Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pumpkin Scones and Extra Grandparents

When I was little, I had three sets of grandparents: my mom's parents, my dad's parents, and Grandpa Arden and Grandma Elsie.  It never struck me as strange that this older couple who had no relation to me were known as my grandparents.  They were sweet and loving, never missed our birthdays, and we never missed theirs.  They had children of their own who never saw them, and that right there is my mother's kryptonite.

"If you make some stuff with pumpkin again soon, can you make some for Gordon?  I think he'd really like that," my mom said to me the other day.  I was confused, not knowing who Gordon was, so she explained.  He is a neighbor of my grandparents that she got to know recently and is apparently just the nicest guy you could ever meet.  You need to bang on his front door like the place is on fire if you want him to answer.  He's jovial.  He carries a good, long conversation (a trait that is useful when talking with my mom).  He also has children who never see him.  With all those traits in his wheelhouse, I think we might be seeing a lot more of Gordon.

That stuff with pumpkin she wanted me to make, those are my pumpkin scones.  They're the perfect baked goodie to share with friends and neighbors, and I agree that they should be just right for an introduction to Gordon.  I have a feeling I might end up seeing him at the Thanksgiving table this week, but I whipped up a batch of scones to bring over anyway.


Pumpkin Scones
Adapted from KingArthurFlour.com
Yield: 12 scones

Ingredients
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • a spot of milk
  • sugar for topping

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.


Cut your cold butter into chunks and toss it in your flour mixture.  This is the fun part: using your fingers, work the butter in until the mixture is a bit crumbly.  Take a decent handful of flour and pinch it with a pad of butter.


Keep at it.  It doesn't have to be perfect, it's good to have some decent sized bits of butter throughout.  At this point, put your chocolate chips in with your flour.  Toss it together by hand, not with a spoon.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together your pumpkin and eggs.  Add your wet ingredients to the dry and stir until the mix just holds together.  DO NOT OVER MIX!  If you work the dough too much, you might end up with wedges of brick.


Line a baking sheet with parchment, a silicone baking mat, or just use a baking sheet without greasing it.  Sprinkle a bit of flour on your baking surface and dump out your dough.


Divide your dough in half, and round each portion into a 6" circle, about 3/4" thick.


Brush each circle with milk and sprinkle with a generous bit of sugar.  It's going to give your scones such a sweet, satisfying crunch once they're baked.



Using a bench knife (or a regular knife), slice each circle into six wedges.


Carefully pull the wedges apart to separate them just a bit.  You want about a 1/2" space between each piece at the outer edge.



For the best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer uncovered for 30 minutes. 

10 minutes before they come out, preheat your oven to 425º.

Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.  The original recipe says that if you pull one of the scones away from the others, the edges should be baked through, not wet or doughy.  


(Just after pulling the scones from the freezer, and just after pulling the scones from the oven.)


You really want to serve these warm.  They are heavenly with a mug of coffee or a cuppa with a spot of milk.  


If you're giving them as a gift, let the recipient know to pop them into the microwave for a few seconds to get them warm and the chocolate melty before indulging.  You can sink your teeth right in, or pull them apart into warm flakey layers.  

I'll be bringing Gordon a tin of scones with some Pepparkakor tomorrow and will let you know how it goes!