Cinnamon-Eggnog Scones with Blonde Chocolate

I must say that I love the lazy “holiday hangover” days between Christmas and New Year’s, when you don’t know what day it is without thinking about it for a sec, when you’re still snacking on holiday cookies, and when most of the events are over. Let me preface this next bit by saying that I am SO SORRY to everyone who had to go back to work today… I have another 6 beautiful days of winter break ahead of me, so the reality of January hasn’t really set in yet. Next week is gonna hurt, but for now I’m still baking and eating. I don’t know about you, but my nutritional composition at the moment is about 80% cookie. This year I made one of my favorite-ever holiday cookies, Ovenly‘s Eggnog Sandwich Cookies, which I hadn’t made in a few years, and that inspired me to grab a quart of eggnog. I must have some every December… but then I often end up pouring out what I don’t drink after New Year’s has come and gone. And then! I remembered that there was a recipe I made a few years ago that I had wanted to revisit and tweak but hadn’t gotten around to, the Cinnamon-Eggnog Scones from King Arthur Flour. I’ve had this one squirreled away and it didn’t make sense to make it in 2020 when we were locked down during the holidays and I was working from home, thus not having hungry tasters available. (Not that I couldn’t house a dozen scones myself over the course of a few days, just for the record.)

I decided to finally make them again last year to share with coworkers before winter break, but I had the damndest time finding cinnamon chips. I do not recall previously having trouble locating them, and I found myself on a wild goose chase for a solid week going from store to store. When I’m on a baking mission, I will not be deterred! But really, after probably a dozen markets or so, I had to give up and I ended up ordering them on Amazon, where they were more expensive than I would have liked… but I admit that it was worth it. King Arthur Flour used to make them too, but it seems they are no longer being produced, though they do have a product called “cinnamon sweet bits“; either chips or cinnamon bits are fine here. The scones were everything I imagined they’d be after a few tweaks– light, fluffy, had the right amount of sweetness, and a front-and-center cinnamon flavor. The only thing missing in the original version was a prominent eggnog flavor, despite ¾ cup eggnog in the dough. I was surprised that the eggnog didn’t stand out more, given that they are, in fact, eggnog scones.

I ended up making these a total of three times in different ways. The first time a while back, I subbed blonde (caramelized white) chocolate for the cinnamon chips altogether, which was tasty, but the dough came out too wet and for some reason it didn’t occur to me to… *add flour*… ?? So the scones came out kinda nubby-looking. The second time (last year), I used cinnamon chips only and kneaded in a little flour while gently bringing the dough together on a cutting board with my hands, making for a much smoother dough. And then this year I thought… what if I use both blonde chocolate and cinnamon chips? Nothing bad could come of this arrangement, that was for sure. So I cut back the amount of cinnamon chips a bit and added the chopped chocolate– third time was definitely the charm! All the warm flavor notes bring out the best in each other, plus I added a little ground cinnamon, extra nutmeg, dark rum, and bourbon to boost the eggnog flavor.

For the topping, the recipe suggests sprinkling on either cinnamon-sugar or coarse sparkling sugar, both of which I liked very much, but I’d give a slight edge to the cinnamon-sugar, though the crunch of the sparkling sugar is a pleasing textural contrast.

A few recipes notes:

  • Don’t overhandle the dough: If your dough is wet after incorporating the dry ingredients, sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of flour on your work surface and gently work it into the dough as you bring it together with your hands and smooth out the dough a bit.
  • You can choose to use both cinnamon chips and blonde chocolate as I have here, or omit one of them if you wish (or can’t source them). You want a total of about 1 to 1½ cups of the mix-ins, based on your personal preference. You can also use white chocolate in place of blonde chocolate if you can’t get it or don’t feel like roasting it yourself.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… I might just be cookied out for a while after the past couple of weeks. So let’s do scones and other fluffy things for a bit, shall we?

Cinnamon-Eggnog Scones with Blonde Chocolate

Inspired by King Arthur Flour

Yields 12-16 scones

For the scone dough:

  • 2¾ cups (330g) all-purpose flour, plus a few more tablespoons if needed
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces/113g) butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
  • ¾ cup (130g) cinnamon chips or cinnamon sweet bits*
  • ½ cup (85g) caramelized chocolate, such as Valrhona Dulcey or homemade, roughly chopped*
  • ¾ cup (200g) cold eggnog
  • 1 large egg, cold from the fridge
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum

*Aim for about 1 to 1½ cups (170-255g) of the mix-ins and feel free to adjust the amount a bit to your liking

For the topping:

  • 1 tablespoon eggnog
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon *or* 2 tablespoons coarse sparkling sugar

Make the dough:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add the cold butter cubes to the bowl and work them into the dry ingredients with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture looks unevenly crumbly, with most pieces no bigger than small pebbles (a few larger pieces are okay).

Add the cinnamon chips and chopped blonde chocolate and toss them in the flour/butter mixture until they are evenly distributed and coated in flour. Place the bowl in the fridge for about 15 minutes to re-chill the butter pieces.

Meanwhile, place the eggnog, egg, vanilla paste, bourbon, and rum in a medium bowl and whisk until the mixture is smooth and fully combined.

Retrieve the bowl from the fridge once the butter is cold again and make a well in the center. Pour the liquid mixture into to the dry mixture and gently stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is moistened and everything comes together into a chunky dough.

Shape & bake the scones:

Line an unrimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper and set it near your work area.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. If it’s very sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time until it smooths out and loses its overly tacky texture.

The scones can be shaped into squares or wedges. To make squares, form the dough into a large square about 7″ x 7″ or so (about 1″ thick). Use a bench scraper if needed to tidy the sides and even out the square shape. Use a sharp knife to cut the square into 16 small squares and gently separate them. (Or you can make 12 slightly rectangular large scones using the same method.)

If you opt for wedges, divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each one into a ball and gently flatten them into 6½” circles about ¾” thick. Using a sharp knife, slice each circle into 6 or 8 wedges.

For both shapes, carefully pull apart the individual scones and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, spaced a couple of inches apart.

Transfer the pan of scones into the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F and place a rack in the center position.

When ready to bake, brush each scone with eggnog and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar or sparkling white sugar. Bake the scones for about 20 minutes, or until they’re golden brown all over.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool briefly on the pan. Serve them warm, preferably with salted butter. Once they’re completely cooled, the scones can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2023.

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