Recipe Review

I Tried Ina Garten’s Chocolate Pecan Scones, and They Are a Sweet and Salty Revelation

published May 3, 2022
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Credit: Summer Miller

Ina Garten is the queen of domestic and social bliss. She swoons endlessly over her husband, Jeffrey; makes simple food worthy of a dinner party; and is arguably America’s scone guru. 

In her first cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa, Ina shares a story about when a New York Times reporter called her and asked if she made multiple kinds of scones for her shop. She replied with an enthusiastic “Yes!” then went about developing multiple scone recipes. I appreciate her fake-it-then-make-it moxie! Ina’s chocolate pecan scones recipe came along years later and was first published in her 2018 book, Cook Like a Pro.

This scone is reminiscent of a savory Southern biscuit. It is golden, buttery, flaky, and has a noticeable amount of salt. Ina balances the savory components with chunks of hand-chopped chocolate and the sweetest of all nuts: pecans. The combo is a sweet and salty revelation that even my picky tween and teen loved. I still have a dozen scones on the counter and my son already requested I make more.

Credit: Summer Miller

How to Make Ina’s Chocolate Pecan Scones 

It’s a straightforward scone recipe of flour, butter, salt, baking powder, cream, and eggs. The special boost comes from hand-chopped chocolate and pecans. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, then add the cold cubed butter. Beat on low until the butter becomes the size of peas. Add in the milk and egg combo, beat until just combined, then add in the chopped nuts and chocolate. Knead on a floured countertop for a few turns, then roll into a 3/4-inch-thick disc. Cut out the scones and transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet (you’ll need two). Re-roll the scraps until everything is used up. 

Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 minutes at 400°F then rotate the pans from top to bottom and bake for another 10 minutes. When finished the scones should have puffed up considerably and have golden-brown tops. 

Credit: Summer Miller

My Honest Review of Ina Garten’s Chocolate Pecan Scones

First, chocolate and pecans are a match made in culinary heaven. The richness of the bittersweet chocolate plays off the sweet, subtle pecans and makes these scones an inviting and easy breakfast or afternoon snack. 

I also appreciate the intense butter flavor of these scones, and the high fat content keeps them tender for days. I will say, though, that I thought the salt was a little too dominant. Ina calls for 4 teaspoons of kosher salt and I could definitely taste it. Had I used a sweeter milk chocolate in the scones, I probably would’ve liked that salt amount more, but I didn’t feel like it was necessary with a bittersweet chocolate. When I make these again (and I 100 percent will make these again) I will reduce the salt from 4 to 3 teaspoons. I will say that everyone else in my family of four thought the balance of salt and sweet was spot-on. 

When rolling out the dough Ina says you should be able to see lumps of butter. In both batches I made I didn’t see butter lumps, and they still turned out flaky and tender. 

Credit: Summer Miller

A Few Tips to Consider When Making Ina’s Scones 

  1. Definitely hand-chop the chocolate. It’s important to hand-chop chocolate bars for this recipe. Ina recommends Lindt chocolate, but I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate bars and they turned out lovely. I’m a huge fan of hand-chopping chocolate for any baked good for a few reasons. First, small shards of chocolate melt into the dough which makes the scone more visually appealing. Chopping chocolate also provides little bits of chocolate flavor and rich pockets of melted chocolate throughout. I did make a batch with bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips, just for comparison’s sake. They were still good, but chocolate chips are made to hold their shape and I missed the shards and pockets of chocolate that you can only get from hand chopping. 
  2. You’ll need a lot of butter. Ina’s recipe calls for 3/4 pound of butter. For anyone not interested in doing kitchen math, you need 12 ounces or 3 sticks. 
  3. Consider the size of your stand mixer. This recipe makes 24 scones, which is a lot, and it overwhelmed my 4.5-quart stand mixer. It wasn’t a deal breaker, but the dough was rising out of the bowl while trying to mix and I had to push it back down a couple of times. It was difficult to incorporate the chocolate and pecans, so I had to combine that more thoroughly during the kneading process. When I made a half batch, it worked great and 12 scones is a reasonable amount for my family of four. That being said, if you have a mixer that is 5 quarts or above you can make the full batch without a problem. 
  4. 12 scones will fit on a half-sheet pan. The recipe doesn’t state how far apart to place the scones, but I easily fit 12 on a half-sheet pan. They don’t spread out much, so placing them an inch apart should do the trick. 
Credit: Summer Miller

Final Thoughts 

Ina and her recipes are classic for a reason. They work, they taste incredible, and they are usually easy to adjust to your liking, which is the case with this recipe. If you’re a fan of sweet and salty flavor combinations, you will love these scones. If you want them more sweet than salty, reduce the salt by 1 teaspoon and add an extra tablespoon of sugar to the dough. If you prefer walnuts over pecans, swap them out. If you’re more of a milk chocolate kind of person, make the switch. It’s a solid base recipe that is sure to please anyone you might have over for brunch.