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.
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'.)
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.
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.)
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.
* *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’!
Serve while warm.
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!