Orange Dark Chocolate Scones

Some recipes contain more than just their ingredient list. This particular one for example, not only conjures up the warm scent of citrus and dark chocolate melting together in the oven, but also sweet moments of family celebrations. My first recollection of this recipe was years ago around the holiday season when my brother and I worked at the local Christmas tree farm. My mom would stop by armed with a basket of these scones, still warm from the oven and sticky with icing, and make the two of us, along with our boss, take a break to warm our fingers and tummies. Now every I bake these up, images of freshly cut pines and the smell of balsam rush into memory and I'm whisked away to family Christmases.

Then there was the morning of my sister's wedding. We made a double batch and served them up with hot coffee as we all ran about getting ready. How we avoided getting chocolate and coffee on everyone's dresses I don't know, but these started the festival day off in a special way. And then just few short months later, we were serving them up at her baby shower!

Regardless of the occasion, this is a recipe you'll find yourself coming back to again and again.

Donna's Heavenly Orange Chip Scones

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces and softened
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs, divided
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 tablespoon milk

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Lightly grease baking sheets.

COMBINE flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add chocolate chunks and orange peel; mix well. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine buttermilk, 2 eggs and orange extract in small bowl. Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture; mix just until a sticky dough is formed. Do not overmix. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Combine remaining egg and milk in small bowl. Brush egg mixture over top of dough.

BAKE for 18 to 22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Drizzle scones with icing.

COMBINE 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon grated orange peel and 1 teaspoon orange extract in medium bowl. Mix until smooth.

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