Watching traditional weekend morning cooking shows (i.e., old-school cooking shows with recipes, not reality or competition-based shows) is still one of the things I like to do. Recently, I've been watching Molly Yeh's new show, Girl Meets Farm, and spotted a cool recipe I had to try.
It was her chocolate marzipan scone loaf, and I was captivated in more ways than one. First of all, if there's one thing I really struggle with when it comes to making scones is...cutting and shaping them. My dough is invariably too dry and it's a high-wire act trying to cut them into individual scones that don't fall apart. Here was a chance to make scones in an easy loaf cake form! Not only do I get to skip the shaping and cutting, the result promises to be more moist, and stay that way longer.
Beyond being technically easy, the flavors drew me in as well. Because if there's one type of pastry/dessert that I particularly favor, it's got to be ones that include things like chocolate and almond paste. In this case, the loaf is studded with chunks of marzipan - the sweeter sibling to almond paste (I considered subbing it with almond paste but stuck with the recipe in the end) and bits of dark chocolate chips. They provide tons of flavor and each bite of this scone loaf is like a treasure hunt for these generous bits.
I adored how this scone-bread baked up...its rustic top with craters of marzipan and specks of chocolate chips on display. A sprinkle of sanding sugar gives it extra crunch and sweetness. And true to promise, the scone loaf stayed moist for a few days. We enjoyed it for breakfast and it's just a fantastic treat for lovers of almond and chocolate baked goods.
I have baked my fair share of almond and/or chocolate treat (from buns/rolls to scones and babka, to name a few) and they rarely disappoint. This one didn't either!
The marzipan probably should get top billing before the chocolate in this recipe because it's all about that. I used Solo brand marzipan for this bake. My favorite brand for almond paste is Love n Bake but Solo is also really good and is not only reasonably priced but also readily available in most supermarkets. You dice the marzipan into generous 1/2 inch or so chunks. Incidentally, almond paste (one of my favorite ingredients) can be substituted and I just might try that next time I bake this.
The marzipan cubes are tossed in a tablespoon of confectioners' sugar to keep them from falling into the bottom of the loaf, then 1/2 cup of chocolate chips join the party. Now while this loaf is easy to make, it does call for dragging out the food processor. Use it to process the butter into the dry ingredients.
Buttermilk, eggs, and some vanilla as well as almond extracts provide the wet part of this recipe. Once it's all combined, the thick batter can be transferred into a loaf pan. This is my favorite part - just scraping the batter into the pan without any forming or handling. Sprinkle the top with some sanding sugar and it's ready for the oven.
If the top of the loaf turns a little too brown before it's down, tent it loosely with foil like I did. In about 40 minutes, or when a cake tester inserted into the loaf turns up clean, it's ready.
I really enjoyed admiring the rustic, crusty tops and inhaling the almond-y aroma of this scone loaf. As you can see, this loaf will have plenty of flavor and is certainly reserved for serious almond lovers given the plentiful chunks of marzipan.
This was a fun bake and reminded me why it still pays to watch traditional cooking shows on TV! I'll continue to set my DVR for a long time to come.
Chocolate Marzipan Scone Loaf
From Molly Yeh
- Makes one 8 x 4 inch loaf -
7 to 8 ounces marzipan, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or heavy cream (I used buttermilk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon sanding sugar (or regular granulated sugar), for sprinkling
Line an 8x4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving about an inch or so overhang on the 2 long sides. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the marzipan with the powdered sugar to coat. Stir in the chocolate chips and set aside.
In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar, pulsing to combine. Add the butter and pulse until butter is in the size of peas. Add this to the bowl with the marzipan and chocolate, and stir together.
In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk the eggs, buttermilk (or heavy cream), and extracts together. Add wet ingredients to the dry, stirring with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle the top with a teaspoon of sanding or regular sugar. Bake until golden brown on top and a tester inserted into the loaf comes out clean, about 40 minutes. (If the top of the loaf gets too brown before it's finished baking, tent it lightly with foil).
Cool pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then, using the parchment overhang, lift the scone loaf out of the pan and set on wire rack to cool completely. Slice with a serrated knife to serve.