Test Kitchen - Licorice & Orange Peel Scones

Both you and I never would have guessed what to use black licorice with (or at the very least, I wouldn't have). I've read somewhere that you either are born hating it or loving it. I would be somewhere in the middle but leaning more towards the former. It's a taste I just can't crave. Therefore, I was challenged by Mike of Eating My Way Through OC to use it for a Test Kitchen ingredient. Well-played sir, but I did get inspiration out of nowhere while driving one morning. I don't know how but the thought of licorice and orange peel scones sounded delightful! I had never made scones before either so why not try? The result was an amazing scone - really. In fact, one of my friends claimed it was the best scone he's ever had. That's a huge compliment from someone who loves scones...

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 12-16 scones, depending on size)
  • 1/2 cup soft black licorice candies, melted
  • 1 large orange, peel only
  • 2/3 cup sugar + more for topping
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted and straight from fridge
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Step 2: Prepping ingredients
In a small saucepan on medium low heat, add licorice candies and about 1 tbsp of water. Remove just the zest (orange part without softer white part) of your orange - I used a paring knife but you don't feel adept enough with one, a vegetable peeler will do. You'll need about half the orange's worth of peel. I called for a large orange in the recipe to ensure you had thick zest. Grind in a processor with sugar. Then add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Process thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract well.

Step 3: Melting the licorice
You'll have to take a slight break from the other ingredient to tend to your licorice which takes a while to melt due to the gelatin in the candy. I found that a silicone spatula worked well when stirring. Constantly stir and add water until the licorice is gelatinous and mostly melted. It's okay if some of the bits remain - they'll be sprinkled in the scone and give it some good texture. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Step 4: Combining ingredients
Add your licorice to the sour cream/egg/vanilla extract mixture and whisk very well - you should see all the parts of the licorice break up and incorporate into the wet mixture. Once everything's prepped, cut in cold butter straight from the fridge into your dry mixture of flour. When it is all reduced to fine crumbs, add in wet mix until a soft dough is formed.

Step 5: Finishing
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop heaps of scone mixture on it. Sprinkle sugar for topping and place in oven. After 15-20 minutes (check for golden color), remove and cool. Enjoy warm!

This week's Test Kitchen ingredient: wasabi powder
Wasabi (wasabia Japonica or Eutrema wasabi) is a cruciferous vegetable from the Brassicaceae family (cabbage, mustard, horseradish, etc) that is difficult to grow because it requires a constant stream of cool water, appropriate shade, a specific mixture of soil nutrients, and mild climate. Though the leaves produce the same hot flavor as what we're accustomed to, it is the rhizome (above-ground root stem) that is used as a side dish. Because the flavor is lost in as quick as 15 minutes after the root is cut up, the actual grating of the root is done briefly before needed. When eaten in its actual form, the initial heat wears off quickly and gives way to a sweet vegetal flavor [Read more at my information post on wasabi here].

I came across this powder (which is actually legitimately wasabi) one day and bought it without hesitation. I'm excited to give it a try in something. Tell me what you think when I post the below picture on Facebook!

Photography by Minerva Thai.



  1. Well played Minerva. I am very impressed with your creativity with this one. You might be ready for Top Chef. I will have to step up my next challenge.

    1. No need to rush - you had me wracking my brain for this one already. Can I challenge you? Tell me what I could use pomelo in and no, you can't just juice it or toss it into a salad. =P

  2. Very good scones. I had expected more licorice flavor, but there is just a hint. Looking forward to the ladies tasting them at tea today.