Pumpkin Spice Scones

pumpkin-scones2

My longtime blog readers (hi Mum and Dad!) will know that pumpkin is the official flavor of October in our house, meaning that I’ll find some way to add the squash of the gods to most – if not all – of my recipes this month. While I got a bit of a late start on my baking this fall (seriously, where has October gone?!), I’m still determined to squeeze at least a couple of pumpkin treats into the mix before turning yet another page on the calendar.

First on the agenda: Pumpkin Spice Scones.

Given that its probably destined for legend status in our family, this recipe deserves a bit of a backstory. My mum – a great lover of scones – has been searching for the perfect pumpkin scone for years (possibly decades). Perfection is, of course, entirely subjective, and she gets that, but she actually had only one relatively simple requirement: she wanted her pumpkin scone to taste like pumpkin. Easy, right? Not so much. Every place she tried – from Starbucks to Trader Joe’s, and every trendy-but-not-nailing-it bakery in between – kept serving up orange-hued scones containing pumpkin pie spice but NO PUMPKIN TASTE. She even tried recipes recommended by family and friends – including those that, thank goodness, contained actual pumpkin – but something was missing. She was getting discouraged, and starting to lose hope (at least about scones). So when my parents came to visit late last month, I was determined to crack the case for my mum and send her home with the best pumpkin scone recipe of.all.time.

I scoured the Internet, as I so often do, for help in this endeavor. Recipes for scones “just like Starbucks!” popped up left and right (no thank you!), and it took me a while to weed through recipes that made no such claim yet still used the same ingredients. I finally stumbled across the winner – and what a winner it was! – from Once Upon a Chef. Mum, meet pumpkin scone perfection!

We’re convinced that a few things about this recipe really make the pumpkin taste stand out, including the use of dark brown sugar (instead of white) and the addition of molasses. Both impart a stronger flavor, which helped these rise (no pun intended) to a different level. We also loved the no holds barred approach to the spices, particularly the cloves. These were, hands down, the best scones we’d ever baked.

Just when we thought they couldn’t get better, along came the glaze. We couldn’t decide between a simple sugar glaze – made using confectioner’s sugar and cream – and a spiced pumpkin version, so … we made both. That’s right – the best scones ever, dipped in two A-M-A-Z-I-N-G glazes (recipes courtesy of Inspired Taste). They were gone in a matter of hours, and I’ve been craving them ever since. The Month of Pumpkin, off to a truly delicious start. Enjoy in moderation!

 

{Better than Starbucks!} PUMPKIN SPICE SCONES

Yields: 12 scones

For the scones:

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin 
  • 1 large fresh egg
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter

For the sugar glaze:

  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons half and half or cream

For the spiced glaze:

  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons half and half or cream
  1.  Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup pumpkin, egg, heavy cream, molasses and vanilla. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the flour, dark brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Process for 20 seconds to combine be (sure no lumps of brown sugar remain).
  4. Cut the cold butter into 1/2-inch chunks. Add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal — it should look unevenly crumbly with some pea-size chunks of butter within. Add the pumpkin mixture and pulse just until the mixture comes together. The dough will be very sticky, and you should still be able to see some pea-size clumps of butter.
  5. Lightly flour a clean countertop or work surface. Dump the sticky scone dough onto the floured surface and dust the top lightly with more flour. Using your hands, gently knead the dough until it comes together into a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half. Dust your work surface with flour again and form each half into a 5-inch circle, about 3/4-inch thick. Using a sharp knife dusted with flour, slice each circle into 6 even wedges (cut each circle in half, then cut each half into thirds). If the dough starts to stick to the knife, dust the knife with more flour. Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake the scones for 12-15 minutes. To see if they are done, peek at the bottoms; they should be slightly browned but not burnt. Let the scones cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, make the glaze(s).
    1. For the sugar glaze, add the confectioner’s sugar to a medium bowl, then add one tablespoon of half and half. Stir, then judge the consistency (the glaze should slowly drizzle from the spoon). If it’s too thick, add a little more half and half (a little goes a long way). If it’s too thin, add a little more confectioner’s sugar. Dip each cooled scone directly into the glaze, then place glaze-side up onto the cooling rack.
    2. For the spiced glaze, combine the confectioner’s sugar, pumpkin puree and spices. Add one tablespoon of half and half, stir, and check consistency (adjust in the same way as you would the sugar glaze). Use a spoon to drizzle a zigzag pattern across each scone. Wait 15 minutes or until the glaze has set, then enjoy!

 

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