Saturday, October 23, 2010

Harvest Pumpkin Scones - The Great Pumpkin Has Arrived!


Living on the Central Coast of California, our change of seasons happens in a very subtle way.  Ground snow doesn't happen in my part of California. Instead, our golden hills begin to show signs of life again with patches of bright green grass.   In our backyard, our tomato plants are beginning to look tired. There are a few orbs of red tomatoes, but plenty of green tomatoes.  Alas, they are small tomatoes-- too small for making Fried Green Tomatoes.  We've had a couple of days of welcome rain, but the sun still makes an appearance.  I noticed a few roses decided to show their pretty colors, though the rose bushes are starting to look a little sparse. Our sugar pumpkins are not doing so well. (That's what happens when you plant them a little too late.)  Fortunately, the pumpkin shortage that was predicted has been lifted.    I've run out of the frozen pumpkin puree I made, last year. So, I'm back to stocking up on canned pumpkin. I can eat pumpkin year-round.  Sweet or savory, I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy this winter squash (or is it a fruit? or vegetable? I bookmarked this recipe a few months ago, from the King Arthur Flour website.

KAF's recipe for Harvest Pumpkin Scones, suggests adding crystallized ginger.  I haven't used this pretty (but deadly "hot" to my tender palate) product in a long time.  My son grabbed a piece of this, and before I could warn him, he took a big bite. The look on his face was total shock, and tried not to laugh at him too much.  Don't let the sugar fool you!  Ginger can be very hot to the taste buds. A little goes a long way!  If you've never made scones-- or your attempts yielded desert dry and hard hockey pucks-- I'm going to show you how fast you can make these, with a few tips and tricks along the way. Ready?

First, we measure our dry ingredients. NOTE: I forgot left out the allspice. I used it up making my famous Red Cabbage, last week.  Full disclosure: I am not an employee of King Arthur Flour, nor do they pay me or provide free products.  I am a regular customer, though. I simply love their baking products because of the quality of their ingredients.  You don't have to add crystallized ginger (I found this in the bulk section at Whole Foods) ...

...nor mini cinnamon baking chips (purchased online at  King Arthur Flour). But I recommend it. You need pumpkin puree.  Don't use canned pumpkin pie filling, by mistake! (Why does anyone even buy that? Pumpkin pie is so easy to make...just sayin'.)

I decided to use 1/2 cup of minced crystallized ginger and 1/2 cup of mini cinnamon chips-- half of what the original recipe calls for.  You need 2/3 cup of pumpkin puree. Puree freezes really well, in case you don't use the rest for something else in a day or two.  You need two eggs. Cold eggs.  More on that, in a moment. Now, we need butter.  Not margarine, please. Butter.  One stick. Cold butter.  Do you see a theme here?

Here's a great tip:  Grate the butter. Put it in the freezer to keep it ice cold.
So, what's up with the emphasis on cold, you might wonder?  Unlike baking cakes or cookies, scones turn out puffy and tender when the ingredients are very cold.  The chunks of butter create steam, just like when baking with puff pastry or pie crusts.

I don't think it matters what order you do things, but I whisked the eggs and then combined the pumpkin puree. I put that in the refrigerator, to keep with the cold theme.

So, now all the ingredients are prepped and ready to make scones.  This shouldn't take more than 15 minutes. When you're photographing step-by-step, it takes more than twice that time. But, you readers are worth it.
Stir/whisk the dry ingredients.  A pastry cutter helps. (The warmth of your fingers might warm the butter up.)

Work in the grated, cold butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.

 If you're using the cinnamon baking chips and crystallized ginger, add them in now.

Add the pumpkin/egg mixture and stir until all is moistened and holds together.

At first, I found that my dough didn’t turn out very moist. Don’t panic, if it does.

I gently worked the dough until it held together.  If you overwork the dough, you will end up with tough scones. 
Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan. Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5” circle (if you haven’t incorporated any add-ins); or a 6” circle (if you’ve added 2 cups of fruit, nuts, etc.). The circles should be about 3/4” thick.
* *NOTE: I found that room was “tight” to place two circles onto one baking sheet. Even though I spaced them, they spread out and fused a bit together. I recommend using separate baking sheets.

 See those bits of butter, ginger and chips?  Yes! At this point, I put the baking sheet into the freezer for 30 minutes. That's the perfect opportunity to clean up the kitchen.  Get ready to preheat the oven to 425F. (The high heat gets that wonderful, buttery steam going.)

30 minutes later, the baking sheet and the unbaked scones are ice cold.  I brushed each round with milk and a sprinkling of coarse bright sugar
NOTES:  King Arthur Flour does the aboves steps before freezing. I chose not to, for no particular reason. Maybe I couldn't bond with the idea of freezing the milk... either way, it worksout fine.  Coarse bright sugar is one of my (many) favorite King Arthur Flour baking products. This sugar gives a wonderful texture to my muffins, puff pastry goods, cookies and scones.  If you can't find it (you can buy it here), you can substitute a cinnamon-sugar topping.

I love my bench scraper tool!  Since the dough was very cold, from the freezer, I found cutting the rounds into wedges was pretty easy.


Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2” space between them, at their outer edges. Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes (mine took 20 minutes), or until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs. If you pull one of the scones away from the others, the edges should look baked through, not wet or doughy.
NOTE: To be on the safe side, I checked the scones at 20 minutes, and the aroma was amazing! They were very ready!

 NOTE: Seriously, spread them apart! Mine fused slightly together (see previous note). In the future, I will use two baking sheets. Just sayin’!

Get your coffee or tea ready.  You won't have to yell "ready". The aroma will bring anyone in the house right to the source of the pumpkin-ginger-cinnamon aroma!

 Serve while warm.


VERDICT: Like Ina Garten and Cook's Illustrated, I've yet to not have success with a King Arthur Flour recipe.  The scones were tender and crumbly.  The ginger was the dominant flavor, so I plan to cut back to 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup.  I'm so glad I didn't add a full cup of ginger, or these would be renamed "Gingerbread Scones".  The cinnamon chips were very subtle, so I will increase from 1/2 cup to 1 cup.  The pumpkin flavor is very subtle, but I attribute that to the power of ginger.  Next time, I will definitely add the allspice. I just love the crunch of the coarse sugar, but I might try the cinnamon-sugar topping instead.  Overall, these are delicious scones. They would be perfect for a Thanksgiving morning brunch.



You can warm these up in the microwave, for a short burst of time. Or, in a toaster oven. I am thinking that these could be made the night before and refrigerated. The next morning, I'd add the milk and coarse sugar (or cinnamon-sugar topping) and bake them as directed. I would be tempted to par-bake these and freeze them.  Then, you could try baking them until golden brown, at a later time.

The printable recipe is at the bottom of this post.  Since I've baked these, the sun has disappeared and we're back to grey skies. Maybe it's not such a bad idea that we put fresh flannel sheets on our bed.  I do think that the frost on the pumpkin might be coming in the next few weeks!  In the meantime, what do I do with tiny green tomatoes?

Have a blessed weekend!






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33 comments:

Susan said...

Beautiful...great recipe. I will be making these. By the way, I try to always have crystalized ginger in my pantry. It is like a "pick me up" for me. I love it!!!

Claudia said...

These looks positively scrumptious. I always have crystallized ginger - it does come in handy. But (shhh), I have had the worst time with pumpkin puree and do (shhh) buy it in cans. Sorry! Does it count that I make my own stock/broth?

Need to give the scones a go - no bakery sells anything that approaches a homemade scone.

Joanne said...

I bought some candied ginger just yesterday and have absolutely been relishing in the hotness. Love it. Maybe I'm just into the whole pain is pleasure thing :P When it comes to food at least.

These scones sound marvelous! I'm a pumpkin year-rounder too and need to start baking with it again! Yum.

theUngourmet said...

We have been having a really mild autumn so far but the weather gurus say that high winds and lots of rain are moving this way. Your scones are beautiful! I tried to find cinnamon chips at the market a couple of days ago. They must have been out. Bummer!

Kay Heritage said...

Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful, Debby! Definitely was feast for my eyes.

Monica H said...

I'm not a fan of ginger but you can certain add some more cinnamon chips in there for me! yummy!

These look and sound delicious and I bet they smelled incredible. I will have to make that at some point.

Valerie said...

What beautiful, scrumptious-looking scones! I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin, but I would love to try one of these.

Thanks for the tips too! I don't have very much luck with scones.

Kelsey@KAF said...

Beautiful photos! The ginger definitely makes the scone. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great baking!

Lisa said...

These are the best pumpkin scones I've ever seen, especially with all that ginger and cinnamon chips in it.

Danielle said...

these sound and look fantastic.

Carole said...

Yum! I'll have to look for candied ginger.

Cheryl said...

Yummmy! My one and only time makins scones they were unedible. I cannot wait to try these!

Allison@KAF said...

Gorgeous scones, Debby! Thanks for sharing the tip on freezing/grating your butter - love it!

Tara said...

Oooh...I just bought a container of crystallized ginger. And yes, the appearance is VERY deceiving! haha I am adding this to my 'To Bake' list!

Diana's Cocina said...

I love crystallized ginger and scones! These look and sound beautiful! These are a lovely treat.

Muneeba said...

Am printing this recipe right now, so that I can make it SOON. Looks delicious and crunchy! I like ginger, but not the crystallized kind .. think I'll leave it out .. will let you know how they turn out! Thks Deb :) Hope your tomatoes flourish in the days to come!

Kristen said...

so yummy - my kind of recipe

Donna-FFW said...

Never mind running to the house, Id jump through the computer screen if I could to try that! Fabulous!

Great tip about grating the butter.. locked and stored in my brain for future use.

Kim said...

Oh Debby! Your pumpkin scones are a thing of beauty - seriously! I could eat these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I loved your tip about grating the frozen butter into the scones. Excellent idea.

Velva said...

These pumpkin scones are rocking my world. Stunning.
A cool autumn day with a couple of these scones and a good cup of coffee. Life would be good.

Laurie @simplyscratch said...

Debby these look awesome!! Beautiful photos!!

Reshmi Ahmed said...

Hi Debby,
just came across ur blog and I must say that u r indeed a perfect baker with loads of beautiful bakes....ur photography is worthy of praise as well !following u from now on to catch up with more tasty recipes :)

Meg (The Red Spoon) said...

These look wonderful! I've been searching for a good pumpkin recipe and I believe I just found it!

mylifeinscones said...

These look great - wholesome and full of deliciousness!

Bunny said...

Oh my goodness the scones are making my belly growl! They look amazing!

Kate said...

Debby, this are so tempting. I have to give them a try. Sitting down with a nice cup of tea and these scones....heaven!

LadyJayPee said...

You had me at mini-cinnamon chips. What a great addition!

Lyss said...

I just found your blog, and made this recipe today! My mom is visiting and needed to use some leftover ingredients. I halved the recipe and used 1/4c crystallized ginger and 1/4c Heath toffee bits. I also subbed half the AP flour for WW. I brushed with almond milk and sprinkled with turbinado sugar. A keeper!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

so glad you liked it, Lyss. I love heath bar chips. Great addition!

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

Debby,

Your pumpkin scones look wonderful. Beautiful blog too! I'll try your tip on grating butter.

I made these scones and linked your post in my post. You can see your link on my blog, Baking is my Zen.
http://bakingismyzen.blogspot.com/2011/10/harvest-pumpkin-scones-fall-comfort.html

~ Carmen

Bill said...

I can feel myself already craving fall foods and these scones really have me wanting one for breakfast this morning. Great post and I'm adding these to my fall list of things to make!

Anonymous said...

What part of the store do you find the crystallized ginger in? I've never bought it before.

Debby Foodiewife said...

I bought mine at Whole Food in the dried fruit section. I've seen it at my chain grocery store, but cannot recall where. I bet if you ask, you'll find it. It looks so pretty and sugary, but I warn you-- take one big bite and you'll get a lot of heat! Good luck.