Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jumping on the Pumpkin Bandwagon

It's that time of year when everything's pumpkin flavored. Let's set aside the fact that most "pumpkin" offerings (pumpkin-flavored coffee, oatmeal, sandwich cookies), including canned pumpkin, contain no actual pumpkin. For a longtime pumpkin lover like me, I enjoy seeing the rest of the world catch up to my gourd preferences.

This recipe for pumpkin scones studded with cranberries and served with cinnamon butter is an instant fall classic, and not too difficult to make--provided you have a box grater. More on that in a minute.

There are a few tricks to serving up a good scone. Only serve scones the day you bake them. Don't overmix the ingredients. And above all, keep big chunks of butter in your dough so they puff up your scone in a hot oven.

I've read all kinds of ways to accomplish the latter, but until I tried this recipe (designed by folks at Beauty & Essex Restaurant in Manhattan and published in Bon Appetit) I had never heard of grating cold butter as if it were cheese. In fact, as I was preparing these scones, family members kept asking me what kind of cheese I was adding to the dough.

Once you've prepared the scone dough, you have to freeze it before baking--which means the scones can be made well in advance and stored in your freezer until the day you want to bake them. I cut mine into bite-sized portions, though interestingly, they take just as long to bake as the larger sized versions.

The final result is a cakey scone spiced with a nice gingery kick and an occasional burst of cranberry. Top yours with some of that rich homemade cinnamon butter.

Pumpkin Scones With Cinnamon Butter
(adapted from Bon Appetit)


Cinnamon Butter
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
¾ cup (1½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter
½ cup chopped fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
1 large egg
½ cup canned pure pumpkin
¼ cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
2 tablespoons raw sugar

1.  Make Cinnamon Butter.  Mix butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Cinnamon butter can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.

2.  Whisk granulated sugar, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, cloves, baking soda, and 2 cups flour in a large bowl. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate in butter, tossing to coat in dry ingredients as you go; toss in cranberries. Mix in egg, pumpkin, and ¼ cup buttermilk.
3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into a 1½”-thick disk. Cut into 8 wedges for large scones, or 24 bite-sized wedges; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, 25–30 minutes. Can stay frozen up to three months until the day you want to serve them.

4.  Preheat oven to 400°. Brush scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Serve with cinnamon butter.