4.21.2009

Vanilla Bean Scones

Vanilla Bean SconesVanilla Bean Scones
Adapted from MarthaStewart.com
Makes 8

Scones:
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing tops
1 vanilla bean
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling tops
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
milk, as needed

Scones:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in center. Place a baking mat on a baking sheet, and set aside.
2. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the heavy cream. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and with the tip of a small knife scrape the tiny seeds into the cream. Add the empty pod to the cream, and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until the largest pieces are the size of peas.
4. In a small bowl, pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding the solids. Add eggs and vanilla. With a fork, whisk together lightly. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, and pour in cream mixture. Stir lightly with fork just until dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times to mix well.
5. Pat dough into a 6-inch square about 1 1/4 inches thick. Using a floured knife, cut into four 3-inch squares. Cut squares in half on the diagonal to form eight triangles. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool.

Glaze:
1. In a medium bowl, mix powdered sugar with milk, one teaspoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency. Using a pastry brush or a spoon, apply thin layer of glaze over hot scones. Serve immediately.





Vanilla Bean SconesHi. My name is The Busty Baker and I'm finally ready to admit something to myself and the world; I. Am. A scone addict. There. I said it. I'm glad I finally got that off my chest. It all started with the Blueberry Scones in the cafe at work. Even though I'd eat breakfast before I left for work, within 2 hours I was starving again. I'd have to take a short break and have a mid-morning snack, or Second Breakfast, if you will. (Hey. A fat kid's gotta eat!) I'd usually get a Rice Krispie Treat or a Pop-Tart out of the vending machine, but eventually I started running out of change, or forgetting to bring some with me. Luckily we have a cafe in our store that serves tasty treats! One morning I decided to try out the blueberry scone, and instantly became hooked. They were absolutely delicious! This soon became a ritual every morning. Most of the fellow booksellers needed their morning coffee to survive the day. I needed my blueberry scone--that is, until I worked in the cafe one day, and made the mistake of looking at the nutritional facts for the things we were serving. Each morning, I was ingesting more calories in a single scone than I was in my entire lunch! Combined with the fact that I was spending the same amount on scones each month as I was my electric bill, I knew I had to give up my addiction, or change my habit drastically. It was time to bake my own scones.

I tried replicating my beloved blueberry scones, with not-so-stellar results. It didn't really occur to me that there was a difference between the dried blueberries the cafe was using in their scones, and fresh. There is. A big difference. I realized quickly, I despise the taste of fresh blueberries. So I tried my hand at cinnamon scones. These were delicious, and satisfied my addiction. I kept a bag of these in my freezer and would pull one out whenever I had to work early in the morning. Pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds to warm them a bit, and they were perfect! Well, I ran out last week.. I knew I had to make some new scones, or I would revert back to my old, terrible ways. Talking with one of my coworkers, she admitted that she shares my scone addiction; only her scone of choice is Starbucks' Vanilla Bean Scones. I haven't tried these yet, but they sound absolutely delicious! I decided these were going to be my next batch of scones to bake. I started searching for recipes and found one that sounded pretty good. Now to actually buy vanilla beans.

Have you seen the price of vanilla beans in the grocery store?? A certain chain grocery store was selling ONE vanilla bean for $11.68. I don't think so!! I ended up driving around to 4 different stores before I found a package of 2 vanilla beans for $2.99 at World Market. I know where I'll be going from now on. And I'm so glad I found them cheaper, and got 2 in the package, because my first recipe that sounded so good, turned out to be a horrible disaster. I'm not sure if it was the recipe or error on my part, but the dough was so sticky, it was impossible to work with. There was no shaping and cutting it. I couldn't even get it out of the bowl. I tried adding a bit more flour to it, and that just made it gummy. That batch, and one whole vanilla bean, went straight into the trash before it even made it to the oven.

I decided to just stick with the recipe I knew worked--the same one I used for the Blueberry Scones and the Cinnamon Scones as well. Martha didn't fail me those times, so I prayed she wouldn't fail me this time either. I adjusted the original recipe a bit to include vanilla extract and the vanilla bean, and cut the scones even further to make 16 small scones instead of 8 regular sized. Vanilla Bean Scones(That way if I am still killing myself slowly with scones, it'll take twice as long! Plus they're more appropriately sized this way for my Second Breakfast, since another coworker called them Hobbit-sized scones. Get it? Hobbit Scones? "I don't think he knows about second breakfast, Pip"/"What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn't he?" Come on. I can't be the only nerd here.) Once they were completely cooled out of the oven, I topped them with a simple milk and sugar glaze. I don't know how they compare to their Starbucks companions--I'll have to stop and get one of the originals some day to find out--but these are pretty tasty. It's not an overpowering vanilla flavor, but rather subtle. They're also not overly sweet, which is my only complaint. I have an insatiable sweet tooth, so nothing ever seems sweet enough for me. I'll probably bump up the sugar in the scone next time. But for those scone purists who would rather not go into sugar shock from these snacks, these may be just right. They also freeze very well. Once you let the glaze set, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store in a zip-top bag in the freezer. They'll keep for several months. Let them thaw to room temperature before serving, or pop them in the microwave for about 10 seconds to warm them up.
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6 comments:

Heavenly Housewife said...

How delicious! I must admit that I am also a fan the second breakfast :)

Ingrid said...

I like scones but have never made my own. Yours look very good. I especially like that you glazed 'em.

I have to admit that I would have been livid about throwing out a whole batch vanilla bean (YIKES) batter.
~ingrid

Danae said...

Ingrid- Oh I was. It took me a couple hours before I went back for the 2nd round. I HATE when things go wrong in the kitchen! Especially when it means wasting good ingredients.

Sara said...

I call my second breakfast my mid-morning snack. Not to be confused with my last morning, pre-lunch snack.

Your scones look great-it's hard to go wrong with Martha. I don't think I've had any of her recipes not turn out well.

ButterYum said...

Oh my, don't these look yummy!

bigchief said...

Scones!

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