I have entertained at the High Country Inn for several years now with High Teas, and as a middle course served homemade scones with “clotted cream,” but have never enjoyed the messy hands that result from having to handle the scone dough.
Every recipe I have ever run across has called for cold butter, cut into tiny cubes, and mixed into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of peas.
Well, just this last week, on the spur of the moment, I decided to try to get some scones made in the hour I had before going to a morning meeting. In my hurry, before I knew it, I had softened butter and creamed it with the sugar before I realized with a jolt that I wasn’t on the road to making scones at all! So I gave that idea up and went to my meeting empty-handed, after calling myself several derogatory names (including “stupid”).
Later that day I decided to just go ahead and see if I could salvage what I had started, even if it meant wasting two sticks of expensive butter! After thinking a bit, this is what I did. I went ahead and added the bowl of mixed dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, turned the mixer on low and blended it just until the whole mixture was crumbly. I then added the liquid ingredients, and it all came together, and could be turned out onto my board without being sticky.
I couldn’t believe my good luck, and proceeded with getting the scones into the oven. The finished product was better than any I had ever made before. Thinking it might just be a fluke, the next day I decided to try the same method with two different recipes, and all turned out just the same! So I became anxious to share my “new” technique. Below is my recipe for pumpkin scones, ideal for serving for Thanksgiving breakfast, or any time you feel like a delicious scone! They also freeze wonderfully to thaw and reheat in the microwave.
Next week I’ll have a different scone recipe, following the same method, and another recipe for a festive Thanksgiving breakfast.
Have ready: 2/3 cup chopped pecans (optional, but delicious!)
Coarse granulated sugar for sprinkling
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease or line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone (Silpat) liners.
Cream until just blended:
1 cup butter (two sticks) softened
½ cup brown sugar, packed.
Mix together in separate bowl:
4 ½ cups regular flour
4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 Tb. pumpkin pie spice (Or make your own, directions follow recipe)
In another small bowl, mix together with fork:
1 cup plain canned pumpkin
½ tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup whole milk or half and half cream
Directions: With mixer running, add flour mixture to butter and brown sugar, mix on medium high just until mixture is crumbly, scraping bowl once. Immediately add pumpkin mixture and ½ cup pecans, and beat on low until it just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, and with your hands form dough into about an 11-inch round. Brush all over the top with half and half or milk, sprinkle over this coarse white sugar and rest of chopped pecans. Cut into twelve even triangles, using a bench knife or other sharp knife, place 6 scones on each baking sheet, at least two inches apart. Bake 10 minutes, rotate pans and bake another 3 or 4 minutes or until scones are lightly browned and firm. Let cool on pan. Ice the scones with Vanilla Glaze.
Make a simple vanilla glaze, with 2 Tb. warm milk, 1 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Mix with whisk until well blended, and thick enough to set up (add more sugar if needed.) Pour into a sandwich zip-type bag, close and snip a tiny bit off one corner. Use this as a piping bag and drizzle criss-cross over each scone. Scones can be made and frozen ahead for a delicious start to Thanksgiving Day or any autumn or winter morning or afternoon!
Pumpkin pie spice: (If you already have the following on hand. If not, it is probably less expensive to just purchase the prepared spice.)
Blend together, crushing any lumps:
¼ cup good quality cinnamon (Saigon or Ceylon)
2TB. Ground ginger
1TB. Ground cloves Mixture can be multiplied to keep on hand.