November 6, 2013

Chocolate Orange Scones

You know what's weird? Writing a sequel. It's like writing fanfiction, but of your own work. It's been so long since I wrote the original that it feels like it was written by someone else. I have to stop myself from putting a disclaimer at the beginning of each chapter. All recognizable settings and characters belong to their original author. The story and any original characters are my own. I make no money from the writing of this fic.

Which is all true, if you think about it. The settings and characters do belong to their original author (me), and I actually do not make any money from writing it. Because, you know, it's unpublished and everything.

And it's easy, for all the reasons fanfiction is easy-- I'm already intimately familiar with the characters and the world, and I can assume that anyone reading it would be as well, so I can skip over all of those explain-y bits.

And it's hard for all the reasons that fanfiction is hard-- because the characters and world have already been established, I have to stay within those parameters. If I want to show character development, I have to show it in a way that doesn't seem OOC (out of character). If I want to introduce a new element, I have to make sure that it doesn't break some rule that's already been set.

This is one of the things that people don't tell you, but it's yet another reason that I think writing fanfiction is one of the best ways to learn how to write. I still insist that it's how I learned to write.

(Psst, I added a wordcount widget at the top left of the page, so you can track my progress and yell at me if I get behind. As of Tuesday, I was 900 words ahead. Booya.)
You know what else is weird? Apparently, when I have insomnia, I bake scones. These were no exception. At 4:30 in the morning, I decided I would make chocolate orange scones. And I did. Buttery, crumbly, chocolatey scones, not too sweet, with a hint of orange zest. The whole wheat flour makes them nice and hearty, good for a filling breakfast. This is not a dessert for breakfast scone, at all. But it is a tasty, chocolatey breakfast treat.

Chocolate Orange Scones
Yield: 8 scones

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup cold unsalted butter
4-5 tbsp. milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. orange zest
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
1 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. raw sugar
¼ tsp. orange zest

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flours, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry cutter or rubbing it in with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 4 tbsp. milk, eggs, orange zest, and vanilla with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. If the dough seems too dry, add the extra tbsp. milk.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently about 10 times. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat, shape the dough into a flat, 8 inch round. With a sharp knife dipped in flour, cut the round into 8 wedges, but do not separate. Brush the tops with 1 tbsp. milk. Mix together the raw sugar and orange zest, and sprinkle that evenly on top.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the edges are set and the middle is slightly soft.  Remove the scones from the cookie sheet and place on a wire cooling rack, carefully separating them. Best served warm.

Recipe by Kim