Thursday, October 15, 2015

Spiced Pumpkin Scones with Caramel Browned Butter Glaze

In Las Vegas, the smell of pumpkin spice on the air is pretty much the only indicator that fall has arrived (unless you count the Christmas decorations for sale in Target and Home Depot). With temps in the 90s still, it's too hot for carved jack o' lanterns, and we don't have a "leaf season" to speak of.

So we make do: we throw on shorts and sunblock to go outside and put up our decorations, and we sip frozen pumpkin spice lattes. As a transplant from New York, I like fall. I like a landscape of variegated leaves and apple picking and the promise of dozens of tiny candy bars. 

So here's my contribution to seasonal baking. These Spiced Pumpkin Scones with Caramel Browned Butter Glaze are probably one of my favorite things to make and to eat. The icing is so good, it's worth a day's sugar carbs to eat it straight up, from a spoon. Not that I've done it. I'm just saying. 

Spiced Pumpkin Scones with Caramel Browned Butter Glaze

Yield: 8 servings

Using a blend of all-purpose and whole wheat flours contributes to the flavor and texture of this bread. Be sure to use freshly ground nutmeg if possible; the flavor is superior to that of the off-the-shelf preground variety.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 11/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Caramel Browned Butter Icing
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (one stick) salted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup half-and-half or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 to 11/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Add cubed butter, and use a pastry blender to work it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, half-and-half, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture over flour mixture. Use a fork to combine until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and a soft dough forms.
  4. Working in the bowl, knead the dough a couple of times, just until it comes together—do not overwork. Line your work surface with parchment and sprinkle lightly with flour. Turn dough out onto prepared work surface and pat or roll out until it’s about 1 inch thick. If making wedges, form the dough into a circle. If using a biscuit cutter, shape doesn’t matter.
  5. For triangles, cut dough round into 8 wedges. If you prefer round scones, use a biscuit cutter to cut scones out as close together as possible, then gently press dough scraps together and cut again.
  6. Arrange scones on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, or until tops and bottoms are golden and scones feel set.
  7. Let cool completely on wire rack before icing.
  8. To make icing: Combine brown sugar, butter, and half-and-half in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring, bring to boil and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature. Gradually beat in sifted confectioner’s sugar ¼ cup at a time until desired consistency is reached. Spread over cooled scones. 


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