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Brown Sugar-Vanilla Bean Scones

Posted Dec 17 2009 6:01pm

I love having dinner with other food bloggers because you end up relating over things that may seem silly to non-bloggers.  One thing that often comes up is the fact that sometimes we just want to dig into our food and not stop to take a picture first.  Usually I show restraint and manage to ward off hunger just long enough to get a slew of pictures.  Other times cravings the the best of me and I choose instant gratification over moment preservation.  In those instances I often do not blog about the recipe because the post seems just a bit too naked without a photo.

Last night I didn’t take pictures of my latest kitchen creation, Brown Sugar-Vanilla Bean Scones, but for entirely different reasons.  I had an unfortunate and emotional bombshell dropped on me.  Suddenly photographing my latest dish seemed entirely unimportant and a little frivolous.  Lacking a photograph to post I put aside thoughts of writing about this recipe.  But the more I thought about it, the more I acknowledged that these are really good scones and it seemed silly not to post about them just  because I was feeling emotional and didn’t have a visual.  These scones are as vanilla as you get (and I mean that in a good way) with a pleasant caramel flavor from the brown sugar and a tartness from the orange peel.  They would be a great addition to a brunch or tea.

Brown Sugar-Vanilla Bean Scones
Adapted from Cookie Baker Lynn
Yields 20 mini scones

-4 cups all purpose flour
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1 teaspoon orange zest
-1 vanilla bean
-1 tablespoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-10 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
-2 eggs
-1 cup heavy whipping cream
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1 cup powdered sugar
-Heavy whipping cream, enough to reach desired thickness (approximately 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Cut the vanilla bean into 2 pieces, approximately 2/3 and 1/3.

In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, zest, baking powder and salt. Scrape the seeds from the larger vanilla bean piece into the processor, reserving the empty bean for making vanilla sugar. Pulse until it’s all combined.

Add the butter to the food processor and pulse until the butter is in pea-sized and smaller pieces.

In a large bowl combine the cream, vanilla, and eggs. Beat to combine thoroughly. Dump the flour mixture into the bowl and stir, just until the flour is incorporated. Stirring too much will result in tough scones.

Divide dough in half. Pat each half into a 6-inch circle. Cut each circle into 10 equal pieces (triangles). Place the pieces on two ungreased baking sheets. (Alternatively, you could use a mini scone pan like this one, which I own, but you will need to bake in two batches.)

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, rotating the racks midway through baking. The scones should be light brown on top.

Let the scones cool on the sheets for 30 minutes, then drizzle with glaze.

To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, whipping cream, and the seeds scraped out of the smaller piece of vanilla bean. You can adjust the consistency of the glaze to your liking. A watery glaze will give just a shimmer of sugar to the outside. If you like a more substantial glaze make it as thick as white glue.

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