I love to make scones, but it took me awhile to find and adapt an easy recipe to make them without cream or buttermilk. With this chocolate orange scones recipe, your scones will be crispy on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside. Best of all, you can use regular milk along with a little trick to make mock buttermilk. No need to make a special trip to the store! Learn the secret to making this delicious chocolate orange scones recipe. Let’s get started!
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Chocolate Orange Scones Recipe Backstory
Years ago, I found a basic scone recipe in the FoodDay section of The Oregonian newspaper. The recipe called for buttermilk, which I do not usually have on hand. Luckily, I had learned a trick for making faux buttermilk, and now it’s one of my favorite kitchen shortcuts. I’ll let you in on the secret further on down. You can certainly make these orange chocolate chip scones with buttermilk, if you have it on hand. This chocolate orange scone recipe variation is a recent creation, and I hope you’ll become as big of a fan of it as I am.
Chocolate Orange Scones Equipment
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A mixing bowl and baking sheet are the basic supplies needed for this recipe. If you have a pastry blender, great, but you can also use a couple of butter knives to cut in the butter. My pastry blender is a vintage one made by Androck and is very sturdy. Here’s a heavy-duty pastry blender that is similar. A pastry blender is also terrific for quickly chopping hard-boiled eggs, as I mention in my favorite kitchen shortcuts.
Another tool that is handy to have for grating the orange zest is a microplane zester. You can use a regular cheese grater, but a microplane zester does the job much more quickly and with less mess.
Chocolate Orange Scones Recipe Ingredients
1 cup milk or buttermilk (if you have buttermilk, omit the lemon juice)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (bottled is fine)
3 cups flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup firm butter (1 and 1/2 sticks, cut into chunks)
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (the zest from one orange should be enough)
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (mini chips are great for mini scones)
1 cup white chocolate chips for drizzling (optional)
Chocolate Orange Scones Instructions
To make this orange chocolate chip scone recipe, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Mix the lemon juice and the milk together to make faux buttermilk and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended. Using a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is about the size of small peas.
Hold the microplane grater over the bowl and grate in the orange zest. Stir in the orange zest and chocolate chips.
Make a well in the center of the butter-flour mixture and add your faux buttermilk all at once. You may stir the mixture with a fork until the dough pulls away from the side of a bowl, if you wish. Since there are so many chunks of fruit and white chocolate chips in the mixture, I prefer to use my hands. After initially stirring the mixture with a fork, once the liquid has been absorbed, I turn and press the dough down into the bowl a few times. This gathers up all of the loose butter-flour mixture.
While the dough is still in the bowl, I divide it into four parts. I shape each part into a ball and place on a lightly floured board. I use an old bread board. Lightly pat each ball into a circle. Cut each circle into four parts and place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Serve warm. I like to top mine with homemade raspberry blueberry jam. Enjoy your orange chocolate chip scones fresh from the oven for the best scone experience. Makes 16 regular-sized scones or 32 mini scones.
How to Decorate Chocolate Orange Scones
White Chocolate Drizzle Method
If you are wondering how to decorate scones, there are some easy options here. One way to decorate scones is to drizzle melted white chocolate on top of the baked scones after they are cool. Here is the easiest method I have found.
Place one cup of white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Turn the microwave on for 30 seconds, then stir the white chocolate chips. You might not think anything is happening at first, but you do not want to overdue the melting time. Next, put the bowl back in the microwave for another 30 seconds, then stir the chips. The bowl should be very warm. As you stir, the chips will continue to melt.
If you think you need a little more melting time, you can add another 20 seconds. It’s important not to put the chips in the microwave for too long, though. If it gets too hot, the white chocolate (and other kinds of chocolate) will start to harden. If this happens, do not add water. Add some vegetable oil and stir, one teaspoon at a time. Usually only one teaspoon will be required. Believe me, I know from experience, as this has happened to me more than once. Vegetable oil really does help!
Once your melted white chocolate has a smooth consistency, put it into your decorator of choice. My favorite decorator is the Wilton Dessert Decorator.
Cleanup is super easy, and there are multiple interchangeable tips. I used the small dot tip.
If you don’t have a decorating tool, you can put the melted chocolate into a plastic baggie and snip off the end, but make sure the bag is a heavy duty freezer bag, not a flimsy sandwich bag. A little sandwich bag will split apart in 2 seconds (or less). Ask me how I know. =)
Drizzle the melted white chocolate in a pattern of your choice, adding as much or as little as you like. I just go back and forth in a zigzag design. The important thing is to work quickly, before the chocolate melts.
Sprinkled Sugar Method for Decorating Scones
Another easy way to decorate scones is to sprinkle the tops with sugar. Depending upon the flavor of your scone, you could also sprinkle a cinnamon sugar mixture. Learning how to decorate scones is easy, and the supplies are simple. Have fun decorating your scones!
Chocolate Orange Scones Recipe Variations
Chocolate Orange Mini Scones: To make these chocolate orange scones into mini scones, as I did for the photo shoot, just divide the orange and chocolate scones dough into eight parts instead of four. Cut each circle of dough into four sections so you have 32 mini scones. Put the mini scones on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until very slightly brown on top.
Chocolate Chip Scones without the Orange Zest: Some people do not like to mix fruit with chocolate. There is one such person in my household. To convert these chocolate orange scones into chocolate scones, just omit the orange zest. You could also drizzle the scones with melted semi-sweet chocolate instead of the white chocolate for an extra-rich chocolate scone experience.
Dark Chocolate Orange Scones: To make a dark chocolate orange scone variation, simply substitute the semi-sweet chocolate chips for dark chocolate chips. You could also use dark chocolate chunks of dark baking chocolate.
White Chocolate Orange Scones: To make a white chocolate orange scone variation, just substitute the semi-sweet chocolate chips for white chocolate chips or chunks. When you add the white chocolate drizzle (if you choose to do so) you will have double white chocolate orange scones.
Double Chocolate Orange Scones: If you like, you can drizzle the scones with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of the white chocolate. That would make an extra decadent chocolate orange scone experience.
Chocolate Chunk Orange Scones: Just chop your favorite chocolate bar into pieces. It can be dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, or even milk chocolate. Add the chunks into the recipe as you would the chocolate chips.
White Chocolate Raspberry Scones: Change up the fruit and add raspberries instead of orange zest, or even along with the orange zest. Get a double white chocolate experience by mixing in white chocolate chips and drizzling white chocolate on top of the scones as well.
What to Serve with Chocolate Orange Scones
These chocolate orange scones, like mini sausage rolls, make an ideal addition to any breakfast or tea party menu. They can be served alongside breakfast main dishes, such as make ahead breakfast casserole or easy breakfast skillet. They can be topped with some homemade raspberry blueberry jam, rhubarb jam, or blueberry lime jam. For a delicious beverage option, you could serve the scones with tea or hot mulled cider (wassail). Curl up with a cozy book if you like. The options are many!
Common Scone Questions
Many people think that scones are too tricky or messy to make. Here are some common questions and answers to help make the scone-baking experience a joy.
What is the secret to making scones rise? In this recipe, the baking powder and baking soda are key ingredients that help to make freshly-baked scones light and fluffy on the inside.
Should you put egg in scones? This recipe does not call for them, which makes these scones ideal for someone on an egg-free diet.
Why are my scones not turning brown? 400 degrees is the recommended temperature for this orange chocolate scones recipe, so make sure the oven is hot enough. Sometimes the scones take longer to turn brown than you might think. Be sure to leave them in the oven for at least the recommended 15 minutes. If scones are not done enough, they will be doughy on the inside and not as delicious.
What can I use instead of cream in scones? This recipe calls for buttermilk or faux buttermilk instead of cream, so it’s the perfect recipe for those who don’t have cream in their refrigerator.
Chocolate Orange Scones
- 1 mixing bowl
- 1 Baking sheet
- 1 Pastry blender optional
- 1 Microplane zester or grater
- 1 cup milk or buttermilk If you have buttermilk, omit the lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 cups flour
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup firm butter 1½ sticks, cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest Zest from one large orange
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips Mini chips are best for the mini scones option
- 1 cup white chocolate chips for drizzling Optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- Mix the lemon juice and the milk together to make faux buttermilk and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended.
- Using a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is about the size of small peas.
- Hold the microplane grater over the bowl and grate in the orange zest. Stir in the orange zest and chocolate chips.
- Make a well in the center of the butter-flour mixture and add your faux buttermilk all at once. You may stir the mixture with a fork until the dough pulls away from the side of a bowl, if you wish.
- After initially stirring the mixture with a fork, once the liquid has been absorbed, turn and press the dough down into the bowl a few times. This gathers up all of the loose butter-flour mixture.
- While the dough is still in the bowl, divide it into four parts (or eight parts for mini scones). Shape each part into a ball and place on a lightly floured board.
- Lightly pat each ball into a circle. Cut each circle into four parts and place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. If desired, drizzle melted white chocolate on top. Serve warm.
Decorating with White Chocolate Drizzle
- Place one cup of white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe mixing bowl. Turn the microwave on for 30 seconds, then stir the white chocolate chips.
- Put the bowl back in the microwave for another 30 seconds, then stir the chips. The bowl should be very warm. As you stir, the chips will continue to melt.
- Once your melted white chocolate has a smooth consistency, put it into your decorator of choice, either a decorating tool or a heavy duty plastic zip-top bag with a corner cut off.
- Drizzle the melted white chocolate in a pattern of your choice, adding as much or as little as you like. Go back and forth in a zigzag design. The important thing is to work quickly, before the chocolate melts.
Are You Now Craving Freshly Baked Chocolate Orange Scones?
Are freshly baked chocolate orange scones calling your name? If you decide to try this chocolate orange scones recipe, I’d love to know how it turns out. Trying your own variation? Tag me on Instagram (lisa_fluxingwell) and I’ll mention it in my story. If you are a fan of baking scones, you might want to try white chocolate raspberry scones or glazed blueberry lemon scones.
More Food Inspiration
Thinking of working this chocolate orange scone recipe into your tea party recipe collection? It’s always nice to have a plan when it comes to meals or parties. If you’re looking for a way to get more organized with your meal planning efforts, I’ve got something for you. Free, editable meal planners! The templates can be used over and over, as often as you need them. You can make as many duplicates as you like, and you’ll be able to save old meal plans for future reference. I hope it simplifies things for you.
I hope you enjoy making chocolate orange scones. May all of your baking endeavors meet with great success!
Lisa Mitchell is a wife, mom, and school librarian who likes to create and share recipes, often using fresh ingredients from her family’s small Pacific Northwest farm. For more delicious, easy recipes, click on over to the Food page.