It’s Pumpkin Time!

Pumpkin-flavored anything has taken over the country!  I don’t know who started it (or why) maybe it was the competition between Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks with their Pumpkin spiced lattes, but the “pumpkin” craze is crazy!!  Forget about cookies, pie and cheesecake, now it’s all about pumpkin flavored cereals … and truffles … and ice cream …. not to mention yogurt, potato chips and now pumpkin-spiced “Peeps”.  Yikes!  We’ve gone pumpkin mad!

I’d love to bring our love for pumpkin back down to earth, so I’m sharing my recipe for Pumpkin Scones with Pumpkin Butter.  Moist, delicious and full of that pumpkiny flavor we all apparently love.  But, please note, these are not the dry flavorless scones you find in coffee shops.  These are British-inspired scones, moist and biscuit like.   Hot out of the oven, break them open and slather on a good amount of this not overly sweet pumpkin butter.  Enjoy!

PUMPKIN SCONES
Makes about 9 to 12 scones (depending upon size)  Bake at 425° for 20 to 25 minutes

1 14oz. can solid pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup cold buttermilk
1 stick cold butter, (cut into 1/2″ cubes)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
melted butter for brushing
brown sugar for sprinkling

Assemble all your ingredients and baking tools – but do not preheat the oven at this time.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Do not preheat the oven as yet. If you are using fresh pumpkin, you’ll need about 2 cups.  Canned pumpkin can have a lot of moisture, so be sure to drain the pumpkin before using.

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I use a food processor.  It’s just the easiest and quickest way to cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  While the pumpkin is draining, add the all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, soda, spices, salt and brown sugar) into the food processor and pulse to blend well.

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Cut the COLD butter into 1/2″ cubes and add to the flour mixture.  Pulse quickly just to combine. Do not overmix the dry ingredients.  Bits of butter should still be visible in the flour.

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In a large separate bowl mix together the drained pumpkin and the buttermilk.

pumpkin-scones-4Put all the dry from the food processor into a large bowl, adding the nuts, and then, with a fork, stir in the pumpkin mixture.  Work quickly mixing all the ingredients together until just blended.  Do not overwork the dough or our scones will be heavy and tough.

pumpkin-scones-5Dump the batter onto a lightly floured board.  Knead lightly until smooth and form into a round or square shape.

pumpkin-scones-6Then roll to a thickness about 3/4″ high and approximately 8″ in diameter.  The shape will depend upon how you want to cut them.  The batter should still be soft and sticky.  By dipping the biscuit cutter or knife into flour after every cut, you avoid squishing the dough together.  Try to make clean cuts, not twisting or turning the dough.  Whether you cut the scones into rounds or triangles or squares is all up to you!  If you have any scraps after cutting, reform the dough and continue making more.

pumpkin-scones-7Transfer the cut pieces onto a parchment lined baking sheet by again dipping a spatula into flour and lifting from underneath.  Try not to compress the dough or add too much pressure.  Arrange the scones on the baking sheet about 1/2″ apart.  They will rise while baking.  Brush the tops of the scones lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with brown sugar.  Then place the baking sheet into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or more).  Only then should you preheat the oven to 425°.

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Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes (rotating the tray about halfway through the bake time), or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  The scones should be puffed up, lightly browned on top and on the bottom.  Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or cool.  It’s entirely up to you!

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For breakfast or tea, if you and your family love pumpkin, I hope you LOVE these moist, rich and delicious (not overly sweet) scones.
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