Sun-Dried Tomato Caprese Scones with Chocolate Balsamic Drizzle
May 19, 2022
Perfect for brunch, these scones combine sweet and savory for an explosion of flavor. Caprese scones are packed with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella, and topped with a fun chocolate-balsamic drizzle.
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When it comes to brunch, I’m always out here hunting down new ideas for making sweet things savory and savory things sweet. Scones, because they are essentially biscuits, allow for that kind of versatility that really brings a brunch table to life.
In this version, I decided to go with the classic tomato, mozzarella, basil and balsamic combination used in a caprese salad. But of course, I had to have a little fun with it too. So I replaced fresh tomatoes with sun dried and added some bitter dark chocolate to the balsamic drizzle.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for savory sun-dried caprese scones at your grocery store:
- Pantry: All-purpose flour, White whole wheat flour, Baking powder, Sun-dried tomatoes, Dark chocolate chips, Balsamic vinegar
- Spice Rack: Salt, Basil, Black pepper
- Fridge: Butter, Shredded mozzarella, Egg
- Equipment: Baking sheet, Parchment, Mixing bowl, Whisk, Pastry blender, Pastry brush, Wire rack
Let’s Make Sun-Dried Tomato Caprese Scones
Just because these scones are savory, that doesn’t mean there are any real tricks to making the base dough. It’s basically the same ingredients and method I’d use for a sweet scone, but without any sugar. However, I did decide to swap out some of the all-purpose flour for white whole wheat.
This type of flour is my favorite compromise. It’s got all the benefits you’d get from using a whole grain, because that’s what it is. But white whole wheat has a lighter flavor, color, and texture than traditional whole wheat flour.
Begin the Scone Dough with Flours and Butter
To get started, combine the white whole wheat and the all-purpose flour along with baking powder and salt in a medium to large mixing bowl. Whisk everything together until it’s nicely combined and uniform.
Then it’s time to add in the butter. Cold butter is essential to scones, because it prevents the butter from melting too early. When the butter melts at just the right time in the oven, it creates the air pockets for that perfect flaky and fluffy texture.
I like to cut my butter up into cubes from the fridge, but then place it back into the freezer for about ten minutes to chill even more. Then, add it to your bowl with the flour mixture, and grab your pastry blender.
You can mix the butter in by hand, “shingling” it, or pressing the cubes between your thumb and finger to break and flatten the pieces. However, I prefer and suggest using a pastry blender. This helps do the hard work for you and it keeps your warm hands from melting the butter.
Mix the butter in, breaking up the large cubes into smaller pea-sized pieces, and allowing the flour to fully coat them. If you do notice the butter warming up while mixing, simply chill the entire bowl for five to ten minutes, and then get back to it.
Add Caprese Ingredients and Milk
Once the butter is incorporated, we can add in the caprese ingredients! While normally you would think of caprese as featuring fresh tomatoes, the sun-dried ones used here have a sweeter, concentrated flavor. Plus, they will mix nicely into the dough without adding extra liquid.
You will also add shredded mozzarella cheese, dried basil, and some freshly ground black pepper to round it all out. Fresher cheese will have a lighter and creamier taste, adding that lovely mozz milkiness to these scones.
Use your hands to gently toss everything together, allowing all the mix-ins to get fully coated with flour. Work quickly to do this, again, because your butter needs to stay super cold. This is another time when you can place the bowl in the fridge if needed.
Once everything is mixed uniformly into the flour, make a large well in the bowl for the milk. Using this method allows you to more quickly bring the scone dough together without overmixing.
Be careful not to just throw all the milk in at once, or your dough may end up a little too sticky. Instead, add most of it right into the center of the well, but leave some aside just in case. Knock the flour from the edges into the milk and then use your hands to gently knead it all together.
The dough should form into a single ball, but be fairly shaggy and not feel sticky. Only mix until you get to this point, and be sure not to overwork it. If there are ingredients left behind, add small splashes of milk. If your dough does become too wet, add a little extra flour.
Shape and Bake the Scones
Dump the dough onto a surface and use a bench scraper to separate it into twelve equal-sized pieces. Form each into a ball, and then give it a gentle squish so it’s slightly shorter than it is wide. Place each of the scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about half an inch apart.
If you would prefer to make larger or smaller scones, that’s super easy at this point! Simply form the dough into fewer or more pieces. You can even cut larger balls of dough into triangles for wedge-shaped scones. You will need to adjust the baking time to accommodate the size difference, so keep a close eye on them.
If you are planning ahead, your unbaked scones can be stored in the fridge overnight or frozen for a few weeks. There is no need to thaw them when you are ready to finish. Instead, bake the scones directly from chilled or frozen.
Whether you are baking them now or later, your scones definitely need an egg wash to give them that lovely golden color. Crack a single egg into a small dish and use a whisk or form to mix it up well. Then, use a pastry brush to generously coat the top of each scone.
Bake the scones for right around fifteen minutes until they are evenly golden brown. If they look wet or greasy at all when you check them, they need a little bit more time. Also, if little pieces of cheese are sticking out, these may get slightly darker. That’s okay.
Transfer the scones from the hot pan onto a wire rack to cool. While you can usually enjoy scones warm from the oven, I suggest allowing these to get to room temperature so you can add that yummy chocolate-balsamic drizzle on top.
Make the Chocolate-Balsamic Drizzle
While the scones are cooling, it’s the perfect time to make the chocolate balsamic sauce for drizzling on top. To get started, combine the dark chocolate chips and balsamic vinegar in a small heat-proof bowl. Microwave in thirty-second increments, stirring after each.
Continue until the chocolate is melted and everything is smooth. Dark chocolate is important here, as milk or even semi-sweet may add too much sugar. The bitter taste of a very dark chocolate will instead complement the caprese flavors.
Slowly add warm water into the mixture about a teaspoon at a time, and stir it to incorporate. You will want to reach a drizzling consistency, where the thick sauce easily falls off the spoon, similar to the texture of chocolate syrup.
Use a spoon or a whisk to splatter the chocolate-balsamic sauce over the scones. For the best results, move the whisk back and forth quickly over the scones in only one dimension. You may also want to place a sheet of parchment under your wire rack to catch errant drops. Then eat these, because they are delicious when they harden!
At this point, you can enjoy the scones right away. However, if you’d like the drizzle to harden, let them sit at room temperature for about thirty minutes or longer. You can also speed this up in the fridge. Serve the finished scones at room temperature with a pat of butter.
If you are making these in advance or have leftovers, baked scones can be stored at room temperature for a few days in a sealed container. You can also freeze them for up to three months. When you want to serve them, let the scones thaw in the fridge overnight, and then at room temperature for thirty minutes before serving.
If you like the classic brunch flavor combination of sweet + savory, then you are sure to love these caprese scones, featuring sun-dried tomatoes and a chocolate balsamic drizzle!
How to Serve Sun-Dried Caprese Scones
Naturally, anything that combines sweet and savory flavors in this way is a perfect choice for brunch. Since these can be served at room temperature, you can even make them in advance for an easy first course. Just toss them in a basket with a towel to make everything feel extra fancy.
When it comes to pairings, you can definitely lean into the chocolate that’s part of the drizzling on top. Try serving these with a rich chocolate torte with strawberry sauce. The berries will also complement the other flavors. Add in a strawberry caprese salad to tie it all together.
As for drinks, try these caprese scones alongside a chocolate old fashioned. For those who prefer something without alcohol, serve some zero-proof strawberry shrub juleps. You could even swap out the mint in those with basil for a fun twist.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
- Use up extra sun-dried tomatoes in some savory crepes with caramelized onions.
- Try using flour, butter, and other basics to make a different type of scone: rhubarb scone strawberry shortcakes!
- White whole wheat flour is always a fun swap for all-purpose, especially in the crust of a mandarin posset tart.
- Combine black pepper with other spices to make a zero-proof spiced rum alternative.
- Add balsamic vinegar to the adorable strawberry balsamic chocolate tartlets.
Sun Dried Tomato Caprese Scones with Chocolate Balsamic Drizzle
Sun Dried Tomato Caprese Scones
- 1 ¼ Cups All-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ Cups White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
- ¾ tsp Salt
- 10 Tbsp Butter very cold and cubed
- 1 Cup Sun dried tomatoes dried, not in oil; roughly chopped
- ½ Cup Shredded Mozzarella
- 1 tsp Dried Basil
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper
- ¾-1 Cup Milk cold
- 1 Egg whisked well for egg wash
Chocolate Balsamic Drizzle
- ⅓ Cup Dark chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 Tbsp Water
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add the butter, and use a pastry blender to mix it into the flour, until the pieces are about pea-sized and coated.
- Add in the sun dried tomatoes, shredded mozzarella, basil, and black pepper. Toss to combine.
- Make a deep well in the center of the bowl. Add ¾ cup of milk into the well. Then knock the flour into the milk, and use your hands to mix everything into a dough that is shaggy and just wet enough that there are no large dry flour pockets. If needed, add more milk a splash at a time. Be careful not to overmix.
- Separate the dough into 12 equal-sized squat balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet, not touching, but only about ½ and inch apart. Egg wash well.
- Bake for 12-17 minutes until evenly golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the scones are cooling, make the drizzle. Combine the chocolate chips and balsamic vinegar in a small heat-proof bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.
- Slowly add in the water a tsp at a time until the mixture reaches a drizzling consistency. Using a spoon or whisk, splatter the chocolate-balsamic sauce over the scones. If you'd like the drizzle to harden, let sit for about 30 minutes or longer.
- Serve scones at room temperature with a pat of butter.
- Larger or smaller scones are easy to make. Simply form the dough into fewer or more pieces and adjust the bake time to accommodate.
- Make ahead tip:
- Unbaked scones can be stored in the fridge overnight or frozen for up to 3 weeks. Bake directly from chilled or frozen without thawing.
- Baked scones can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days in a sealed container. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight and then at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.