There I was, frantically plunging the bathroom toilet upstairs, trying to free the pipes and save the bathroom floor from being overrun by murky waters. I succeeded – mostly. Until I didn’t. It seemed maybe a few too many “flushable” diaper liners and their contents from my kids’ cloth diapers had run their course in that bathroom, and the toilet finally decided to revolt. I tried one last time to flush, convinced everything was cleared up and I just needed to do a final test.
The waters rose, I plunged with a vengeance, and suddenly toilet water covered my bathroom floor. Fortunately, it was mostly clean toilet water, but toilet water nonetheless. Minutes earlier, I had plopped my toddlers in their cribs in an effort to keep them out the way. I could hear them playing, and for the moment they were happy. Hallelujah. But I was not.
I grabbed whatever towels I could find stashed underneath the sink and hanging on the back of the bathroom door, trying desperately to hold the water back from the hallway carpet. Success. There was a mess to clean up, but the waters receded. All I had to do was wipe up the floor and wash a basketful of sopping towels.
I hauled the wet laundry down the stairs to get everything into the washing machine as soon as possible. As I turned the corner, I got that feeling – you know, that sinking feeling when you’re both confused and in denial about what's in front of you. Water dripped from the bathroom, through the ceiling, and onto the table, splashing books, chairs, toys, my kitchen floor, and everything else in the vicinity. The overflow of the toilet had, in fact, beaten me. I dropped the basket of soaked linens, grabbed a few more dry ones from the kitchen and a bowl to catch the never-ending water, and went to work cleaning up room number two.
My kids, having been quarantined in their cribs for longer than they’d like, started to complain. My frustration began to take over, and I envisioned the worst-case scenario. What if this was a major plumbing issue? What if we needed to tear apart the ceiling? Oh – and how the heck am I supposed to host a baby-shower in this very room in two days if we’re ripping the ceiling out and gutting the kitchen?
My mind was consumed by worry and agitation. The rest of the day, I dwelt on worst-case scenarios, which didn’t even end up happening. The reality was I hosted a baby shower in that room with hardly anyone noticing the damage. We repaired the ceiling at minimal cost, and no major plumbing issues could be found. Still, I had to spend the day cleaning up toilet water, which wasn’t exactly on my to-do list.
Some days are just those days. The ones when you get a parking ticket even though a tree covered up the “No Parking” sign. The ones when your kid decides it’s a good day to skip his nap, or in the middle of Target your daughter has a blowout and you realize you have nothing even remotely useful on hand. They're the days filled with spilled milk, coughing toddlers, burned dinners, calls from the teacher, and potty training gone awry. They're the days that, I think, require an extra dose of coffee and dark chocolate.
These scones are for those days. Bake a batch in between school pick-ups and running errands, or when your kids are finally asleep. Eat them fresh if you can steal away for long enough, or store in the freezer until you need them most. And when that day comes, warm up a scone (or two), slather it in butter, and enjoy alongside yet another cup of coffee.
Cold Brew + Dark Chocolate Scones
Yields 8 large scones
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus a little extra for sprinkling on the baking sheet)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold butter
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup cold brew coffee, plus 2-3 teaspoons for topping*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar (or other coarse sugar), optional
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and then sprinkle the parchment with a little bit of flour. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. “Cut” the cold butter into the flour. To do this, you can first cut the butter into small cubes, and then mix it into the flour with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Another option I like is to use a cheese grater. Grate the stick of butter into the flour, then mix with a fork until crumbly. (Here’s a helpful video showing two other methods.)
Gently stir the chopped dark chocolate in the flour mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1/4 cup of coffee, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated.
Scrape the dough out onto your prepared baking sheet. Form the dough into one large circle, about 9 inches in diameter and3/4 inches thick.
For the topping, brush the top of the dough with 2-3 teaspoons of cold brew coffee, and the sprinkle on the turbinado sugar. With a large knife, cut the dough into 8 slices. (It helps to run your knife under cold water after each cut). Gently pull each slice away from each other and spread them out on the baking sheet.
For best results, place the baking sheet of unbaked scones in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill. While they’re in the freezer, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake the scones for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly browned. Allow them to cool slightly before serving. I think scones taste best when they’re freshly baked. However, once they are cooled, you can also wrap them tightly and store at room temperature for 1-2 days, in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for 2-3 months.
*You won’t get quite the flavor, but you can substitute strong, regular-brewed coffee.
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