Pumpkin Scones — Bake-Ahead Batches
I think a perfect scone straddles the line between biscuit and cake. It should be neither overly sweet nor too dense. And I like it to have a bit of crumble. To me, the perfect scone is the kind of snack that would be better with a cup of tea, but not impossible to eat without it.
There are a couple of tricks to a good scone. First of all, the butter and cream should be cold, cold, cold. If at any point the butter starts to melt into the flour mixture, pop the whole bowl into the freezer for a few minutes. I like to freeze my scones before I bake them as well. The goal is to have small pieces of butter remain intact in the scones before they are baked. When those pieces melt in the oven, they create a bit of steam. That steam makes little air pockets that make the scones light and flaky.
Secondly, handling the dough too much makes the scones tough. This is especially tricky when adding extra wet ingredients like pumpkin to the batter. Use a fork to mix the wet ingredients into the dry, and stop before everything is completely uniform. It’s OK if the dough doesn’t hold together perfectly. Scones don’t need to win beauty contests. They just need to be tasty and tender.
These scones are a little fancier than the average. The cream cheese frosting gives them a decidedly cakelike flair. Feel free to skip the frosting if you’re not in the mood. I think they’re just as nice with a bit of sanding sugar sprinkled on top.
Samantha Seneviratne is a New York-based writer, recipe developer and food stylist. She is the author of The New Sugar and Spice (Ten Speed Press), a baking cookbook combining family stories and food history with recipes that reimagine dessert as a more balanced mix of sugar and spice. Her second book, Gluten Free for Good (Clarkson Potter), comes out in August 2016. She blogs about dessert at Love, Cake.