Sunday, September 11, 2016

Vanilla Bean Scones

It seems that the market for vanilla has really expanded. I guess when it comes to food, the new and/or improved status is guaranteed to rage on. Outside of the brown hued vanilla extract that has been on the market for years, we have: clear vanilla extract, ground vanilla bean seeds and vanilla bean paste. I am sure that at this moment someone is working on vanilla bean flour.

Anyhow, this particular recipe can be found all over the web in some variation. I figured there must be something delicious about these scones, so I decided to give them a try. I was not disappointed. They have a wonderful cake-like texture that is kept moist by the sweet vanilla coating. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

I actually ate these in the late afternoon just to taste. The next morning, I decided to have some store bought cake donuts for breakfast. After having the scones, I really thought the donuts were awful. They had some kind of a grease after-taste. Funny how these scones had such an impact on my taste buds, I had always liked the donuts before.

So be aware that these scones may make your palate pickier than it was before. Eating them is purely an act of sharpening your skills in detecting what good really tastes like! This recipe makes 24 mini or 12 regular size scones.

Vanilla Bean Scones
adapted from various website recipes

1 egg
1-2 vanilla bean scrapings of seeds
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup or 1 stick cold butter (cubed)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs baking powder
2 cups flour

1 vanilla bean scraping of seeds
1/4 cup plus 2 tbs half and half
3 cups sifted powdered sugar

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Start by sifting together the salt, flour and baking powder into a medium size bowl. Then whisk in the sugar. Empty the contents into a food processor and add cubed butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. The other method is using a pastry blender by hand. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg with a fork by hand. Then add the half and half and vanilla bean seeds, stirring together so the beans are distributed throughout the liquid. Pour into the food processor and pulse until mixture becomes like cookie dough. An alternative method is to mix together by using a wooden spoon.

Prepare a flat surface by dusting lightly with flour. Empty the dough onto the surface. With floured hands, knead the dough about 4 or 5 times. Then roll out into a rectangle 3/8-1/2 an inch thick. Once rolled out, you can cut into triangles, circles or squares. I used a square biscuit cutter.

Place the pieces on a baking sheet, spacing about 3/4 an inch apart. Bake for about 6-7 minutes if making mini size and 8-9 minutes for regular size scones. Scones should be golden brown on bottom and edges when done. Remove baking sheet from oven and let cool for a few minutes.

Take wax paper and place on flat surface and place cooling rack of the top of the paper. Then transfer scones to the cooling rack. Do not glaze until completely cool.

For the glaze, whisk together the half and half and vanilla bean seeds. Then pour into the powdered sugar and stir. Once smooth, dip each of the cooled scones into the glaze and place back on rack to set/harden.

Tips and Notes:
1. Feel free to use vanilla bean paste. Also the amount of vanilla is your preference. I have seen a recipe that incorporates vanilla bean seeds with vanilla extract.

2. Do not be afraid to experiment with other spices such as pumpkin, cinnamon or cardamon.
                               **LAST YEAR: Frosted Pineapple Cookies**