Today I’m going to talk a little about scones. Not so much about scones really but how the scones at the Ash Street Inn got to be what they are today. It was an interesting journey that ended with a great result!
Before we opened we had determined that we wanted to make cookies and scones, from scratch, every day, so our guests would be able to have a little snack in the afternoon. So first we needed to learn how make scones. After a bit of trial and error, we were making some great scones! We made them the traditional way as a 10” round which we cut into 8 wedges and kept them out on the counter under a pastry dome. Our guests oohed and aahed but rarely touched them.
“Maybe they’re just too big for snacking!” opined my wife, Darlene. [She’s the real innkeeper – I’m just the cook…] So we made them as drop scones and got 12-14 from the batch. We still heard the oohs and aahs but no one touched them. “Smaller still” says the innkeeper! Now I’m down to a medium cookie scoop, about one ounce capacity, and a batch makes 26-27 small scones.
Out goes the plate with four each of four different varieties. And they disappear! The same guests who wouldn’t take one before now have two or three of the little scones and then come back for more. We just can’t keep them on the plate!
So that’s how we learned to make little scones that our guests really love. More importantly, that’s how we learned a lot more about guests and how to listen to all of the things that they don’t say so that we can make their experience here at the Inn the best that it can be.
Here’s one of the recipes that we use at the Inn. Great with a hot cup of tea but just as good with coffee!
CHOCOLATE CHIP ORANGE SCONES
Chocolate and orange, a classic combination from the Ash Street Inn!
2 cups all-purpose flour ¼ cup orange juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder grated peel from one orange
½ teaspoon salt ¾ cup miniature chocolate chips (semisweet or dark)
½ cup unsalted butter, chilled
2 large eggs
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter in ½ inch cubes and distribute over the flour mixture. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, stir together the eggs, orange juice, vanilla and orange peel. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and combine well. The dough will be sticky. With lightly floured hands, knead in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
Use a medium cookie scoop and place the scones on a baking sheet covered with wax paper. Freeze for several hours. Then place in a zip-lock bag. Scones will keep for 2-3 weeks.
To bake, remove from freezer and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 13 to 14 minutes until just lightly browned.