Perfectly flaky chocolate chip scones with crispy edges and soft middles. Butter is browned for these chocolate chip scones to enhance the dough’s flavor, giving it a nutty taste and rounding out the dark chocolate.
The Best Chocolate Chip Scones have… browned butter
That might seem like a bold statement but hear me out on the why: because a chocolate chip scone is essentially for one who craves a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast. It’s for those who love the way butter melts on their tongue, the snap of a chocolate chip stumbling between their chew, and revels in the wonderful flavor resulting from the Maillard reaction (when proteins and sugars transform under heat – the very thing that makes cookies, even without the chocolate, so good).
And scones have a bit of that flavor, it’s in the tops and the bottoms where the buttery scone dough turns golden brown. But to get it into every layer of a flaky scone isn’t possible… unless you brown the butter.
So imagine everything you love about a scone and a chocolate chip cookie, and merge those together. There’s some crisp to the tops and bottoms of these and inside is a softer side of the scone, stumbling bits of chocolate sure, but also a nutty, wonderful almost caramel flavor in every bit around those chunks.
Ingredients for Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Scones
All purpose flour: For scones especially, a very light all purpose is perfect. I like White Lily, but any lower protein flour will do. Higher ones will yield a bit of a drier scone.
Sugar: Fine granulated. You can reduce or even omit if you like but the scones will be a bit more dry and have no sweetener in the dough.
Butter: Any butterfat percentage will do. Temperature only matters here right before the butter goes into the dough, after browning it needs to be fully chilled.
Heavy Cream: This is more or less the same as heavy whipping cream so either will do. If you want to make a lighter scone use Light Cream.
Egg: Just one, temperature doesn’t matter. Someone may wonder how to make these egg-free and I’d venture that a flax egg could do as a substitute here.
Chocolate chips: Semi-sweet, use a good quality! I used trader joe’s 72% chips (in the golden bag).
Can I simply replace all butter with browned butter in any recipe?
While it may seem that replacing butter from one state to another is an easy swap, other adjustments need to be made to accommodate butter in its browned stage. I brown butter often and on occasion have measured the before and after, I usually lose about 20g in the browning process. So the next logical step is to consider that if you are replacing the butter in a recipe with browned butter, you can measure it after browning to see you have the same amount.
Accounting for the moisture lost by weighing after browning works in many cases but not all because the product itself you now have as a whole has less water, and less creaminess to it. I often make up for this by adding yogurt, sour cream, labneh and in these scones I just add more heavy cream.
Questions & Troubleshooting
Can I make these ahead of time and store them before baking?
The scone dough needs to be frozen before baked anyway and can be kept frozen for months so, yes!
How many scones does this make?
It’ll depend on how you slice and shape them. Standard sized you’ll get about 6-8 but if you mini them (as pictured) you’ll get 12.
My scones overcooked on the sides and were doughy in the center, help!
They may have been too thick when they went into the oven. I try to keep my dough just under an inch tall; you want them thick but still able to cook thoroughly before they brown too much on top and bottom.
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Scones Recipe
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Scones
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour 335g
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar 45g
- 10 tablespoons butter browned , 130g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup heavy cream, plus 2 tablespoons 145g
- 1 large egg
- 100 g chocolate chips
- Do ahead! Brown 1 ½ sticks of butter (6oz or 170g). In a skillet, add the butter and cook on medium low until the butter stops sputtering and goes almost silent and you can see brown bits at the bottom. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and set in the fridge to chill until totally firm, at least an hour. For the scones you’ll need to weight out 130g,
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Using a pastry knife, cut in the cooled brown butter until the butter bits are kidney bean sized. Use your fingers to press the larger bits into a flat piece. Add the chocolate chips.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vanilla, cream and egg. Pour it into the scone mixture and use a rubber spatula to mix it in. Then, using your hands, grab the dough and fold it over itself in the bowl, several times, until you can mostly form a ball. It will still be very dry and crumbly when you stop and it's ok if there are dry bits that don’t want to stick, press them in.
- On a floured countertop, press the ball into a rectangular shape, then fold it over itself. If it’s resisting, use a rolling pin. Do this up to 3 times total, it will create lovely layers in the scone.
- Press out the dough until it's just under 1 inch thick and use a bench scraper to slice rows and then triangles, they can be big or little but make sure they aren’t too thick or they’ll struggle to bake in the center.
- Set the scones on a parchment lined cookie tray or, if baking more than 3 hours later, set them in an airtight container, in the freezer. Freeze until solid.
- When you’re ready to bake (and eat!) preheat the oven to 400 F. Set the scones on a parchment lined cookie tray (it can be the same one used to freeze them). Keep them relatively close together, scones don’t spread as much as they rise and brush with heavy cream. Sprinkle with sugar if you like.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes (smaller scones bake quicker).
- If you’d like to glaze them, wait until they are cool. Whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, a splash of vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk until you have your desired consistency. Cream cheese tastes wonderful here (just 2 tablespoons will do, make sure it’s softened).