I set out to make a red velvet scone, but ended up with these brownie-esque scones that are decidedly not red in color, but still scrumptious. Baking is full of happy accidents, isn't it? What happened is I came across a beautiful canister of red cocoa ("cocoa rouge" if you're feeling fancy), and thought - ah! red cocoa = red velvet! Mais non.
I knew the saturated color we currently associate with "red velvet" involves copious amounts of red food coloring, but what I didn't realize was you use just a touch of natural cocoa (not dutch process) as the dark, rich cocoa will interfere with the red color and just look chocolatey (exhibit A, above photo). There's also an entire discussion on alkalinity that I don't feel like getting into right now because it makes my brain hurt.
Alas, once I realized red velvet was little more than "red", I gave up on the color and focused on the flavor. I didn't want to just use a dash of my newfound rich, red cocoa - I wanted to use it prolifically! I still added cream cheese as a nod to the best part of red velvet anyway, the frosting.
You could stop right here and not make the topping, but the glaze and crumbs take this scone to the next level. The sweet vanilla bean glaze balances the slightly bitter cocoa, and the milk crumbs are addictive - we all know how well milk & chocolate go together.
MAKES 8 SCONES
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, enhances chocolate flavor)
1/4 cup dutch-process cocoa
1/3 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cold butter, cubed or grated
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Vanilla Bean Glaze:
1/2 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, espresso powder (if using), cocoa, and salt. Add butter, then cut in to the dry ingredients with a pastry blender until crumbly.
In a food processor or blender, whiz together cream cheese, cream, vanilla extract, and egg. Add to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Knead a few times in the bowl until dough just comes together.
Turn out onto a parchment lined baking sheet, patting into a 1"-thick round. Cut into wedges, pulling each apart slightly. Pop into the freezer for 15-30 minutes while you heat the oven to 400°. In the meantime, make the milk crumbs and set aside.
Bake the scones until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Once the scones are cool, whisk together glaze ingredients until smooth. Spread a layer of glaze on top of each scone, then dip in crumbs to coat.