Baking together as a family is a frequent occurrence in our kitchen. We all have different roles: I prep ingredients and guide everyone through the instructions, my daughter loves to carefully cut out cookies or gently brush the tops of pastries with egg wash, and my son wants to haphazardly roll dough and throw sprinkles on everything. My husband doesn’t always help with the actual baking, but comes in towards the end, with broom in hand, to sweep up sugar and flour and anything else that has made its way to the floor. It’s a team effort: messy, and sometimes chaotic, but always enjoyable and rewarding.
We make everything: cookies, cakes, bars, rolls, pies, tarts, and, of course, scones. Somewhere along the line my children fell in love with scones, any and all kinds. They have been a favorite of mine for years, and maybe my enthusiasm for these flaky triangles encouraged my little ones to love them, too. My daughter even picked a maple oat version over birthday cake this year; scones and cinnamon rolls trumped chocolate frosting. We all love this pumpkin version, especially in the colder winter months. Blustery Minnesota mornings are more tolerable with them, and the warm spices and maple syrup glaze bring comfort — but chilly afternoons by the fire are also a good time to indulge, along with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
These pumpkin scones also make a great gift, and are easy to put together in last-minute situations. They’ve even become a holiday tradition for us, as we make them and share them with family and friends on Christmas Day. And, most importantly, making and sharing is a great way to focus on the real meaning of the holidays: spending time together, and giving to others.
“If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.” —Lucy Larcom
Pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg all folded up between flaky layers makes the perfect treat for a cool fall morning or a blistery winter afternoon, but if I find you baking them in the middle of July, I won’t even blink an eye. (Makes 8 scones.)
- 2 ¼ cups (320 g) all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup (66 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks; 170 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into ½-inch pieces
- ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 cup (113 g) confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Stack two baking sheets on top of each other and line the top sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the pumpkin puree, heavy cream, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
Add the butter to the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter to cut it into the mixture until the flour-coated pieces are the size of peas. Add the wet ingredients and fold with a spatula until just combined.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead until it comes together, 4 to 6 times, adding flour as necessary if the dough is sticky. Pat the dough gently into a small square and roll it into a 12-inch square (again, using flour as necessary). Fold the dough in thirds similar to a business letter. Fold the dough into thirds again, making a square. Transfer it to a floured sheet pan or plate and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Return the dough to the floured surface. Roll it into a 12-inch square and fold it business letter style. Place the dough seam side down and gently roll into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle. With a sharp knife (or bench scraper), cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally into 2 triangles. Transfer the triangles to the prepared baking sheet.
Brush the tops with a little heavy cream, making sure it doesn’t drip down the sides. Bake 18 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the tops and bottoms are golden brown.
Transfer the sheet pan to a wire rack and let the scones cool slightly. Top with the Maple Frosting.
For the Maple Frosting: In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth.
NOTES: Putting another baking sheet nestled directly underneath the one the scones are on helps keep the bottoms of the scones from browning too quickly before they fully bake. If you like the bottoms extra crisp, you can just use one pan.
Pumpkin Scone recipe reprinted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book with permission of Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016 by Sarah Kieffer.