Monday, December 16, 2013
Gingerbread Scones with Tart Lemon Glaze
Oops, I did it again.
You are shaking your head, aren’t you? You know I had to, given the ingredients for these scones. Here I am with another holiday-spice-and-citrus combination, and it’s a winner. In case you missed my last post, go read all about my Orange Pumpkin Holiday Cake.
Scones are the perfect example for why you should never judge a book by its cover. You should never judge a scone by its appearance. I am a big enough girl to admit it took me 28-and-a-half years (yes, just 3 months ago) to try a scone. You are shaking your head again, aren’t you?
I couldn’t get over the fact they look like big ol’ dense bricks of dough. I had a dear friend tell me she prefers scones to doughnuts. I love me some doughnuts, but I trusted her judgment. She’s got experience in the Pillsbury and Betty Crocker test kitchens, so yeah, she knows what she’s talking about.
So I jumped on the Scones Train and now I’m pretty much obsessed with them.
These Gingerbread Scones with Tart Lemon Glaze are incredible. Full of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and molasses, they taste like Christmas. They are incredibly moist inside, but they have a good crust—you know like the kind banana bread fresh from the oven has. For this recipe, I used full flavor molasses, but you can certainly substitute your molasses preference. I decided to use dark brown sugar to bring more depth in the flavor of the scones. If you don’t have dark brown sugar on hand, light brown sugar will be just fine.
The original recipe stated to use a food processor to blend all the ingredients. Although purchasing a food processor was one of the best buys for me ever, I decided to mix everything up the old-fashioned way. I used a pastry blender to work in the butter, and after adding the milk and molasses, I used a spoonula (spatula + spoon) to finish blending the ingredients. This process worked well for me. My arm was slightly tired, but I knew that burning those extra calories are a good thing when it comes to making scones.
After the ingredients were well incorporated, I shaped the dough into a disk about 8 inches wide and about an inch thick. I dusted both sides with a little flour, and I cut the dough into 8 wedges. I transferred the wedges to a parchment-baking sheet about 1.5 inches apart. Here’s where the best scone-making secret I’ve ever learned, thanks to King Arthur Flour, comes in handy: place the pan, uncovered, in the freezer for 30 minutes. Why? So that you have more tender scones that rise higher, the freezer relaxes the gluten. Who doesn’t love thick, crumbly and flaky scones?
As for the glaze, it’s perfectly tart. My husband, who is not a lemon fan (but he wants you to know he does like lemonade), thought the glaze on the scones was a great addition. His take is that these scones are on the sweeter side, so the tart lemon glaze balances their sweetness. I like the lemon glaze because it’s fresh tasting, almost like bottled-up sunshine.
I just adore these scones, and I hope you do, too. Just a note from experience: you will like that I am sharing the hand-mixing method. That way when you’re reaching for your second scone and humming “Oops, I did it again…” you won’t feel so bad.
Gingerbread Scones with Tart Lemon Glaze
For the scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2-1/2 tsps. ground ginger
1-3/4 tsps. baking powder
1-1/2 tsps. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cold buttermilk (or 2 tsp. vinegar topped with 1/2 cup milk + 2 Tbsp. milk)
2 Tbsp. molasses
For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. milk (or enough to make desired consistency)
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Add butter, and blend in using a pastry blender until the pieces of butter are slightly larger than pea-sized. Whisk the buttermilk and molasses together in a small measuring cup, then add to the mixing bowl.
Shape the dough into a disk that is 8 inches in diameter and is 1 inch thick. Lightly cover the dough with flour. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough like a pizza into 8 wedges. Transfers the wedges to a parchment-lined baking sheet leaving 1.5 inches of space between them. Place the baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.
Bake scones for 15-16 minutes, until they are nicely browned and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool.
To make the glaze, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and milk in a small bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until well combined. Drizzle glaze evenly over warm or cooled scones. Keep cooled scones in an air-tight container up to 3 days.
Makes 8 scones.
Scone recipe adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures