Raspberry-Chocolate Chip Scones with Cacao Nibs

Having seen a number of recipes including cacao nibs around the interweb, I was naturally curious to try some myself. I had eaten them before in chocolate bars, but never plain. Not that I recommend eating them plain -- the flavor itself is rather bitter and slightly on the wooden side. But add them to a baked good, and suddenly you have a lovely, coffee-flavored crunch. I decided to experiment and throw them into some scones, and was pretty pleased with the results. These are great accompanied by a cup of coffee for a leisurely breakfast, accompanied by a few fresh raspberries on the side. I also topped them with raspberry jam, to add a little more sweetness.

Raspberry-Chocolate Chip Scones with Cacao Nibs (makes 10-11)

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced

1  cup chocolate chips (about 8 ounces)

1/2 cup cacao nibs

1 cup raspberries

1/2 cup (or more) chilled milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. With fingers, add diced butter and mix until it resembles a coarse meal. Add chocolate chips  and cacao nibs and mix well. Stir in raspberries Add milk, egg, and vanilla and mix until just together, being careful not to overmix (or the scones will be tough). Drop by the 1/4 cup onto a large baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Cool on rack. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Salted Butterscotch Scones

"Scones?" you are probably thinking. "With butterscotch? How can that possibly count as breakfast and not as dessert?" Well, let me assure you that these certainly are breakfast. Or dessert. Or a mid-afternoon snack with your second iced coffee of the day (spring! Or global warming...) My mother has been making these for years and I always request them when I go home, even though I can make them perfectly well myself. But there's just something about having your mom make breakfast for you, you know? Sigh. Anyways, since I am obsessed with salted caramel and salted chocolate and basically all salty-sweet combinations, I decided to change things up a bit and sprinkle some sea salt on these lovelies. All of the sudden, what was once a sweet breakfast pastry is now a lot more interesting. Or at least I think so. If you aren't a fan of salted caramel (but then really, who isn't?) simply leave off the salt.

Salted Butterscotch Scones (adapted from Bon Appétit)

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced

1 1/3 cup butterscotch chips (about 8 ounces)

1/2 cup (or more) chilled milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 large egg

Sea salt or fleur de sel

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. With fingers, add diced butter and mix until it resembles a coarse meal. Add butterscotch chips and mix well Add milk, egg, and vanilla and mix until just together. Drop by the 1/4 cup onto a large baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Cool on rack. Sprinkle warm scones with sea salt.

Makes 8-9 scones.