Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Spring & scones!

...The thick froth...
Lustrous like freshly fallen snow,
And resplendent like the spring's blossom.
~Du Yü, "Ode to Tea"

This week in Northern Virginia embodies that beautiful picture of tea as we transition from snow on Monday to me seeing tiny spring flowers in some of my neighbors' yards during a walk this evening.

Today I'm sharing a recipe for vanilla bean scones starring a new ingredient I bought to play with while my sister was visiting from college:

Vanilla Bean Paste is a substitute for vanilla bean that is way cheaper.  I bought this nice sized bottle for the same price of 3 vanilla beans in the same store.  You can even see the little black seeds throughout the scones:

I started with a Paula Deen recipe found here.  I made some changes, especially since the recipe called for a real vanilla bean, so  I'll copy it below.

Vanilla Bean Scones

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 tbs vanilla bean paste
  • 5 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream, divided

    Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and next 3 ingredients until combined.
    2. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter and cream cheese until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
    3. Combine beaten egg, heavy whipping cream, and vanilla bean paste.
    4.  Take heaping spoonfuls of the batter.  Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon heavy cream added to residue in the bowl used to combine wet ingredients.  Sprinkle with turbinado sugar if desired.
    5. Bake for 12 minutes or until light brown. Let cool briefly on a wire rack.
    These scones were great by themselves or with jam, but I also think this would be a delicious base scone recipe with fruit added, or maybe even chocolate!

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