Spicy chai tea is the perfect drink to warm up with on a cold day. Hot tea is always warming, but the ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and the other spices that are commonly found in chai seem to warm you up just as effectively as the actual heat of the tea. Taking those spices and putting them into another form brings those same warming characteristics to another medium – and all this is a lengthy way of saying that these White Chocolate Chai Scones are an outstanding treat to bake up on a chilly winter morning.
The scones have a great spicy quality to them, both from the mix of spices I added and from the extra strength chai tea that is in the scone dough. You’ll definitely taste the spices and tea in every bite, which makes these just as spicy as the tea itself. Since the spicing is so strong, I added in white chocolate chunks to give the scones a little extra sweetness to contrast with all those spices. White chocolate lends a creamy note to the scones that is just delicious, and you’ll get just the right touch of sweetness in every bite. The scones are moist and tender, so they don’t need to be served with butter, jam or honey, however they do pair well with hot tea and coffee if you want to take the time to brew up a cup before serving.
I prefer to use chopped white chocolate in these scones, rather than using white chocolate chips, largely because white chocolate chips are often not white chocolate at all, but are made from sugar and vegetable oil (not cocoa butter). They’re easy to work with, but real white chocolate brings in a great dairy and vanilla notes that you’re not going to find in your average white chocolate chip. Plus, varying the sizes of the chocolate chunks means that you get a nice variety of flavors in each bite of the scone.
White Chocolate Chai Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup double-strength chai tea
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate (approx 4 oz)
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, salt and sugar. Add in the butter and toss to coat. Rub butter in with your fingertips or a pastry blender until butter is in pieces no larger than a pea.
In a small bowl, stir together milk, vanilla and almond extracts. Pour into flour mixture, along with the white chocolate, and stir until dough comes together in a coarse, not-too-sticky ball. If mixture is too dry, add in a teaspoon or two of milk. If mixture is too wet, add in a few teaspoons of flour.
Transfer ball of dough to a lightly floured surface, divide in half and shape each half into a disc. Cut each disc into quarters and place them on your prepared baking sheet, allowing room for the triangles to spread slightly.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, until golden and set.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.