Dark Chocolate, Apricot + Cinnamon Scones
You know that feeling when you have been sitting in one spot, carving a crater in your seat, completely engrossed in this simultaneously minuscule and gigantic world within a screen and as soon as you come out of it, you find yourself dizzy and wide-eyed, as if suddenly shaken awake?
It is a bizarre feeling, and happens all too often.
Lately, I have been thinking about this sensation of getting sucked into social media, imagining it as this giant personal lens, zooming in and out. Zooming in is when you are dragged down the tunnel of scrolling, commenting and liking, while zooming out is the process of pulling yourself out of it all and seeing the bigger, more important picture.
With the start of the fall season, new projects have meant more time spent doing research on my laptop, more connecting on social media, instagram, emails and a lot of publicizing. I was becoming dizzy and overwhelmed and by this past weekend, I knew that it was time to zoom myself out. I did some handwritten journaling (the only kind of journaling I do, really), some self-led yoga sessions, and felt an ache to be somewhere natural. A mountain. An ocean. A forest. Anything will do to find that tangible reconnection to the world.
While I didn’t make it to a mountain, the journaling helped a lot. It is always helpful to reflect and re-reflect on why you put any time into social media and staring at screens in the first place. To focus in on the purpose allows you to cut away all of the extra little bits that suck us in sometimes- numbers, that black hole of articles on how to get followers faster, trying to crack algorithms, etc.
When I stopped and zoomed out on what I am actually doing in the big picture of the online world, I had this vivid image come into my mind. I pictured a large group of diverse and fascinating women, gathered in a beautiful communal space, sharing thoughts and opinions, mugs of coffee and their secret home recipes from the heart (I don’t mean to completely exclude men, but I find that the instagram/social media world I am in is predominately strong females). This image is what I want to hold onto when I find my perspective shrinking into a tunnel. Remembering the individuals that come together to make a rich and interesting group that both supports and challenges my own ideas and beliefs. I have been thinking about this quote I found by the psychologist William James and trying to channel it into what I write and share:
“I am for those tiny, invisible, loving, human forces that work with individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of pride.”
So before I press publish or send on anything in that weird intangible space of my phone screen, I have been trying to stop, zoom out and think about all of this.
Is what I am sharing coming from someplace real- a true desire to connect?
Or is it just shouting something I think I should be saying into a vacuum of cloned thoughts?
What am I contributing to this community and how do I feel about it?
Asking myself these questions has helped immensely in staying away from that slightly icky feeling of publishing content just for publicities sake- “Take my yoga classes! Watch me dance! Give me your email!” You know how it goes. It is not in my nature to sell and in order to stay grounded within myself in a decidedly ungrounded space, constant self-reminders and reflections are imperative.
What I always come back to is that truly, I just want to hang out with each and every one of you and talk about life and creativity over coffee and scones. Sound good?
Scones are one of those breakfast foods that I crave sporadically and when that craving hits, nothing else will do. I have yet to find them in any bakery in Tangier, so in order to get that crumbly, butter-y, golden-topped goodness, I need to make them myself. I have used this base recipe from The Soup & Bread Cookbook before, in my Honey-Glazed Raspberry + Lemon Scones, and it is a true winner. Everything in that book brings to mind home-y Minnesotan comfort in bowl or bread form, which is why it was one of the chosen cookbooks to come with me to Morocco.
I adapted these classics to include the perfect mixture of sweet and tart flavors, with a bit of cozy spice for good measure (it is September now, after all). The scones themselves are far from overly sweet, which allows the dark chocolate and brightness of the apricots to really shine through, while the cinnamon-laced sugar on top adds the perfect crunch.
In sharing this recipe with you, I am imagining that I am offering you a big wicker basket, lined with a gingham cloth that wraps up a dozen still-warm scones, scented of cinnamon and melted chocolate.
Here you go, dear friend.
Dark Chocolate, Apricot + Cinnamon Scones
Makes 12 medium scones, adapted from The Soup & Bread Cookbook
1 1/2 cups (210g) all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (225g) whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup (100g) light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
- 120g dark chocolate chunks
- 120g dried apricots, chopped and soaked in water
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (100g) unsweetened yogurt
- 2 tbsp apricot jam
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 tbsp sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 400ºF (205ºC) and line a large baking tray with parchment paper (although I used two bottoms from springform pans).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Using a food processor, add the dry ingredients and butter and pulse together until the butter forms pea-sized crumbs (if you don't have a food processor, you can use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour). Return to the bowl and toss in the chocolate and chopped apricots, drained from the water. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt and jam until smooth. Add the wet to the dry and use your hands to bring the dough together. It should be thick but slightly sticky.
Divide the dough in half and form each half into two round disks, roughly 7-8" in diameter and 1.5-2" high. Cut each disk into 6 even triangles and gently divide the slices from each other. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let cool before serving.