Saturday, August 17, 2013

Vanilla Bean Scones

Did anyone watch Ball Canning's Can-It-Forward webcast, today? I sure did, and enjoyed it. If you missed the webcast, the recorded demonstrations and recipes will be uploaded onto their website sometime this week.

I taught myself how to make my own homemade jam a few years ago, and I was relieved to learn that canning isn't hard to do.  The days of using wax seals are in our grandparent's past.  Today, the jar lids are self-sealing.  The bonus of making my own jam (besides it being fun) is I know what's in the jar (like no high fructose corn syrup).  I also find homemade jam to be cost-effective and they make great gifts! Who doesn't love receiving a jar of homemade jam?  My advice to anyone who has always wanted to learn how to can is to go to the Ball Canning Website.  There is so much information for all levels of "canners"-- from beginners to the experienced.

Ball Canning Sponsored a Giveaway that I announced on my blog post on how to make Strawberry-Vanilla Jam and Strawberry-Raspberry Vanilla jam.  I'll announce the chosen winner at the end of the post.

The morning after I made these jams in my new Ball Jam & Jelly Maker -- in less than 30 minutes, no less-- I discovered that there was no bread for toast making, in the house!  What to do?

Aha!  Make scones!  Scones are fast and easy to make.  While I'm not the biggest fan of biscuits (except for the Bacon & Cheddar Cheese Scones that I created, with a fabulous chipotle butter), I like scones because they are sweet-- but not cloyingly sweet.

The first scone recipe I ever made was this Strawberry Scone Recipe (and my photography skills were still in their infancy). With Pumpkin Season, just around the corner, I'll be making my Harvest Pumpkin Scones, too. 
I developed a healthier Blueberry Oatmeal Maple Scones version (using whole wheat, and oats) and  King Arthur Flour's Unbleached Self-Rising Flour.  I've never used self-rising flour, before, because I'm committed to only using unbleached flour.  My local grocery stores carry many of King Arthur Flour's products, but so far, I have to order the self-rising on their website.  
NOTE: Self rising flour can be made by substituting 1 cup of all purpose flour minus 2 tsp, with the addition of 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt to make the full cup

I decided to make a Vanilla Bean Scone, to complement the Strawberry-Raspberry jam. Once again, I used one tablespoon of vanilla bean paste.  (You can substitute vanilla extract, of course.  Vanilla bean paste is more economical that using vanilla beans.)  The texture is similar to honey, but you can see vanilla seed in it.  I whisked the vanilla bean paste into whole milk to let the flavor infuse a bit.

The key to making tender scones, is to keep all of the ingredients nice and cold (just like making a pie crust).  TIP: I grate frozen butter, instead of using a pastry cutter. I find this easier to do, and my fingers don't have to work so hard to incorporate the butter-- and I don't warm up the butter as much.
Instead of using a rolling pin, I simply dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat the dough into a circle.  Then I cut the circle into eight wedges.

You can shape the dough into a rectangle, and cut them into smaller wedges, like I did with these Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Scones.   Some folks like to use a round cutter, to shape the scones differently.  Your choice.

TIP: If time permits, place the scones on a parchment covered baking sheet and freeze for about 15 minutes.  This helps the scones to become ultra-tender.

I thought about making a vanilla bean sugar glaze, but decided that the jam would be sweet enough. I like to brush each unbaked scone with a little heavy cream...

...then sprinkle the scones with some  Course Sparkling Sugar (for a texture and crunch).

I baked four of the scones for about 17 minutes, until light golden brown.  The remaining four scones were individually wrapped with plastic wrap and placed into my freezer.  The advantage of this is that we are not tempted to eat all eight of them-- and baked frozen scones turned out perfectly!

Warm scones, homemade jam and a fresh cup of coffee-- what a great way to start the morning!

TASTING NOTES:  The scones were really tender and crumbly. I love the crunch of the coarse sugar.  The beauty of scone baking is that you can add anything you want-- raisins, currants, chopped dried fruit, nuts, no nuts, chocolate chips-- the sky is the limit!  I love scones with clotted cream and homemade jam. (One of these days, I'm going to learn how to make my own Devonshire Cream.) Yum!  I'm having fun using self-rising flour, so I don't have to worry about measuring baking powder or salt.  You can easily adapt this to use regular flour, if you want.

The moment all of you have been waiting for.... first, let me say that I've lost count of how many giveaways I've entered-- hoping to win, but no such luck. I wish I could pick more than one person per giveaway. Thanks for entering!

Congratulatons, Rhonda Freitag!!  Email me at with your shipping address. Key Ingredient will ship your new toy right to you!

Congratulation #64 - Danielle/"I'm Stuffed".  Ball Canning will send you their Discovery Kit, their Ball Bluebook Guide (my favorite).  Email me at for your shipping address.

I have more giveaways to come, as I have my personal celebration that I am on the road to recovery with my new knee.

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.

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AdriBarr said...

I love scones! I'm with you about that crunch of sugar on top. I love it. I'll have to try your recipe - they look beautiful.

Carole said...

I make cranberry scones with an orange glaze. I love scones.

Velva said...

I have discovered canning these last couple of years and I have been really enjoying it.

Now scones are some of my favorite but I have not tackled making scones on my own. Yours are delightful with jam and a good cup of coffee.


Danielle Imstuffed said...

I can't believe I won!! Thank you Debby!!!! And your scones...beautiful! Love the flavor combos. I haven't made scones in ages.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

What gorgeous scones. My husband would go ga-ga.

Joanne said...

I love that these cones are just simple vanilla just can't ever go wrong there!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Congrats to your lucky winners, Debby. Oh goodness, your scones look delicious and so tender. I recently discovered Singing Dog Vanilla's Vanilla Bean Paste and love it in recipes like this. I can almost taste your wonderful strawberry-rhubarb jam on one of the scones.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Thanks for the tips on scone making...they must lead to extra tender scones.

Karen said...

It's been too long since I made scones... Winter will be here soon and I'll have the oven going nearly every day :)

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I made scones only once this summer and they weren't vanilla bean scones. You are tempting me now to tackle this recipe next. Homemade jam - that's already done. Your strawberry jam looks perfect.

Cathleen said...

Ooh, this looks fantastic! I have just discovered how great vanilla bean is recently.