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.
I first saw a scroll-like concoction on nyt cooking last year, in buttery biscuit form and later on Smitten Kitchen as a cinnamon scone (hers is more of a folded version than rolled). Then I saw Thida Bevington’s take on the nyt biscuits in a lemon poppy scone form and I could not take them off my mind. I just really wanted to take the sauce I usually add to a babka loaf and get it into a scone.
What are babka scones?
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.
- Cocoa: Dutch Processed cocoa, I like Rodelle and Guittard or Saco Pantry Blend.
- 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 in steps
- 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
- 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 and bake!
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
- pastry knife for cutting in the butter
Vanilla Scone Dough:
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour 325g
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup sugar 50g
- 1 stick unsalted butter cold and cut into small cubes, 113g
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup heavy cream cold, 110g
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup powdered sugar 30g
- ¼ cup unsalted butter 57g
- ¼ cup dutch process cocoa 20g
- 150 g chopped dark chocolate
- ¼ cup finely chopped hazelnuts optional 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 pea-sized. 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 fold it in. The dough will be dry, use your hands to knead it in the bowl until it mostly comes together in a ball. Turn it onto a well-floured surface and roll it out and then fold it over and roll it again. Repeat once more.
- Roll it out to about the size of a laptop, 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.