How to Modify Recipes: Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Scones

How to Modify Recipes: Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Scones


Sometimes I just don't want to add the 4 cups of sugar that a recipe asks for. This is the art of modifying recipes.

Here are some rules you must abide by...

Rule #1: You need to know what you can & cannot substitute.
One time I tried subbing baking soda for baking powder and my scones tasted HORRIBLE. 

Rule #2: Recipe Modification Works Better with Cooking Experience
Baking is like acrylics and cooking is like oil painting. Baking is chemistry - when you mess up- you really mess up. With cooking, you can really fudge a recipe.

Rule #3: You have to have a reasonable sense of taste.
What will that extra garlic taste like? Does coconut oil belong in this dish?
Below are a couple of recipes on Pinterest that passed the test.
Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Scones 
Semisweet Chocolate Chip Scones

Rule #4: You need to start off with a good recipe. (This will be a whole different post.)
Pinterest has some nice pictures. Don't go off the pictures, go off the recipes ingredients. Be suspicious of recipes like "3 Ingredient Pancakes" or "Chocolate Torte in 2 Minutes"

Rule #5: Know which ingredients you can fudge.
When a recipe calls for vinegar- that's a pretty distinct taste- and you probably can't for-go it.

Rule #6: Look through a few recipes so you have a general idea of what goes in a dish.
When a majority of recipes tell you to use tamarind and one tells you to use ketchup, please use tamarind.

My weakness is chocolate chip scones and add this is an attempt to make scones that:

  • the sugar doesn't overwhelm the chocolate chips
  • are not too chocolate chip-y
  • are just chocolate chip-y enough
  • the butter doesn't cause grease stains on napkins

2 Cups Flour -- this can be fudged a little
6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Large Egg - please don't sub this for flax egg
3/4 cup Sour Cream
3/4 cup Chocolate Chips -- can be increased or decreased depending on how chocolate-y you like your scones
Small pinch of salt
1 Tbsp baking POWDER -- this is one of those ingredients that you NEED to include
1/4 cup sugar -- increase or decrease depending on sweetness
2 tsp Bourbon vanilla (or regular vanilla if you please)


  1. Cut butter up into tablespoon size chunks and set out on counter so it softens a little.
  2. Heat your oven to 425 degrees F. I've seen recipes calling for 350, but for a dry, crumbly scone, I'd recommend 425.
  3. Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Examine your butter. If it's still crazy hard, stick it in the microwave for 20 seconds.
  5. Add butter to your dry mixture and (if you own no fancy equipment) cut it up with a knife until it's integrated in your flour-y mixture. It should be quite crumbly. 
  6. Mix egg, vanilla, and sour cream.
  7. Slowly add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix as you add. Don't over mix. The contents of your bowl should be crumbly.
  8. Bring dough in a ball .
  9. Split your dough in two. 
  10. Flatten each dough ball on a cookie sheet so that the dough is an inch high. You should have two pizza-like rounds.
  11. Cut the dough rounds into 8 slices each. If the above steps made no sense, watch the video below.
  12. Stick in the oven on the middle shelf for 12-14 minutes.

End Result: It was a solid scone. Step #5 is pretty important. I'd give it a 4/5.

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