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Cooking with Myra: Chocolate Chip Scones perfect for breakfast or brunch

July 6, 2010 at 2:06 a.m.

Chocolate Chip Scones

CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES

1 cup pecans

3 cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. baking powder

10 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

11/2 to 2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes, or until golden brown and aromatic. Coarsely chop the pecans.

Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.

Process the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder for about 30 seconds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and add to the flour mixture. Pulse about 15 times, until the butter-flour mixture is crumbly. Stir the vanilla into the cream. With the food processor running, slowly pour 11/2 cups of the cream through the feed tube. Stop the processor as soon as the cream has been added. If the dough has begun to stick together in a ball, remove it. If not, add more cream, 1 Tbsp. at a time, and pulse until the dough it begins to clump up and form a ball.

Place the dough on a lightly floured flat surface and knead in the chocolate chips and pecans, handling the dough as little as possible. Form the dough into a 3/4 inch-thick round. Cut into 8 wedges and bake on an ungreased baking sheet about 10 minutes, until the scones are a light golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

TIP: Scones are best eaten warm out of the oven. They are still good at room temperature for the rest of the day if they've been well wrapped after cooling. Second-day scones are definitely second-best.

Source: Rebecca Rather/The Pastry Queen

My mom was very active when she was young. Although she did not have an eight-to-five job, she helped my dad in his dentist office, took care of our rental properties, cleaned and cooked, taught her three lovely daughters how to clean and cook, painted our house when it needed it and was involved in many community organizations. She was always on the go and did not take much time to rest. Perhaps she viewed idleness as a tool of the devil or conversely that industriousness was a particularly important Christian virtue. Or maybe she was just the sort of person who hates to sit around.

She seemed to have a lot of energy compared to other moms, so I always thought she was young. But one day, I remember watching my mom open and close her hands with a slight grimace when she first woke up in the morning. I asked why and she replied, "I guess I am getting old."

So anytime I saw her bending over and grabbing her back or wincing, I attributed it to old age. I figured that when my hands hurt or my back felt tight it was because I was getting old also, although I'm not sure that this was true since I was still in elementary school at the time.

Gray hair was also another clue that a person was probably a grandma or grandpa, since all my grandparents sported crowns of silver.

As an eight-year-old, I was somewhat amazed that my mom's aging never resulted in her hair turning gray. As I have gotten older and discovered beauty shops, this mystery of middle aged women with the hair color of their youth has been solved.

My parents have slowed down some in their later years. Both have survived heart bypasses and with the miracle of modern medication, they are healthy in their late 70s. They have been through the basic phases of life; young adulthood . conquer and possess the world, middle age . maintain all your acquisitions and junk, and finally, older age . downsize and simplify. I guess when you get old you realize that your years are numbered and you no longer think, "I'll do that when ." You just do it since you might not have tomorrow.

I worked in my yard last week, and when I awoke the following morning I had no doubt that I was getting old. As soon as I placed my feet on the floor, I could feel my tight muscles. My thighs ached as I lifted my foot to place it in my slipper. I bent over to retrieve a slipper that had migrated under the bed in the night. I grabbed my back as the pain pierced my consciousness. I recalled the childhood memory of my mom and realized that at some time during the night I "got old."

After a hot shower and two Tylenol, I was moving and felt good enough to pull the trash cans to the curb. Perhaps I had only imagined my pain. Surely I was still in the same good shape that I was just six months before. What had changed? The Texas summer heat and humidity was stifling and I grew short of breath hauling the cans the mere 100 feet to the end of driveway. What was wrong with me? Probably nothing but age.

I came back inside the cool house and sat down at the table. Another cup of coffee would certainly clear the cobwebs of my mind and help me figure out what had happened to me.

While I was waiting for the coffee to brew I decided to brighten my day by making some chocolate chip scones from a new recipe. A short time later, I was eating a scone and sipping on my second morning cup of coffee and the truth hit me. I have not exercised or done any type of strenuous activity (other than gardening) in more than nine months. I had been so busy in life, I had let everything fill my schedule except the one thing that keeps me feeling healthy and strong. Exercise was the answer. Exercise and not having two chocolate chip scones for a morning snack.

This recipe is from the "The Pastry Queen" cookbook, by Rebecca Rather. The chocolate chip scones are easy to make and can be prepared for breakfast or a morning brunch. They are best eaten warm, right from the oven. Enjoy.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or e-mail myra@vicad.com.

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