Here’s my thing about scones: I don’t want them dry, I do want them flaky. Moist on the inside and kind of crunchy on the edges. And super full of flavor. This is a hard scone to come by but here we have it in the best form possible: babka-ed! I mean, of course I went there.
So, I made up a name for these because I don’t think they exist, lol. Basically a ‘babka style scone’ is a scone dough wrapped around a chocolate ganache filling, with hazelnuts! It’s the same ‘sauce’ used to make homemade babka. These two are a match made in heaven. I make my dough with vanilla like I do my challah and the dark chocolate nicely complements the tender, flaky surrounding.
I did ask myself at one point, why not just melt chocolate rather than going through the trouble of making this particular sauce? (I mean it is very hard to throw four ingredients into a pan and stir ’em until they are melted.) But you know what happens to just chocolate in the oven? It melts like crazy and bursts out of the dough. On the other hand this filling has structure because of the powdered sugar and cocoa which also give it a good flavor. When it bakes, it firms up, as you can see below.
Why make scones with a chocolate hazelnut swirl??
I have never been able to make a successful chocolate scone (like with cocoa in the dough itself), and I kind of think chocolate chip scones are a too common way to incorporate chocolate; you’d probably lack chocolate in most bites, and I’d rather have my studded chocolate in these babies anyway. But a sauce! A ganache sauce that permeates every bite? Yes!
I also gotta tell ya that this scone dough, is a gooooood scone dough. There’s a ton of basic recipes online: all will have flour and butter but the ratios of those two are important. You want it flaky but not dry. Recipes also vary in how much sugar they add and what sort of liquid; a lot might not use eggs. I use a combination of egg and heavy cream here because in my tests this gave me structure and kept the scones moist.
Ingredients for Babka Style Scones
Flour: All Purpose, this and butter make up the base of your scone dough. You can substitute up to half of the flour with a light rye or a white whole wheat and get good results.
Sugar: granulated. Brown would be an interesting addition but the added moisture might compromise the scone.
Baking powder: To leaven the scones.
Salt & Vanilla: These are flavorings for the scone dough. A lot of recipes don’t call for one or either but I always add them and do find it makes for a more flavorful bite.
Chocolate: Dark, 70% cocoa solids or up to 77%. A milk chocolate would probably make a really loose filling and a too dark chocolate would be too dry.
Powdered sugar: gently sweetens the filling and gives it structure.
Heavy Cream: provides moisture to the dough, and we’ll use some to brush over the scones right before they go into the oven.
How to make babka scones
Make the filling by melting the butter & chocolate in a small saucepan. Add the cocoa and sugar.
Whisk together dry ingredients, mix in the butter with a pastry cutter or use a cheese grater (the side with the slicer) to slice it in then use your hands to coat the flour in the butter and break up the bigger bits. Stop when you have a mix of pea sized and bean sized bits.
Stir in wet ingredients until you have a shaggy dough. ‘Knead’ it to form a ball.
Roll it out into a small rectangle and spread the filling over it.
Roll it up into a log and set in the freezer.
Slice into triangles and set close together on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Tips to make the best scones
Butter should be cold but not frozen, cut into pea sized bits (big chunks will cause the scones to burst and melt, too small bits won’t lead to a flaky scone.)
Chocolate sauce should be cool when spreading on the dough so as not to melt the butter.
Scone log should be frozen before slicing to get neat individual scones.
Individual scones should be completely frozen until right before they go into the oven.
When you brush the heavy cream onto the top of the frozen scones, it will set quickly so don’t want to wait too long to add the sugar. Brush then sprinkle the sugar, then repeat.
Recipe for Babka Scones
Flaky, perfect scones with a babka-like chocolate hazelnut filling swirled through.
325g or 2 ½cupsall purpose flourif using cup measurements, first fluff the flour, then sprinkle into the measuring cup and level
¾teaspoonfine sea salt
50g or ¼cupfine granulated sugar
113g or 1stick unsalted buttercold and sliced
2teaspoonspure vanilla extract
120g or ½cupheavy creamcold
30g or ¼cuppowdered sugar
57g or ¼cupunsalted butter
20g or ¼cupdutch process cocoa
150gchopped dark chocolate
¼cupfinely chopped hazelnutsoptional but recommended!
Make the filling: in a small pot over medium-low heat, add the butter and chopped chocolate. Once melted, sift in the cocoa and powdered sugar. Whisk to combine into a smooth ganache and pour into a bowl to allow to cool while you make the scone dough.
Make the scone dough: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter to combine it into the flour so that the butter cubes are kidney bean-sized. You can also use a cheese grater to slice in the butter (see video for guidance).
In a separate bowl, add the heavy cream, egg and vanilla and whisk to combine. Pour this mixture into the flour & butter mix and use a spatula to stir.
Switch to your hands and squeeze and fold the dough over itself to until it mostly comes together in a ball.
Roll it out to about 20x12 inches , and spread the chocolate ganache over it, then sprinkle the hazelnuts on top. Roll the dough into a long log and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and in the freezer.
Once mostly frozen, after about an hour or two, slice into V shaped scones (the bottom of the V should be a bit wide, as pictured). You can bake them now or store in an airtight container in the freezer for later baking.
To bake the scones: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the scones, leaving room for them to spread. Brush heavy cream onto the tops and sprinkle granulated sugar on the top.
Bake for about 20 minutes until the tops and edges are golden brown – don’t overbake.