Monday, November 23, 2015

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones with Browned Butter Vanilla Glaze

My co-workers are frequent tasters of my baked goods, but this past week I had an experience that surprised me. I had been wanting to try making pumpkin scones with cinnamon chips; I love pumpkin and chocolate together but I had this idea that cinnamon would be even better. Since my dogs get me up super early, I always have a few hours before the library opens, so Friday morning I made these scones. I brought them to the meeting my group has every Friday at 9:30, and then left the rest in the library break room. By 11:15, they were completely gone. One person rolled her eyes back in her head as I walked by her desk, and another said she doubted I could ever top this recipe. In fact she had "been good" and only taken part of one, and when she went back for another taste there was only a partial one left.

So I had to share it with you without waiting until my usual Monday posting date, in case you were going to have house guests for Thanksgiving and you wanted an idea of a simple but stunning breakfast item. I used a recipe from Joy the Baker that she adapted from Alice's Tea Cup in Manhattan (the only cookbook that has ever made me cry), but instead of pecans I used cinnamon chips. And holy goodness, the browned butter glaze really does take it over the top, balancing the sweetness a little bit. This recipe makes a lot, double the amount I usually make when I make scones. But I was feeding a crowd. If you aren't, you might want to cut it in half.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones with Browned Butter Vanilla Glaze

makes about 16 scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup, 6 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1 cup buttermilk, cold
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1-1 1/2 cups cinnamon chips

For the Glaze:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons whole milk

Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and all of the spices.  Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and toss to coat.  Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, break the butter down into the dry ingredients.  Work quickly so that the butter remains cold. Some of the butter will be the size of oat flakes, others will be the size of small peas. Mix the cinnamon chips to the crumbles.

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together until almost thoroughly combined.  Stir until no dry flour bits remain.

Divide dough into two and shape each half into a flat circle, which you can cut into 8 triangular scones. Spread out around cookie sheet.  Leave about 2-inches of space between each scone (I ended up wishing I had used two sheets.)

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until browned slightly with dry tops.  You can insert a toothpick into the center of a scone to test for doneness.

Allow to cool completely before glazing. (I glazed as soon as the glaze was done.)

To make the glaze, in a small saucepan melt butter over medium-low heat.  The butter will begin to crackle and pop.  After the crackling subsides a bit, the butter will begin to brown.  Continue to cook until the butter smells nutty and the butter solids begin to brown.  Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, browned butter, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk.  Whisk together and add more milk as necessary until your desired consistency is reached.
Generously drizzle scones with glaze.  These scones are best served within 2 days of of baking. As if they could last that long.

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