Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Scones Shine With Pumpkin

It really is pumpkin season. It's also the time of year when we 'fall back' in the U.S. and go back to standard time instead of daylight savings time. I've been doing without a watch for the past few months, so I have had a general sense of time. Now I find that my sense of time is off. I think it is actually harder for Pi, our wonderful black lab. He has gotten used to dinner being at 5 pm. Just because we decided over the weekend that 5 pm should become 4 pm doesn't change the fact that he expects to eat at that time. He really doesn't care what time we call it. So today he was fed dinner at 4:10. Tomorrow it might be 4:15 and so in about 10 days he will be eating at 5 pm again.

Because we are used to eating earlier, I decided yesterday that we should have tea around 4 pm (after I fed the dog) and to go with the tea I made pumpkin scones. I found a recipe at King Arthur Flour, but changed it around so that the scones had both all-purpose and white whole wheat flour, it contained some buttermilk  and brown sugar instead of white, and I also added some bourbon soaked dried cranberries and chopped toasted walnuts. Actually only half the scones were treated to the cranberries and walnuts. The other half of the dough was just plain pumpkin. I actually like both version about equally. The one with the cranberries smells a lot like Christmas fruitcake, so I think I'll make them for Christmas morning this year. The plain ones allow the pumpkin to shine more, which is a wonderful thing if you like pumpkin as much as I do. The next time I make them in either version, I plan to increase the spices a bit. It could use a bit more cinnamon for sure. Still, both Sweetie and I managed to eat one of each kind.

This recipe makes tender but slightly dense scones. If you use the sparkling sugar you get a nice crunch, too. I like the slight tang that the buttermilk imparts, but I think I'll use a full teaspoon of salt next time.

Don't like cranberries or walnuts but want to have add-ins? Try mini chocolate chips, butterscotch chips or similar things.

Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Scones

based on a recipe found at the King Arthur Flour website

1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup bourbon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon half and half
coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping

In a small bowl soak the dried cranberries in the bourbon for at least an hour, overnight is even better. Drain and reserve the bourbon for another use. Set cranberries aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.

Work the butter into the dry ingredients just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly (best done using a pastry cutter or two knives); it's OK fore some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.

In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin, eggs and buttermilk until smooth.

Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredient mixture and stir gently until all is moistened and holds together.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease the sheet. Scrape the dough onto a lightly flour surface. Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the dough into two. Gently knead the cranberries and walnuts into one half.

Take one of the chunks of dough and gently round into a 5-6 inch circle. Gently flatten circle to about 3/4-inch thick. Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the circle into 6-8 wedges. Place those wedges on the prepared baking sheet.

Take the second chunk of dough and repeat. Place those wedges on the baking sheet, too. Place the baking sheet into the freezer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. (I left mine in overnight and baked them the next day and they were fine.)

While scones are in the freezer, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Bake the scones in the preheated oven for 22-25 minutes, or until they're golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs.

Remove the scones from the oven and serve right away while warm. Wrap any leftovers airtight and store at room temperature. Reheat very briefly in the microwave if desired. If you prefer, you may leave the scones in the freezer until ready to bake, baking only as many as you wish to eat. They should be well wrapped in the freezer if you plan to bake them any longer than about 4 hours after putting them in the freezer.


  1. I've added sugar back to our diets, choosing to keep using almond flour but not add too many chemicals with the sugar alcohols and such. I'm pleased to be able to keep making good, dense scones with almond flour. This looks like a really tasty recipe, though what does the bourbon do for them? (I got used to adding alcohol to fruitcake, but I don't really know what bourbon tastes like - does it leave a butterscotch flavor?)

  2. Tanta, this recipe should work with almond flour. It will be denser, but should still taste great. The bourbon is optional. I used it because my dried cranberries were pretty dry, not moist as they should be for this and I had some bourbon on hand. It made the scones (before they were baked) smell like fruitcake, but only gave a faint smoky taste to the finished scones...I'll probably leave it out next time and just use a little boiling water if I need to plump the cranberries.

  3. Because I have slowed down on my dried fruit consumption (*sigh* How I love my sugar, but alas... ) mine are pretty crusty/dry, too. I have some verjuice on hand that I will boil up and use to plump them, I think. Smoky cranberries sound good, though!!

  4. The verjuice sounds like a fun way to plump them...and you can use just a couple tablespoons fruit and still get some of the effect. Just nuts is another option and I loved the ones that had neither cranberries nor nuts.