Very Vanilla Scones

I just came across this entry that I meant to post ages ago!  Well, better late than never…

Our friends Teddy and Lynae got married at the end of October, and we were thrilled to join them for the wedding.  I’d forgotten how enamored I am with the East Coast until we spent the weekend in South Carolina.  The old, red brick buildings against mountains dotted in the gold and amber shades of the changing leavings are just stunning.  Moreover, that part of the country actually experiences autumn, unlike here in Texas.  We were sad to end a beautiful weekend spent reconnecting with college friends and celebrating Teddy and Lynae’s love and new life together.

The wedding was lovely, especially because the bride and groom had incorporated so many delightful personal touches into the celebration: handmade programs, homegrown flowers for the centerpieces, and jams made from fruit they’d picked themselves.  We took home a jar of peach-apple jam, which we devoured over the next couple of weeks.  As we ate the jam with our toast on weekend mornings, we thought of the couple and remembered our few days in South Carolina celebrating with them.

Attached to the jam jars was a family recipe for scones.  I whipped up a version of these scones this week, adding a bit of extra sugar and some vanilla.  After I made a batch using a circle cutter, my husband said the scones looked like biscuits. So, I then made a batch of triangle-shaped scones, which I think are much more easily recognizable as scones to our American eyes.  And did you know that the authentic Scottish pronunciation of “scone” rhymes with “John,” rather than “own”?  Really, Teddy and his family swear this is the correct pronunciation, and the ever-reliable Wikipedia confirms it!

Just look at those tiny black dots–heavenly vanilla!  I ordered a bunch of beans on Amazon recently, and I’m extremely excited about my purchase.  Won’t you join me in making some scohns this weekend?

Vanilla Scones
makes approximately 8 triangular scones or 12 round scones

3 1/2 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 vanilla beans
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) butter
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk

1. Pre-heat your oven to 450°. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Slice open your vanilla beans and scrape the tiny seeds into the flour mixture. Stir.

2. Cut your butter into 1/2-inch thick slices. Quickly work the butter into the flour mixture using your fingers. The butter should be about the size of grains of oatmeal.

3. Whisk together the egg and milk, and the add most of the egg mixture to the large bowl. Save enough of the egg mixture to brush over the tops of the scones before baking. Stir with a fork to combine.

4. Knead the dough for a few seconds on a floured surface. Press the dough out until it is about 3/4 of an inch thick. If you want triangular scones, press dough into a circular shape, the cut the dough with a pizza cutter into 8 triangles. If you prefer circular scones, use a 2- or 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut 8 circles into the dough. You can re-roll the scraps and cut out more circle.

5. Place scones on a cookie sheet that has either been greased or lined with parchment paper. Brush tops with egg mixtures. Cook for 10 minutes or until slightly golden, rotating pan after 5 minutes. Serve with jam and homemade whipped cream. I made an orange-vanilla whipped cream–delicious!

Homemade King Cake Sneak Peek

Homemade King Cake

I made a king cake over the weekend in order to practice for our little Mardi Gras gathering we’ll be hosting on Fat Tuesday this year.  Shipping a king cake or two in from Louisiana gets pretty pricey, and I don’t trust the baked goods passed off as “king cakes” here in Texas.  So, I decided to try making my own this year.

Homemade king cake

I was thrilled with the results!  I won’t share how much of the king cake we consumed over the weekend, but the sad number of slices remaining with which I sent my husband to work this morning is testament to this confection’s fabulousness.  The recipe itself needs a tad bit of tweaking before sharing: I’ve got to fine-tune the baking time and temperature, determine the exact ratio for the frosting ingredients, and perfect the fine art of putting the sprinkles on once the frosting is set enough but hasn’t hardened too much.  I’ll be sharing the recipe with you very soon!

In the meantime, I hope you all, wherever you are, get to have a tiny taste of Mardi Gras this Carnival Season!