It’s Sunday, and I’ve been making a concerted effort to differentiate weekdays from weekends during this pandemic. Read: extra baking. I happen to live with two men in their mid-twenties who will literally eat anything I put on the counter, so I’m fortunate enough that baked goods wind up in their mouths more frequently than my own. It doesn’t stop me from enjoying my fair share as well, though.
With that being said, I do still try to choose better options when baking, which is why you see me using coconut sugar in so many of my recipes. It’s one of the more affordable options when it comes to unrefined sugar products, and I genuinely just enjoy the taste more than conventional white sugar. The taste of coconut sugar resembles more of a brown sugar or caramel, and I love that about it. I use it daily in my coffee, and pretty much any time I need a sugar substitute. Basically, if you don’t have coconut sugar, you can *almost* always sub regular sugar in my recipes. The same rule applies to milk. In this recipe, I use vanilla almond milk for the scones and heavy cream for the butterscotch. Regular milk will work fine for the scones, unflavored almond milk will also work… use what you have. If you choose to use a plain, unflavored milk option, I would suggest adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract to replace the vanilla flavor you get from the almond milk. Similarly, the heavy cream in the butterscotch can easily be substituted for full fat coconut milk. As long as the consistencies are similar, it’s a pretty safe bet as a substitute.
Now back to the scones. As far as baking goes, scones are one of the easiest IMO. You literally can use your hands for the majority of the time, which means fewer spoons to clean, and they come together in about 5 minutes. They’re also great for the anxious baker, because you don’t have to stress about perfectly shaping the dough or perfectly drizzling the glaze. Guess what? They taste exactly the same no matter what shape or glaze pattern you choose.
One non-negotiable in this recipe: cold butter. I’m talking straight-from-the-fridge cold. If it’s too warm, or worse, melted, the dough won’t turn out right. The cold butter is also what allows the scones to become flaky during the baking process.
A few notes about the butterscotch glaze: When in doubt about the consistency of the butterscotch, it’s always safe to simmer it on the stove for an extra minute or so rather than to remove it from the heat too soon. It’s better for your glaze to be overly set than not set enough. You can substitute any nut butter you have on hand in this recipe and it will be delicious. You really can’t go wrong with butter, sugar, cream, and nut butter. Feel free to store excess butterscotch in a container in the fridge for up to a week. Spoon it over ice cream, add a dollop to your coffee, or just eat it with a spoon.
I hope you enjoy this Sunday baking project as much as I do. Don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!
For the Scones
2 cups whole wheat flour
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp espresso powder
½ cup coconut sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup cold salted butter (1 stick)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
For the PB Butterscotch
½ cup cold salted butter (1 stick)
1 ¼ cup coconut sugar
¾ cup heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk to make dairy free)
½ cup natural peanut butter (or other natural nut butter)
- Make the scones. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, coconut sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
- Cube 1 stick cold butter into roughly 1/2 in pieces. Add cubed butter to flour mixture and toss to coat the butter with the flour. Using your fingers, work butter into flour mixture until it is pea-sized and evenly distributed throughout dough.
- Add chocolate chips to bowl and toss to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture. In a small bowl, whisk the almond milk and eggs until combined, then pour into the well. Fold to combine, using a silicon spatula or your hands. The mixture will become cohesive and slightly moist throughout.
- On a lightly floured surface, dump out dough and fold over onto itself a few times. Using lightly floured hands, shape dough into two equal circles, each about 3/4 inch thick.
- Transfer dough circles to a rimmed sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut each circle into 6 equal pieces. Spread the pieces out slightly, keeping them in the circle with at least 1/2 inch between each piece. There will be 12 scones total.
- Top scones with a few more chocolate chips, if desired.
- Bake for 18-24 minutes. Total bake time really depends on your oven, so be sure to rotate the sheet tray halfway through cooking to ensure even baking and check on them frequently as the end time nears. The scones will have risen slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean when done.
- While the scones bake, make the butterscotch. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the other stick of butter.
- Once melted, add the coconut sugar and whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture looks glossy.
- Turn heat down to medium-low. Add heavy cream, and continue whisking. The mixture will bubble, which is normal. Whisk constantly until the bubbling subsides and the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, approximately 3-4 minutes.
- Remove butterscotch from the heat and whisk in peanut butter. Allow mixture to sit while scones bake, and whisk again before pouring over cooled scones. If the mixture tightens up too much while you wait for the scones, you may warm it slightly over low heat until it reaches a pourable texture again.
- Serve scones warm with whipped cream, a scoop of ice cream, or a glass of milk. Enjoy!