthday. My favorite ingredients are chocolate and cherries, so I was very happy to see your post first thing this morning! Perfect timing!! Thank you, Lisa! :)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Celeste--I agree! With such limited space in my kitchen, there's no need to clutter my drawers any more than I have to.

Cookie--How about that! Hope you enjoy them!

SuperBonBon said...

You read my mind! I have a craving for CM's elusive chocolate cherry bread too. I recently visited on a weekday (in Plano) and was told it's a weekend offering. I was able to return on the weekend, but in light of your post I may have to grab another loaf this weekend, just in case it disappears after Valentine's Day. I will be sure to try out this scone recipe the next time I have a craving!

DessertForTwo said...

I did notice that bread was only carried about the holidays because we used to buy it for our Christmas morning spread. I love when you talk about Central Market...it warms my heart :)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

SuperBonBon--I bet it freezes well. I plan on bringing a loaf back with me to NYC.

DessertForTwo--Central Market warms my heart, too!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Those look right up my alley, not too sweet, deep chocolate flavor and a little bit of fruit thrown in for good measure!

Anonymous said...

I worked at the bakery in the Central Market in Southlake and they made it daily. So sorry the Houston store doesn't bake up that yumilicious bread!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Rocky Mountain Woman--You can never go wrong with deep chocolate and a little bit of fruit.

Anon--I know! I bet it would sell if they had it.

Karen Elizabeth said...

Yum, this sounds delicious, think it will be on my list for Sunday! Have you tried CM cranberry pistachio bread! It's good too.

Anonymous said...

Drove from Port Neches to Houston in the rain to get the bread. So well worth it,I bought 3 loaves.

kale @ tastes good to me! said...

Well these look amazing, and good for you for making your very own version!

Katie said...

Okay, now I have a craving for these too! They look irresistible!

SweetSavoryPlanet said...

Chocolate Cherry scones sounds amazing. I remember Central Market's delicious chocolate bread and that it was disappointingly seasonal. I don't remember a cherry version at the time. I just posted a chocolate bread on my blog and mentioned Central Market's choc bread too (what are the odds of that!). I think it is a really good recipe but is denser than CM's. A good chocolate bread is so hard to come by. I miss Austin and I can't even tell you how much I miss Central Market. The last time I had their chocolate bread was probably 1996 and I still have it on the brain!

Shelley said...

Chocolate! Cherry! Cinnamon! Orange!

As a writer, all I need is the words....

Mark Hoelscher said...

My wife just almost bought Central Market out of chocolate Cherry bread for our kid's teachers. Happy Valentines Day! Although, I don't think the bread is as good as it used to be. Before I remember a quite thick, chewy crust. This round was softer, with a more "store bought" feeling crust. Of course, I ate it just the same.

Beth said...

Isn't it amazing how fancy butter makes everything more decadent? Thanks for the great post-

Bebe said...

I made these last night and they are wonderful. I rolled out the dough and used a heart shaped cookie cutter to make Valentine's Day treats. I also made the orange/cinnamon butter - YUM! These will definitely be on the menu of our next Alice In Wonderland Tea Party. Thanks for making Texas proud and keep the great recipes coming!

nutsvilleinnorway said...

wow! these look absolutely wonderful. I'm not sure I can get dried cherries here in Norway, I wonder if you can sub dried cranberries instead?

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

Yum! I wonder if these would work with dried strawberries? I have a bag of dried strawberries and I'm going to try it out. They look so yummy!

Noreen said...

I was in Central Market Houston this morning and bought some of their chocolate chunk dried cherry muffins!! Probably not the same as the bread but delicious none the less.

jennifer said...

I had completely forgotten about CM's chocolate bread! The one I miss the most is the Pepper Cheese Bread with aged gouda and roasted peppers. They list it on the catering menu but I never see it in the store.

Jennie @themessybakerblog said...

Oh my, these sound delicious, and they look amazing- perfect, really! Cinnamon orange butter- Yes, please! Bookmarked.

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