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!

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

 

I’ve been looking forward to making these yummy pumpkin cinnamon rolls since discovering the recipe last year on the brilliant and beautiful blog Sweet and Savory by Shinee. Because pumpkin and cinnamon rolls deserve each other, and I’m nothing if not a slightly reckless matchmaker.

I was hoping I could try this recipe after the arrival of my household goods, as the use of a rolling pin makes rolling infinitely (and obviously) easier. But as usual, my sweet tooth and reckless abandon won out as I found myself pulling all the ingredients off our market shelves without hesitation last week. Fast forward to Sunday morning, when I then found myself staring down step 5 with a smidge of doubt and a dash of disappointment. “Roll out on a floured surface into a large rectangle approximately 18 x 15 inches”, you say? Hmmm. Perhaps I should have waited for my rolling pin to arrive after all. But I’m nothing if not resourceful (and a little reckless – did I mention that?), so I scoured my pantry for something – anything – to get my rolls back on track. Can of soup? Too small. Husband’s obnoxiously giant bottle of protein powder? Too unwieldly. Half empty, mostly stale old tube of Pringles? Now we’re talking.

Long story short, you too can make these incredibly delicious cinnamon rolls with a can of Pringles that should have been thrown away two months ago. Or a rolling pin, if that’s your thing. Just make them. Because pumpkin and cinnamon rolls should have gotten together a lonnng time ago. Because it’s still socially acceptable to pimp pumpkin. And because they’re freaking amazing, and you haven’t made cinnamon rolls in a long time (or maybe ever?!). Enjoy in moderation!

 

PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS

Yields | 12 rolls

Inspiration | Sweet & Savory by Shinee

For the dough:

  • 1 standard package (0.25 oz; 2 ¼ teaspoons) dry active yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup pure pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp) buttermilk
  • 1 egg

For the filling:

  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

For the glaze:

  • 4 oz (110gr) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 7oz (200gr) sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp) Pumpkin spice coffee creamer
  •   1 tsp vanilla extract

 

To make filling:

  1. Mix together brown sugar, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. Set aside.

To make dough:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry active yeast and warm water. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl with yeast, add pumpkin puree, buttermilk, egg and flour mixture. Knead* for about 6-7minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  3. Transfer the dough into large oiled bowl. Cover it with wet towel and put it in a warm place for an hour to rise. I put it in a microwave with glass of hot water.
  4. Once the dough has doubled in size, roll out on a floured surface into a large rectangle about 18x15in. Pour melted butter and spread it evenly. Leave about half an inch on opposite edge of the dough. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the butter. Wet the opposite edge of the dough that has no butter and filling.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Bake the rolls in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the top is nice and brown. Cool on wire rack while making the glaze.

To make glaze:

  1. In mixing bowl, whisk together cream cheese, condensed milk and Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Pour over the warm pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Serve warm.

 

*Note: You don’t need a stand mixer to make this recipe. You can easily mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon and knead the dough by hand for 6-7 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

 

Mini Samoa Doughnuts

Mini Samoa Doughnuts

 

Every Halloween for the last few years, I’ve tried my hand at a new doughnut recipe. I’ve struck gold in the past with flavors like Apple Cider and spiced Pumpkin, and had high hopes that these little guys – fashioned after the Girl Scout cookie classic, Samoas (also known as Caramel deLites) – would be just as yummy. Mission accomplished! The combination of sticky caramel, crunchy toasted coconut and semi-sweet chocolate was divine, if not a wee bit messy (which just means ooey-gooey delicious, right?). The recipe below makes 12-15 miniature doughnuts – perfect for a brunch treat or a morning meeting in the office. Enjoy!

Tip: Make sure that you use a slightly thickened (but still drizzly) caramel sauce rather than a caramel syrup. The thickness of the sauce helps the coconut adhere to the doughnut’s surface, preventing the whole thing from falling apart while eating.

 

MINI SAMOA DOUGHNUTS

Yields | 12-15 miniature doughnuts

Inspiration | Damn Delicious

 

For the doughnuts:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg

For the toppings:

  • ¼ cup salted caramel
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

     

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a mini donut pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together milk, vinegar, butter and egg. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.
  4. Scoop batter evenly into donut pan. Place into oven and bake for 4-5 minutes, or until donuts are slightly browned and spring back when touched.
  5. When the donuts are done, cool for 10 minutes and dip the top into the salted caramel. Sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes and drizzle with chocolate.
  6. Allow chocolate to set before serving.

 

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze

Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

Happy November, baking gods and goddesses! Fair warning: this month is going to be all pumpkin, (almost) all the time. If you’re a pumpkin hater, it’s time for a hiatus from this blog (and some deep soul-searching, because seriously – you don’t know happiness). For the rest of you, welcome and enjoy!

These Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts with Vanilla Glaze were a first for me. Not because I’ve never made doughnuts – in fact, I try a new doughnut recipe every fall – but because every single member of my household went absolutely BALLISTIC for them. My husband – who has never shown any particular interest in sweets – ate 5 before my last tray came out of the oven. Our puppy wouldn’t leave my side for a moment, and our two cats went on a meowing frenzy, ninja-flipping off walls and repeatedly jumping onto no-cat’s land (the kitchen counter). Just when I thought it was safe to reach for my camera and snap a few photos for this blog, our youngest kitty – a rescue boy named Perseus – poked his head up beside the cooling rack, snatched a doughnut, and was out of the room in a flash, leaving only a trail of crumbs in his wake. I don’t know exactly what it is about these wee doughnuts, but they’re definitely a fall favorite for creatures big and small!

The original recipe (from the brilliant blog Confessions of a Cookbook Queen) calls for dipping the doughnuts in glaze only once, but I went for it (‘it’ being diabetes, I guess?) and dipped them three times. Then I sprinkled them with copious amounts of cinnamon-sugar. I know, I know – but I’m not sorry. Not even a little. They’re SO GOOD!

BAKED PUMPKIN DOUGHNUTS

Yields: 3 dozen mini doughnuts

For the doughnuts:

  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large fresh eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 6 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon-sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius). Spray mini doughnut molds with nonstick spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Stirring frequently, bring pumpkin, cinnamon, and cloves to a simmer in a medium saucepan until puree thickens and just begins sticking to the bottom of the pan (approximately 4-6 minutes). Carefully pour the hot puree into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the brown sugar and oil, then slowly beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
  4. Fill each doughnut mold about 3/4 full. [The original recipe recommended using a piping bag, but I used a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off – easy filling and cleanup!]
  5. Bake doughnuts in preheated oven for 5-6 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Keep an eye on these to prevent over-baking.
  6. Let the doughnuts cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack while you prepare glaze.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk all the glaze ingredients together until smooth.
  8. Place a sheet of foil or wax paper under your cooling rack. Dip each doughnut in the glaze, allowing excess to drip off. Place back on the cooling rack until glaze is firm. [I actually repeated this dipping process three times, because I love this glaze. I also topped them of with a sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar.]
  9. Enjoy!

Baked Chai Spice-Vanilla French Toast

Baked Chai Spice-Vanilla French Toast

Good Sunday morning, baking gods and goddesses! Today’s recipe combines two personal favorites – French toast and the flavors of a vanilla chai latte – into one AMAZING breakfast dish. I wish I could claim this genius idea was my own, but credit goes to fellow blogger Savory Simple. Check out her blog for all things foodie-beautiful and delicious!

BAKED CHAI SPICE-VANILLA FRENCH TOAST

Yields: 6 servings

For the chai-spice mixture:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

For the french toast:

  • 6 large fresh eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chai-spice mixture
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 loaf day-old French bread, chopped into 1-inch cubes

For the streusel topping:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chai-spice mixture
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold + chopped into cubes
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, ginger and cloves. Set aside.
  2. For the french toast, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the chai spice mixture in a medium bowl.
  3. Grease a medium-sized (8×8″ or similar) casserole or baking dish with the softened butter and layer the cubed bread inside, gently pressing it down. Briefly re-whisk the liquid ingredients and pour them evenly over the bread, taking care to cover all of the exposed bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or as long as overnight to allow the mixture to absorb into the bread.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit (175° Celsius). In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients until crumbly.
  5. Uncover the baking dish and gently press the bread down evenly until the liquid begins seeping up. Spread the topping evenly over the bread. Bake for 45 minutes until the top is golden and crunchy.
  6. Allow to cool for several minutes, then slice and serve.