It’s November and that means cool weather, cozy sweaters, and pretending like I’m not counting down the days until Christmas. I’ve also been counting down the days to share these Chocolate Squash Scones with Espresso Maple Glaze in Feast Magazine’s November issue. In this month’s Sugar Rush column, I’m bringing scones full of warm fall spices and soft melted bits of chocolate. They’re extra tender thanks to the addition of cream and roasted squash. They also require a little planning ahead, as the roasted squash needs ample time to drain out some of its excess moisture and the scones will be frozen before baking. This will help to produce a perfectly balanced texture of a tender interior with crisp outer edges that hold their shape during baking; creating the ultimate scone. Make these the night before Thanksgiving and bake them first thing in the morning. Give yourself a moment with them at the start of the day, before the craziness of cooking a feast begins, and enjoy them with family.
Helpful Tips for This Recipe
*Make and freeze the scones the day before you bake them, then bake them off the next morning. This makes for an easy breakfast treat.
*Resist the urge to add more cream to the dough. It will appear dry at first, but kneading it will bring it together nicely.
*Drain and squeeze out as much extra moisture from the puree as you can. This will keep the dough from becoming too wet; which will produce a chewy scone instead of a flaky tender one.
Chocolate Squash Scones with Espresso Maple Glaze
Makes 6 scones
Roasted Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash (about 1 ½ lbs), halved and seeded
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400F.
On a baking sheet, place acorn squash halves cut side. Lightly brush cut surfaces with olive oil. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes or until very soft and edges begin to caramelize. Remove from oven and let cool. Scrape out the roasted squash flesh and mash with a fork until smooth. Place squash puree in a fine mesh strainer, set over a bowl, and place in the refrigerator to drain for at least four hours, or up to overnight. When ready to use, wrap squash in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out any remaining excess water.
Chocolate Squash Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
2/3 cup (4 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
½ cup roasted Acorn squash
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten for brushing
Espresso Maple Glaze
½ cup roasted and salted pepitas
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, or two knives, until about the size of small peas. Mix in chocolate chips.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream, squash puree, and egg. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture. Using a spatula, mix the dough in a folding motion just until the dough comes together (there will still be dry spots). Do not over mix.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and, using a bench scraper or your hands, gently knead the dough over onto itself four to five times until it comes together and there are no remaining dry spots. Pat the dough into a 6-inch round, about 1-inch thick. Cut into 6 wedges with a chef’s knife. Place the scones on the baking sheet and transfer to the freezer until completely frozen, at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place frozen scones on baking sheet, about 2-inches apart. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the scones with the lightly beaten egg. Sprinkle the top of each scone generously with sugar. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until deeply golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cool, top with a generous drizzle of espresso maple glaze and a sprinkling of pepitas.
Espresso Maple Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon freshly brewed strong coffee
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
Generous pinch kosher salt
In a small bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, coffee, instant espresso powder, and salt until smooth.