Not so hot on chocolate for Valentine’s Day? Storey’s Digital Features Editor recommends a treat with local honey and a little New Mexico heat.
These smoky, cinnamon-and-chile-spiked scones from Dishing Up® New Mexico aren’t sopapillas, but they filled my house with a warm and wonderful smell as they baked, transporting me immediately to winter days in Albuquerque, a season and place where food felt particularly sacred, where the scent of posole often mingled with pinion smoke in the cold dessert air.There are plenty of things I miss about my years living in New Mexico, and many of them are food related. I miss going to restaurants where answering the question “Red, green, or Christmas?” is a routine part of ordering a meal (I’m a Christmas girl, myself), and I miss sopapillas, those pillowy squares of fried dough drizzled with honey, which often take the place of bread at the center of the table.
The recipe places these babies on the medium heat scale, and though the dough itself isn’t spicy, when you take a bite that holds a bit of chile, you’ll know it! The red chile honey is the perfect finishing touch and worth taking the time to mix. I tested the scones on Storey’s editorial department at a recent birthday gathering where I’d say they were well-received. And, while taking a heart-shaped cookie cutter to your dough is not a requirement, I love the idea of bringing a basket of these to your significant someone as part of breakfast in bed, or a special treat at teatime.
Note: Worried about sourcing ingredients where you live? I found pasillas at my regular neighborhood grocery store in Massachusetts, but according to the book, you can substitute ancho chiles with good result. We made the red chile powder by grinding dried red New Mexican chiles (which we found at Whole Foods) in a coffee grinder we’ve designated for spices. In the end, the greatest struggle I had was with yield. The recipe says it makes 16 scones, but I only managed to stretch my dough to 10.
Pasilla Scones with Red Chile Honey
Heat scale: Medium; Yield: 16 scones
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup finely chopped seeded pasilla chiles
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Red Chile Honey
- 1 tablespoon New Mexican red chile powder
- 1 (8-ounce) jar Taos Valley Honey or other local honey
- Make the scones: Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the chiles, cinnamon, and 1 cup of the cream, and stir until a soft dough forms. Place the dough on a floured work surface and knead 10 times, or until the dough forms a ball.
- Divide the dough into two pieces. Working with one ball of dough at a time, roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is about ½ inch thick, then cut out the scones with a cookie cutter, and place them on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining ball of dough.
- Brush the top of each scone with the remaining 2 tablespoons cream. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Make the honey: While the scones are baking, mix the chile powder thoroughly into the honey.
- Drizzle the honey over the scones and serve. Leftover honey can be stored at room temperature.
Recipe excerpted from Dishing Up® New Mexico © 2014 by Dave DeWitt. Photo © Douglas Merriam. All rights reserved.