Bittersweet Chocolate Scones

Posted May 2nd, 2014 in News, Off Topic, Recipe o' the Week by daniellegrace

If you’re anything like me, you’ve had mixed results using recipes from the internet. Most often they’re ok, but I wouldn’t really use them again. Just yesterday I screwed up a batch of chocolate donuts – so sad!

In any case, this recipe is the exception. I have made these again and again, over years, and I never have to change the recipe to suit my tastes – typically I cut sugar and fat from most baked goods, but not from these. I am really only copying it here because I will be so sad if this recipe blog ever disappears! And so you lovely folks have the chance to make it of course.

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Bittersweet Chocolate Scones
(Recipe by Seven Spoons)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 large egg plus one egg white for glazing (DW NOTE – I sometimes use milk for glazing because I am lazy)
  • 3/4 cup 18% cream, chilled (DW NOTE – I usually use half and half because its what I keep in the house)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (DW NOTE – I use part of a dark chocolate bar, chopped up. PC makes a good one.)
  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Use parchment paper to line a standard baking sheet and set aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder and salt. On the machine’s lowest setting, cut in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles course meal. The butter should be in small pieces approximately the size of peas. Alternatively, sift together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then cut in the chilled butter with two knives or a pastry cutter. As before, the blend should be rough, with uneven pieces of butter still visible.

    Lightly whisk together the whole egg, cream and vanilla. With the machine running still on low (or stir), pour the liquids slowly into the flour and butter mixture, stirring until just combined. Small bits of butter should still be visible, but almost all the flour should be incorporated. With the mixer still on low, stir in the chocolate. If proceeding by hand, use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to fold and turn the flour mixture to incorporate the liquids, then stir in the chocolate. Do not overmix.

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Working quickly, gently knead the dough, folding and pressing gently until fairly smooth. Divide the dough into three, and shape each ball of dough into a 4″ round about 3/4″-1″ thick. Cut each round into four wedges (DW NOTE – I usually do them in sixes or eights for cute mini scones), and place on the prepared baking sheet. Once finished, brush each scone with the egg white and sprinkle with extra granulated sugar.

    Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes (DW NOTE – watch the scones if you’ve made mini scones, 12 minutes?), or until the tops are matte and the cut sides look flaky and dry. When fully cooked, scones should feel light for their size and sound almost hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Best served warm.

    Makes 12 smallish scones. (or 18-24 mini scones!)

    Enjoy with a cup of coffee! Bring some to your neighbors! Bask in the glory of an internet recipe success. :)

    It’s a Family Affair

    Posted November 18th, 2013 in News, Off Topic by daniellegrace

    So the true reason for all of the silence around here? This guy:

    We welcomed this little lady into the world on October 13 of this year – things have been a little hectic since! She is currently snoozing in my Moby Wrap while I type – sweet. We’ll see how long that lasts!

    So business is ongoing, but if I am slower than usual with my replies, this is why! Have a happy week, everyone!

    Awesome & Free 2013 Printable Year-At-A-Glance Calendars

    Posted January 12th, 2013 in News, Off Topic by daniellegrace

    One of these years, I am going to get on designing one of these for myself. And of course I will share it with all of you! But until then, I love me a good year at a glance calendar. Here are some lovely modern ones I found in my search for my 2013 constant companion:

    Love Vs. Design Printable 2013 Calendar (Comes in three colourways!)

    Many more (including my fave!) after the jump!

    Continue Reading »

    Back at Work! (Croatia Trip Highlights)

    Posted September 30th, 2012 in News, Off Topic, Uncategorized by daniellegrace

    Yes, that’s right – we are back at work following a most fantastic trip to Croatia! And then a short jaunt up North for a wedding, and then several day-job related trips around Canada. Things have been a bit hectic, but we are looking forward to getting back to designing this fall. Will keep you posted with new (Adriatic Sea inspired?) stationery designs!

    Until then, here are some photos from my trip:

    TWO WEEKS IN CROATIA

    Friday Night Party on StrossMayer

    Friday Night Party on StrossMayer Promenade – On our first night in Zagreb, we met some local Croatians here, chatted all night about our differing university experiences and then went for pizza cut and Pelinkovac.

    Sunset in Plitvice Lakes National Park

    Sunset in Plitvice Lakes National Park – We spent an afternoon walking the Plitvice Lakes area – Spectacular waterfalls, super clear water, fish everywhere!  Just don’t miss the last shuttle back, or you may have a 2-hour walk in full darkness wondering if the crunchy bush sounds in the woods surrounding you are bears or cougars. Whoops.

    Maestral Waves in Zadar

    Maestral Waves in Zadar – Our first view of the Adriatic was calm, and then 15 minutes later it looked like this. Ack! Zadar has a gorgeous walled old town, with shiny limestone streets, and the best grilled squid of your life.

    Fire Dancer in Diocletian's Palace, Split

    Fire Dancer in Diocletian’s Palace, Split – Split is fantastically hilly, with stairs everywhere and tiny laneways out of a chase scene in a James Bond movie. The old town centers on a 2-storey Roman emperor’s retirement palace, complete with Sphinxes and repurposed mausoleums. When you get tired of history, go and play Picigin at Bacvice Beach!

    View of my morning snorkel in Hvar

    View of my morning snorkel in Hvar – Hvar is hyped for a reason. It is a gorgeous island, where the climate allows grapes, lavender and olives to thrive. Here we encountered the highest percentage of d*bags, but our fantastic AirBnB and our amazing host Ante made it all worthwhile. Here we ate an amazing local fish stew called brodet and drank much too much wine.

    Fort Lovrijenac from City Walls, Dubrovnik

    Fort Lovrijenac from City Walls, Dubrovnik

    Onofrio's Fountain in Dubrovnik

    Dubrovnik… what to say? Dubrovnik is so complete in it’s ancient architecture and layout that you feel almost like you’re in Dinseyland… but it’s real! Everything you see is older than Canada. The night lighting is fantastic. Every corner you turn is picturesque. Another Croatian city that is WORTH THE HYPE! Even worth the Canadian-style beer prices. : )

     

    So my sum up of Croatia – is that if you get the chance to go, you really should. If you like food, amazing coffee, cheap and delicious beer pizza and gelato, the Adriatic Sea, or ancient history, there is something for you there.

     

    Oh, I also went to Rome, and took a million photos of their fantastic vintage signage. Stay tuned for that action. And now, back to work! Drop me a line if you’re planning a wedding, or if you want to chat about Croatia!

    Incremental Improvements…

    Posted April 3rd, 2012 in News, Off Topic by daniellegrace

    It seems that I can see the light at the end of the spring-wedding-season tunnel! Things have calmed down enough around the office that we’ve finally had some time to improve things around here. I am tinkering away trying to grow this site gracefully to fit my needs, so you may notice a few tiny changes. Most likely, you will not. : )

    Namely – I’ve added a contact form! How exciting. The site also now offers several options at the bottom of each portfolio item now – a “call to action”, if you will? Apparently websites need those. Who knew?

    Still to come – adding all of the new and fun designs that we developed for WedByHand to the site, and then – eventually – ecommerce! Aiieee! Six Modern is growing up. Slowly. And we are so honoured to be able to do so alongside such awesome clients! So for now – back to work, but watch this space!

    WedByHand 2012 – Ottawa’s Most Awesome Wedding Show

    Posted March 16th, 2012 in News, Off Topic by daniellegrace

    Hey – you know what I never did? Between the craziness of WedByHand, wedding invitation season, and then a quick trip to South America and back, I never DID manage to write about WedByHand this year! And boy, what a year it was.

    Did you know, perchance, that I offered a workshop on DIY Invitations at WedByHand this year? There were 48 of you lovely people there! That was a big crowd for me. : ) I wrote on my application that my previous teaching experience included running “Story Hour” back in 1998 at the Kenora Public Library. In any case – the workshop was a hit, or so I hear! I have formatted a brochure to help guide you through the process of DIYing your wedding invitations, so stand by for that. But for now – a link to some photos of my booth, by the lovely Kim Ing, a wedding photographer and blogger whom I was lucky enough to meet that fateful day in February!

    I look a little spaced out in the photo of me, but I think my booth looks pretty awesome.

    So – lots of clients on the go, and lots of plans for increasing the Six Modern Awesome Factor (or SMAF, for short!) in 2012, but this is all you get for now, as duty calls. Back to project work! Drop me a line if you want to join the party. Big Besos from Almonte!

     

    Back From South America

    Posted March 5th, 2012 in Off Topic by daniellegrace

    Hello Everyone!

    You’ll be happy to hear that I am now back from South America and up to full speed on all of your ongoing projects!

    My husband and I travelled to Guyana to visit his parents, who grew up there, and recently built a house near to where they grew up.

    Guyana is a complicated place to sum up quickly, but I’ll try a bit. The weather was not too hot (25-30), and it was often rainy while we were there. The majority of the people are very poor, the “minimum wage” is around $15 a day. It is considered a third world country. People really hustle to get ahead there, although there aren’t many options for work. (Cutting sugar cane, mining or farming rice.)

    A lot of people my in-laws’ age are now returning from lives abroad (more Guyanese live out of the country than in it) and building “vacation homes”, which they visit for a few months each year. These relatively modern concrete homes are mixed in with the older style of wooden homes all through the villages. The disparity between these sometimes posh homes, and the sometimes very run down older homes is sometimes very great. Regardless, I had thought it would feel more dangerous than it did – it was actually a very friendly place. It was a strange feeling being the only white person – people stared, but generally not in a rude way, just in an interested way. I did get called “white lady” a bunch of times. Ha!

    Things we appreciate more about Canada after visiting the third world:
    - Being able to drink the water that comes from the tap
    - Regular garbage pickup and recycling (Everything in the villages gets piled and burned – plastic bottles, aerosol cans, tires)
    - Hot water when you shower (although when the weather is very hot, you don’t mind lukewarm)
    - Not having to sleep with a mosquito net
    - How winter keeps the invasive pest population down (sugar ants EVERYWHERE there!)
    - Not having to bribe a cop every time you report something – like domestic violence
    - Having electricians and tradespeople who bring their own equipment and know what they are doing!
    - When lines are long, they add more staff. In Guyana, you just wait longer.

    Things that I appreciated about the third world:
    - Everyone doesn’t have their nose stuck in a smart phone at all times
    - The fruits and vegetables and fish taste amazing and are so affordable
    - People seem to visit each other more often (the day we wanted to go to the beach, we had to pretend we weren’t home so we wouldn’t get surprise visitors)
    - Children roam around freely, bike around barefoot at night with no lights, and seem to do just fine (no helicopter parents in Guyana!)
    - Cattle do the same, now that I think of it. Cows in your front yard give new meaning to the 100 mile diet!

    In any case, we had an amazing trip, ate like Guyanese kings, flew in a rickety plane into the jungle to see Kaieteur Falls (the world’s largest single drop water fall) went to markets, bought fish at roadside stands, and lived like retired people. (Playing dominoes in the afternoons and going to sleep at 9:30PM.) Being able to live if not like a local, then at least like a foreign national, was an amazing experience, with none of the “anytown” feeling that comes with hotel stays and restaurant meals.

    So here are a few of the 900 pictures we took (I know, I have a problem – 50% of them were of stray dogs):

    An abandoned house in 64 Village, Guyana
    An abandoned house in 64 Village, Guyana

    Hassa fish in a basket at a roadside stand
    Hassa fish in a basket at a roadside stand

    Guyanese hipster schoolchildren in Skeldon
    Guyanese hipster schoolchildren in Skeldon

    The jungle at Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
    The jungle at Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
    The irrigation dams in the morning
    The irrigation dams in the morning

    And now, back to regular life! Drop me a line if you have any questions about social stationery or Guyana! : )

    A Much Needed Holiday

    Posted February 18th, 2012 in Off Topic by daniellegrace

    Hello everyone! Wow, it has been a crazy month. WedByHand was a great success and I was happy to meet a whole new crop of wedding-planning-couples! Also my workshop on DIY Invitations was a hit (or so I hear) and I promise to post the guide I designed on the website very soon, so you can all get your DIY on! I’m also excited to get all of my new designs that were launched at WedByHand into the portfolio, but I have not found the time yet. Stand by!

    Another reason things have been crazy is that I am currently en route to South America to visit some family. Hectic is a good word to describe the last month. Between meeting new clients, designing lots of fun invitation suites, planning a trip and a very busy day job, things have been a little nuts! So I am very excited to have some down time with my husband.

    Thus – if you email me in the next couple of weeks, I may be a little slow at responding! But don’t worry, I’ll get back to you as soon as I get back. Look forward to working with you! Happy Family Day weekend to all of my Ontarian friends. Hug your families!

    Happy 2012!

    Posted January 12th, 2012 in Off Topic by daniellegrace

    Wow, time really speeds up around the holidays, doesn’t it? Luckily the twitter has my back when it comes to random but timely updating of this site! Well, since we are knee deep in the second week of 2012, happy new year everyone! 2011 was an awesome year (I got married!) but I am feeling pretty good about 2012.

    So it’s that newly engaged time of year again, and I’ve been busy with new clients, and doing more work for old clients, but also! Getting ready for WedByHand, the indie wedding show I am taking part in on February 11th in Ottawa! Did you know I am teaching a workshop on DIY invitations this year? I am! And I am really excited about it. I think a large part of it will be cheerleading people to convince them that they can, in fact, DIY. So many of my printed goods clients are so sure that they couldn’t do what I do, but I am certain that they can!

    And sort of on that note, I would also like to take this opportunity to promote Meg Keene’s “A Practical Wedding” book tour! She isn’t actually coming to Canada, but I would like to give her shout outs all the same. Meg is a great cheerleader for convincing couples to stick by their wedding guns, whatever they may be aimed at! So, if you are an American reader, or you plan to travel to the States in the next while, check out Meg’s book tour! And now, some fun promo banners:

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    Dreamhosted!

    Posted October 31st, 2011 in News, Off Topic by daniellegrace

    Well – it only took four days of downtime and some hairpulling, and now we are up and running on a new host! Thanks to Justin K at Dreamhost for fixing my wordpress install – had to call in the big guns. Anyway, I finally have all of my domains and my hosting in one place, which is great.

    Enough nerd talk – back to business! Sorry for any inconvenience in the interim, friends! Let me know if you need anything.