In October in the Midwest it seems that everything is just slightly better with pumpkin. So it stands to reason that my chocolate chip scones would benefit from the sweet creamy goodness of pumpkin puree. These are a perfect addition to the 4 PM Panic series because you can make them in no time and have piping hot, wonderfully fluffy and light scones, toasted golden on the outside, steamy and white inside, just coming out of the oven when your gang walks in the door.
Tips for Scone Success:
Unlike other fancy baked goods that wear layers of frosting or melted chocolate, a scone’s beauty is in its simplicity, so the ingredients flour, butter and milk are key.
Whether you use salted or unsalted butter is a matter of taste. The important thing is that it is cold. Chilled butter is really important. Cold butter is essential to creating steam pockets in the dough. Since butter is about 18 percent water, steam is released in those pockets during baking, which helps create flaky layers. Start with a loose dough and visible butter pieces. You should be able to see chunks of butter in the dough.
Making scones is similar to making pastry; you have to keep the fat cold. You can’t let it get warm because it melts and mixes into the flour and then the flour becomes too wet. You should mix the butter by hand or with a pastry cutter or fork into the flour so it resembles a fine crumb.
Another key to light, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth scones is to handle the dough as little as possible and be very gentle with it. Once you add the wet ingredients to the dry mix, handle it only enough to form a messy dough.
Some chefs will argue that self-rising flour is best for scones because the rising agent is evenly mixed throughout giving the end result a better consistency, but I think, if you mix it well, all-purpose flour with baking powder will do the trick. Sifting the dry ingredients together once or twice before adding them in will give you a lighter result.
Here’s my little confession: even with all that butter inside the scones I still like to serve them with butter.
Some people splurge on cake…I like bread and butter in all forms. Not just any butter, though! Have you had the Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter with Sea Salt Crystals that Heinen’s carries? It comes in a sweet little basket with a blue and white checked wrapper. I bought it years ago to put on my table for Easter dinner. It melted into our hot dinner rolls and every one at the table went back for more until the butter plate sat sadly empty. I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. Yes, I’m that weirdo in Heinen’s telling strangers they have to try this butter. It’s good on everything, especially my scones.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones
For the egg wash:
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon milk or water
For the cinnamon sugar topping:
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the scones:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter (VERY cold and cut into tiny pieces)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 3-6 tablespoons milk (I used Buttermilk, but any variety will work)
- Powdered sugar for serving, optional
For the egg wash: In a small bowl beat together the egg and water; set aside until needed.
For the cinnamon sugar topping: In a small bowl combine the cinnamon and granulated sugar; set aside until needed.
For the scones:
- Preheat oven to 400°(F). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the flour, chocolate chips, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well; set aside.
- Cut the butter into small cubes (or use a cheese grater to shred it) then quickly work it into the flour mixture (using a pastry cutter or two forks) until it resembles a coarse meal.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the egg, pumpkin puree, and milk; pour into the flour and butter mixture and, using a fork, gently stir everything together until just moistened.
- The reason I say 3-6 Tbs of milk is because, depending on the humidity, the dough may need more liquid to moisten. Start with 3 and add as needed.
- Do not over mix. The less you handle it, the flakier they will be. Too much handling of the dough will make the finished scones tough. Pour the shaggy dough out onto a clean, well-floured work surface. The dough will be a bit sticky.
- Cut the dough into 8 wedges and carefully transfer them to the prepared sheet.
- *I skip the floured surface and make the circle of dough right on my parchment paper then cut and move pieces apart. Less mess!
- Lightly brush each scones with the egg wash, then sprinkle each one generously with cinnamon sugar.
- Bake scones for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown.
- Cool scones slightly for 10 minutes on the tray, then serve warm!
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar, optional.