Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Combine sugar and orange zest in a large bowl. Using your fingers, rub together until sugar turns yellowy-orange and you smell that citrusy goodness.
Add flour, baking powder, and salt, then whisk to combine.
Add cold, cubed butter, tossing around gently to coat. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a medium bowl, whisk together heavy cream, egg, and vanilla.
Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into well, then begin mixing. As dough starts to come together, add chocolate chips, then mix just until combined and evenly dispersed. (Ditch the spatula and get in there and mix with your hands, if necessary. Just work quickly so that you don’t warm up the cold butter with your hand heat!)
Tip your dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat dough into an 8" circle. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut dough into 8 equal wedges. Carefully transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet.
Chill scones in fridge for 20–30 minutes. While your scones are chillin’, heat oven to 400°F.
Before you pop the scones into the oven, lightly brush them with egg wash and sprinkle the tops with orange chili sugar. (Sprinkle with as much or as little sugar as you would like! We used quite a bit for a nice crunch and extra spice.)
Bake 17–20 minutes or until golden brown.
Enjoy scones warm or transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.