Pumpkin Scones

Scone Dough:

2 cups (280 grams) all purpose flour

1/3 cup (72 grams) light or dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/3 cup (50 grams) chopped white chocolate (optional)

1/4 cup (30 grams) toasted and chopped pecans (optional)

1/3 cup (80 ml) buttermilk

1/2 cup fresh or canned pure pumpkin (if using canned pumpkin make sure there are no spices or sugar added)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Egg Wash:

1 large egg

1 tablespoon milk or cream

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling the tops of the scones (optional)

Turbinado sugar is a raw sugar that has been steam cleaned. It is light brown in color and coarse grained, with a slight molasses flavor.

Buttermilk has a nice thick creamy texture with a rich tangy buttery taste that makes baked goods tender. It is now commercially made by adding a bacteria to whole, skim, or low fat milk. However, in the past it was the liquid left over after churning butter. You can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the chopped white chocolate and pecans, if using. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vanilla and then add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not overmix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 11/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 3 pie-shaped wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle a little Turbinado sugar on top, if desired.

Place the baking sheet inside another baking sheet to prevent the bottoms of the scones from over browning. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 6 scones.

here are so many ways to use pumpkin, both sweet and savory. While pumpkin pie is the most popular dessert containing pumpkin puree, its mild and sweet, almost earthy, flavor make it ideal in quick breads, including scones. In this recipe, pumpkin replaces some of the liquid and you end up with a dough that is slightly firmer and less sticky than a regular scone dough. I have used canned pumpkin puree (not the pumpkin pie filling that already has spices and sometimes sugar added) because of its consistency of flavor and texture. Ground ginger and cinnamon, along with brown sugar, are used to enhance the pumpkin flavor. If you like, add the white chocolate and toasted pecans for more taste and texture.

Using buttermilk, instead of cream, and omitting the egg makes a lighter, more bread-like scone. They are baked at a higher than normal oven temperature to give them a dark, crisp crust. Use two baking sheets (place one pan inside another) when baking these scones so the bottoms do not brown too much.

Note: Have you ever wondered why sometimes your scone dough is too sticky or maybe too dry? The cause of this is your flour. Flour absorbs different amounts of liquid depending on the weather (how humid) or its freshness. So if you find your dough a little too sticky or dry, try adding a little more flour or liquid.

If you are unfamiliar with scone making it might be a good idea to first read the section on history and making of scones. For more information on the history and making of Scones.

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