Get your Valentine's Day started on a sweet note: a batch of fluffy, heart-shaped scones is the ultimate breakfast treat. Whether served as breakfast-in-bed with a teapot for two, or tucked into a bag for an out-the-door treat, homemade baked goods are a sure-fire way to your sweetie's heart.
The glaze for these almond scones is flavored with Grand Marnier — what's more romantic than dessert liqueur? — and then amped up with the zest of an entire orange. Oranges may not be a typical Valentine's Day ingredient, but at this time of year, citrus is where it's at. February is the peak of Navel orange season here in California. Not only are the fruits heavy with juice, their skins are loaded with aromatic oil.
While the glaze is outrageously flavorful, the almond-studded dough is notable for its fluffy, delicate, texture and moist crumb. Unorthodox additions of virgin coconut oil and Greek yogurt encourage a tender scone without weighing the dough down like traditional butter and heavy cream. Unlike those dense specimens you'll find in most coffee shops, these emerge from the oven uncommonly light, with a texture similar to a good biscuit.
Working with this sort of dough requires a bit of loving care. It's all in the name of developing as little gluten as possible, allowing your scones to reach their maximum height and tenderness. Take a look at my tips for light and fluffy scones, below, before launching into the recipe.
Oh, and one more thing. You can prepare the dough and glaze the night before, if you please, but do bake these in the morning, waking your partner up to their freshly-baked aroma. I can't think of a better start to a love-filled day.
Tips for Light and Fluffy Scones:
• Mix With a Delicate Hand: Mix the wet ingredients into the dry with a delicate yet firm hand, using a folding motion and stopping just when everything is fully incorporated.
• Roll Dough With Even Pressure: Roll out the dough with even, vertical pressure, resisting the urge to move the dough around too much or overwork the dough.
• Don't Mess With Scones After Cutting: Apply even and firm pressure to your cookie or biscuit cutter when you're cutting out the scones, then use an offset spatula or similar tool to transfer them from the cutting board to your parchment-lined pan, being careful not to touch their sides.
• Glaze While Scones Are Warm: Dip your scones in the glaze while they're still warm. This will allow the glaze to soak in just a bit, and spread out evenly into a thin shell as it dries.
Almond Scones with Grand Marnier Glaze
Makes 14 heart-shaped scones using a 3-inch cookie cutter
2 1/3 cup (300g) unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup (56g) dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (120g) virgin coconut oil
3/4 cup (170g) nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 large egg
1/2 cup (60g) unsalted dry toasted sliced almonds
Grand Marnier Glaze (see recipe below)
Measure the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium mixing bowl. Add the coconut oil to the dry ingredients, using a pastry cutter to incorporate the coconut oil into the flour. There should still be a few pea-sized pieces of coconut oil throughout. Make a well in the center of the bowl, and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine the yogurt, egg, and sliced almonds, whisking until egg is fully incorporated into the yogurt. Pour the yogurt mixture into the well in the bowl of dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon or dough whisk to combine just until all of the flour is absorbed and the dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl.
Roll the dough out into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and heat the oven to 350°F.
Remove dough from refrigerator, then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the scones. Place them 1 inch apart on the lined baking sheet, being careful not to touch the cut sides of the scones as you move them.
Bake scones for 18 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer directly to cooling racks and dip in Grand Marnier glaze while still warm.
Grand Marnier Glaze
2 tablespoon (30ml) Grand Marnier liqueur
Zest of 1 small navel orange, microplaned
1 cup (120g) confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon (5ml) orange juice
In a small mixing bowl, pour the Grand Marnier over the orange zest. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to draw the oils out of the orange zest. Add the confectioner's sugar and orange juice. Stir until fully combined, cover and set aside.