Welcome to the official Fall baking season! Is this what heaven tastes like?
I always feel a jolt of happiness, excitement, and satisfaction when I post the 1st new pumpkin recipe of the season!! I usually like to kick off pumpkin season with a new pumpkin cookie recipe, but hopefully Sprinkled episode 5 gave you your fill this week. So classic pumpkin scones it is!
Let’s start the pumpkin season with breakfast.
For pumpkin breakfast, we’ve done pumpkin crumb cake, pumpkin cheesecake muffins, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin crumb muffins, pumpkin coffee creamer, pumpkin protein smoothie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, and a “skinny” frozen pumpkin coffee treat! There’s always room for more pumpkin at the breakfast table and pumpkin scones have been on my baking bucket list for years. Truth is, I’ve been nervous to attempt them because pumpkin scones from the bakery are just so damn good. I was also wary that I wouldn’t get the texture right, but after a couple tries– I produced what I believe to be the best pumpkin scones on the planet. Of course that’s just my opinion, but my taste testers loved them. (hi Hilari, Eric, and Anna!) And I have a feeling you’ll be quick to agree.
These pumpkin scones are:
- quick and simple if you follow the recipe closely
- not overly sweet
- tender and flaky in the center
- crumbly on the corners
- crispy on top
- perfectly pumpkin-spiced
- topped with maple icing
- autumn in a triangle ♥
Let’s do this!
TIPS FOR SCONE SUCCESS
I’ve shared these scone tips before, but it’s important to read over them before you begin. There are many little quirks to these pumpkin scones that make them the best!
- Heavy cream makes a delicious pumpkin scone. Buttermilk does too! Try not to sub with another dairy or nondairy milk. You’ll be headed down a one way street to dry, bland, boring, and blah.
- Use frozen butter. Like pie crust, it’s best to use cold butter in scone dough. You’ll work the cold butter into the dry ingredients so that it coats the flour and creates crumbs. When the little butter/flour crumbs melt as the scones bake, they release steam and create little pockets of air. These pockets create a flaky and airy center, while keeping the edges crumbly and crisp. Refrigerated butter might melt in the dough as you work with it, but frozen butter will hold out until the oven. It guarantees scone success.
- Grate the butter. Weird, right? The finer the pieces of cold butter, the easier they are to evenly mix into the dry ingredients. You can, of course, just cut the frozen butter with a sharp knife, but I like to begin with teeny butter shreds instead. See photo here.
- Blot the pumpkin. Trust me on this. See this post!
- Don’t over mix the pumpkin scone dough! After you mix the cold butter into the dry ingredients, it’s time to add your wet ingredients. Mix everything together with ease. Like pie crust, overworking the dough will build up the gluten in the flour. This results in a tough and not-so-pleasant texture.
- Before baking– and I swear by this too— brush the scones with heavy cream or buttermilk, whichever you used in the dough. This layer of liquid sets on top of the scones and drizzles down the sides when they’re in the hot oven, creating an even crispier scone exterior.
Above: dry ingredients with grated butter cut in using your pastry cutter.
Below: wet ingredients.
Pumpkin scone dough will be crumbly. Those white specks are frozen butter, not white chocolate chips. Frozen butter is where all the texture comes from. See tip #2 above. But that’s not to say white chocolate chips can’t make an appearance today. 1 cup of white or regular chocolate chips, nuts, or even cinnamon chips fit right in here!
Dough comes together with your hands:
Brush with a little heavy cream or buttermilk, then sprinkle with coarse sugar for an extra crunch. Always my go-to when I prepare homemade scones.
A drizzle or drench of maple glaze brings the pumpkin treat to a satisfying finale. If not maple, try brown butter icing or classic vanilla icing. Best to pour the glaze all over the scones while they’re warm so it melts down into every flake, every crack, and every crevice. This means that each bite has a crumbly edge, a flaky center, pumpkin spice galore, and melty maple icing.
Yes this IS what heaven tastes like.
More fall recipes to try this weekend:
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, frozen
- 1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons (105ml) heavy cream, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (115g) canned pumpkin puree, blotted*
- 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- optional: coarse sugar for sprinkling on top before baking
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (120ml) pure maple syrup
- 1 cup (112g) sifted confectioners’ sugar
- pinch salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Adjust baking rack to the middle-low position. Line 1 or 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat(s). If making mini scones, I use 2 baking sheets. Set aside.
- Make the scones: Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together in a large bowl. Grate the frozen butter (I use a box grater). Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and combine it with a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers until the mixture comes together in pea-sized crumbs. Set aside.
- Whisk 1/3 cup (75ml) heavy cream, the egg, blotted pumpkin (see note), brown sugar, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle it over the flour mixture and then mix it all together until everything appears moistened.
- With floured hands, work the dough into a ball as best you can and transfer onto a floured work surface. Press into a neat 8-inch disc and, with a very sharp knife, cut into 8 equal wedges. To make smaller scones, press dough into two 5-inch discs and cut each into 8 equal wedges. (Larger scones are pictured in this blog post.)
- Place scones at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet(s). Using a pastry brush, brush scones with remaining heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired. (Gives a nice crunch!)
- Bake the larger scones for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. If you made 16 smaller scones, bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes as you prepare the icing.
- Make the glaze: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and maple syrup together, whisking occasionally. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and whisk in the sifted confectioners’ sugar. Taste and add a pinch of salt if desired. Drizzle over warm scones.
- Scones are best enjoyed right away, though leftover scones keep well at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 2 extra days.
Make ahead tip: Plain baked scones freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then heat up to your liking before icing and enjoying.
*Instead of prepared pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon each: ground allspice and ground ginger AND 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ground cloves.
*Using a paper towel or clean kitchen towel, lightly blot the pumpkin puree to remove some of the moisture before using in the recipe. The more moisture removed, the less moist and muffin-like the scones will taste. We want the scones to be flaky and crumbly, not super moist or muffin-like. I prefer to squeeze lots of moisture out so the scones taste textured and delicious. Do what you prefer!
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