Tender scones full of Bailey’s Irish Cream flavor become part of a great dessert when topped with fresh, sweetened whipped cream and whiskey chocolate sauce!
Creating this recipe led to my doing a little digging into the origin of Irish cream – and what I learned turned out to be quite interesting and unexpected!
I have always assumed that Irish cream is a century or more old recipe. In face when going through my grandmother’s recipes after her death, we found a recipe for homemade Irish cream (that includes raw eggs, gulp!) which only strengthened this assumption.
Then a few days ago I found this Irish Times article about the origin of the liqueur and learned the truth: Irish cream was created in 1973!
In a nutshell advertising men David Gluckman and Hugh Reade Seymour-Davies had a client who wanted a new Irish alcoholic drink to sell. In less than an hour they came up with the idea for Irish cream. They ran across the street to a grocery to grab ingredients, including Jameson Irish Whiskey and heavy cream, and concocted the liqueur in their office.
Gluckman and Seymour-Davies’ journey of developing the liqueur, the brand, and persuading their client, distributors, and focus groups on this new drink is very funny. The male focus group they gave samples to deemed it a “girl’s drink” and a U.S. spirits executive declared, “This shit will never sell!”
Ultimately it did of course sell. Girly or not, around 82 million bottles of Bailey’s Irish Cream are sold each year and it is one of Ireland’s most successful exports. I highly giving the article a read – it’s a fascinating look at how this idea came to be, and quite entertaining as well.
One of those 82 million bottles was bought by me and I have poured it into these scones!
The flavor of the Irish cream is soft and the scones are very tender as well.
The cream in the liqueur is complemented by fresh whipped cream spooned over the split scone.
Chocolate ganache gets a little tipsy thanks to the addition of Irish whiskey, and a few red raspberries are a nice topper if you’re up for them.
These scones on their own would also be amazing for breakfast or with a hot cup or tea or coffee. (Irish coffee… even better!)
Bailey’s Irish Cream Scones with Whiskey-Chocolate Sauce
For the scones:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons half and half plus more for brushing tops
- 2/3 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur
For the chocolate sauce:
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
- 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey, like Jameson’s
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- Fresh raspberries (optional)
- Make the scones:
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the bowl and whisk attachment from your mixer into the freezer to chill.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slice the cold butter into small pieces and toss them in the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender or your fingers to blend the butter into the flour, until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of half and half. Add this to the flour mixture and stir it in. Pour in the Irish cream and stir to mix this in. The mixture will look rough and clumpy.
- Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough mixture out onto it. Gently knead the dough together, just enough times for the dough to come together. It will still look a bit lumpy and rough, but that’s ok – you don’t want to overwork the dough. Form the dough into a square 6 inches by 6 inches and with a level top – it will be about 1-1/2 inches thick. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- After chilling, unwrap the dough and place it on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently cut the square into 9 equal portions. (Do your best to slice through the dough without compressing it too much. A sharp knife should work well.) Separate the dough squares a little. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the tops with the extra half and half. Bake the scones for about 18 minutes. They will be puffed and browned – if they are browning too fast lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top to shield them. Remove the scones to a cooling rack. As soon as they are cooled, cover them with plastic wrap to keep them soft until you are ready to assemble the dessert.
Make the chocolate sauce:
- In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of the heavy cream over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cream comes to a simmer. Once it is simmering, remove it from the heat and add in the chocolate. Stir the chocolate until it is completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Add in the whiskey and stir it through.
Make the whipped cream:
- Assemble the chilled bowl and whisk attachment onto your mixer. Pour the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream into the bowl and whisk the cream on high for about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer to add in the 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar. Beat the cream on high for about 5 more minutes, scraping the bowl one or two more times, and stop mixing when the cream has stiff peaks.
Assemble the dessert:
- Split the scones in half, and place the bottom half on a plate. Spoon some whipped cream over the scone bottom. (If you are using berries, you can sprinkle a few over the whipped cream.) Place the top half of the scone on the whipped cream, and drizzle the top with the whiskey-chocolate sauce. Repeat with as many of the remaining scones as you are serving. Add 1 or 2 raspberries to the tops if you’d like. Serve immediately.
- Leftover scones can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. Leftover whipped cream can be stored covered in the fridge for 1 day. Leftover chocolate sauce can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.