Okay, guys, I know what you’re thinking: no No NO it’s too soon for pumpkin! And you’d be totally right, because, look what I had to clear off of my stove to even be able to bake these pumpkin spice scones:
Yes, those are summer vegetables. They’re on my stove because the counter off to the left, and the island off to my right, are also stacked high with this week’s harvest of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and onions (plus bartered potatoes, zucchini, and summer squash), and the stove is the last flat place left in my kitchen.
As you might guess, my stove hasn’t been getting much of a workout lately (especially with September’s weird series of heat waves — it’ll be 90°F again today) except to move aside the storage onions and clear the cobwebs off a burner to make some pasta or quinoa.
So why the sudden need to bake something autumny, like pumpkin spice scones?
I really want to answer with something sweet and sensible that all of you could get behind and understand (or at least forgive), like, gosh, I don’t know, I’m just excited for fall and warm, cinnamony spices and pumpkin spice scones sounded so perfect.
But I’ll tell you the truth: I fell hard for all the PSL10 hoopla.
I wasn’t paying attention at all to fall and its warm cinnamony spices. I’m up to my elbows in garden tomatoes, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, and herbs, people. It’s still very much summer at Casa SoupAddict.
But, as a daily visitor to Starbucks (don’t judge – we’ve got some great artisan coffee options here, but none of them are within on-every-street-corner walking distance, and at the office, I don’t have much of a choice anyway), I fell under the spell of their fall promotions that went up in late August.
There’s just something about pumpkin spices that melts my heart and makes me slip dreamily into an autumn state of mind.
And so, that very first sip of the season’s very first PSL brought about visions of coffee-laced pumpkin spice scones that persisted and nagged until I cleared a path to the oven and got to baking.
The scones are beautiful themselves — tender and pumpkiny and cinnamony — but I really love how the cappuccino glaze tops things off, extra smooth and creamy thanks to a smidge of cream cheese.
It’s PSL in a scone.
And, with that out of my system, I can get back to dealing with my summer vegetables. Pumpkiny things will return in October. :^)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (I use 1 cup AP flour and 1 cup pastry flour)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend (recipe below, if needed)
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (plain, not spiced)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus extra for brushing the tops
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon warm-hot water (straight from the tap is fine)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon whipped cream cheese (available in a tub), at room temperature
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar (optional: sift the sugar to produce a smoother glaze)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin spice blend and whisk until mixed.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the heavy cream, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and vanilla until blended. Pour into the flour mixture and fold the flour into the liquids with a wooden spoon until the liquids are incorporated into the flour (this happens fairly quickly - just 6 or 7 folds). Don’t overwork the dough; it will be very scraggly.
- Flour a large cutting board or a clean, smooth surface, and turn out the dough onto it. Knead several times, incorporating the crumbs, until the dough is cohesive.
- Transfer to the lined baking sheet and pat the dough into a disk about 1” thick. There will be cracks and fissures - not to worry. Cut the dough into 6 or 8 wedges, and gently separate them by 1/4”. Place the sheet in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. When the dough is chilled to the touch, brush the tops with extra heavy cream.
- Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, until the edges are golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. The wedges will have fused together during baking - gently separate them, using a knife if they won’t easily pull apart. Transfer the wedges to a wire rack and cool thoroughly.
- In a medium bowl, dissolve the espresso powder in the water. Whisk 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream, the vanilla and salt. Add the cream cheese, whisk vigorously, until smooth. Begin adding the powdered sugar in 1/4 cup increments. After the 3rd addition, test the consistency: dip the whisk into the glaze and raise it above the bowl. The gaze should drip from the whisk in a slow but steady stream. If too loose, add more powdered sugar; if too thick, add the extra heavy cream in 1/4 teaspoon increments.
- Use an offset spatula to generously spread the glaze over each wedge, letting the glaze drip off the sides. The glaze spreads like icing, but will self-level and drip like a glaze.
- Let the glaze set to the touch before serving. Or, dig right in. No one will blame you.
Source: adapted from this recipe
Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend:
This makes more than the recipe above calls for — store in a sealed container and you’re ready for pumpkin pie season!
3 tablespoons Vietnamese (Saigon) ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Whisk the spices together in a small bowl until thoroughly mixed. Store in a air tight container.