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Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

With Thanksgiving just a week away, I imagine you’re knee-deep in recipe ideas.  Well here’s one more.  No, it’s not a dish or dessert for the big meal, but rather something quick and delectable to pull together when your overnight guests wake in the morning.  Something that will make them feel warm and cozy and loved.  These pumpkin scones are fantastic, and you’d do well to remember that I’m very fussy about my scones. Too hard– forget it. Too dry– kick them to the curb. But those ones that are just right– firm on the outside and flakey on the inside– well, I could devour a whole pan. These fit into that just right, or rather “perfect” category.

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

So, through the years of playing around with different scone recipes, I’ve learned that one thing is the key.  And I’ve shared this before, but it’s so important that I’ll emphasize it again.  Use grated frozen butter.  Always use grated frozen butter.  In fact– use grated frozen butter for most baked goods– pie crusts and biscuits included.  Keeping the dough completely cold is the key to it’s flakiness.   It’s so simple to grab a stick of butter from the freezer on a whim and whip these up. Aside from the convenience, grated butter means that you don’t have to work as hard to incorporate it into the flour.  It’s already in tiny pea-sized pieces.  I’ve found that using my hands works best. Toss it around a bit and then mix in the wet ingredients with a fork or spatula. The less you work with scone dough, the better they’ll turn out.

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

Keep in mind that all of the flour does not need to be fully incorporated– it’s ok if your dough has a bit of flour on the top– in fact it’ll be easier this way. This dough is more wet than my usual scone recipe because of the pumpkin.  So be sure to sprinkle a bit of flour on your hands before you pat it out into a circle and cut it into wedges. Because it’s a wetter dough, freezing them on the pan for 15 minutes before they bake is also important to help them keep their shape.  These scones have all the autumnal spices you’d expect and taste amazing with a hot cup of coffee.  I love the addition of maple and nutmeg into the icing.  It adds character.  I hope these scones find their way onto your kitchen table one of these cold, snowy mornings.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing | Relishing It

The Recipe: Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Icing

(makes 6-8)

For the Scones:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (11 1/4 ounces)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup plain canned pumpkin (Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin is my favorite brand)

1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt

3 eggs, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter, coarsely grated

turbinado or demerara sugar for sprinkling

For the Icing:

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

about 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

pinch of salt (this is important– it will enhance the flavor of the icing, so don’t be stingy)

roasted salted hazelnuts, for topping (almonds, pistachios, or walnuts would work, too)

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon.

In a medium-sized bowl mix together the brown sugar, pumpkin, yogurt, 2 eggs, and vanilla.

In a small bowl, use a fork to mix 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water, the the egg wash.

Coarsely grate the butter using the largest holes on a box grater.  Work quickly, so the ingredients stay cold.  Mix the butter into the flour mixture using your fingertips.  You want the butter to be coated with the flour.  Work quickly.  Then, using a fork or spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the butter/flour mixture. Do not over-mix.  It’s ok to see specks of flour that haven’t been fully incorporated.  Sprinkle countertop with flour, as well as your hands. The dough will be sticky. Place dough on the counter and pat into a 6-inch round circle. Use a bench knife or a chef’s knife to cut into 6-8 wedges.  Place the wedges on the lined baking sheet and put into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove from freezer and apply egg wash with a pastry brush.  Then sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until they feel set in the middle and they have developed a beautiful deep golden color. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

To make the Icing: Whisk all of the ingredients together until creamy.  Add more cream, if need be.  Dollop the icing onto the scones and smooth out.  Top with salted roasted hazelnuts, or your nut of choice.  Store leftovers in an airtight container, but they are best if eaten the first day.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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Thanksgiving is just a week away, but fear not, I’m here to help with your holiday dessert decisions.  This Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake is the answer– trust me.  You already know that we’re a cake-crazy family (just take a look under the recipe section if you need proof), but this is one of our all-time favorites.  I’ve already made it several times this year– most recently for my husband’s birthday a week ago.  It’s beautiful, tastes as good as it looks, and screams ‘celebration’.  Why fall back on the old standards of pumpkin or apple pie, when you can end your Thanksgiving meal with this stunner?

The key component in this cake is brown butter.  I’m of the opinion that it makes everything better.  Brown butter has a complex, nutty, almost caramel-like flavor.  Here, you’ll find it in both the cake and the frosting.  It adds those wonderful, layered flavors that set this cake apart from a typical pumpkin dessert.  And then there’s the nuts.  I’ve topped this cake with a mountain of pecans, pepitas, and ginger– all enveloped by melted brown sugar.  Sublime.  If you don’t want  as many nuts on your cake (what’s wrong with you?), you can half the amounts and sprinkle them in a circle design on top.  I like the grandness of  the big pile on top, plus they’re an addictive snack that you’ll munch on as you assemble this beauty.

I’ve always made this cake with a homemade pumpkin puree.  Aside from the freshness of doing it this way, it’s rewarding to do something with all of those pumpkins that have been decorating the house.  If you have too many things on your plate (yes, I realize that’s a poor pun), feel free to use canned pumpkin puree.  As always, try to use organic and make sure it contains only pureed pumpkin.  Make this cake, and you’ll impress your guests– I promise.

The Recipe: Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake

For the Puree

1 medium-large Sugar Pie pumpkin, cut in half and seeded  (large enough to yield 1 1/2 cups of puree)

For the Cake

6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter; plus more for pans

9 ounces (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; plus more for pans

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup buttermilk  (Note: to make your own add 1 teaspoon white vinegar to 1/3 cup milk and let stand for 10 minutes)

For the Topping:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/3 cups pecans halves

1 cup roasted and salted pepitas (raw and unsalted will work, too — just toast them a bit more with the pecans)

4 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger

For the Frosting

4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

5 ounces (1 1/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar

To make the Pumpkin Puree:  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Position racks in the center of oven.  Place pumpkin in a baking dish covered with lid or aluminum foil and bake for about 40 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.  Let cool.  Scoop pumpkin flesh into a food processor and puree until smooth.  You will need 1 1/2 cups of puree for the cake.  Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Position rack in the center of the oven.  Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans by buttering them liberally, lining with parchment paper, buttering once again, and flouring the pans.  Make sure to tap out any excess flour.

To make the Cake: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed 1-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Swirl the butter occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes.  Pour into a small bowl and let stand until cool but not set, about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves.  In a large bowl, whisk 1  1/2 cups of the pumpkin puree with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk until blended well.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until just combined.  Gently whisk in the brown butter until fully incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake the cakes until the a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.  Let the cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Turn the cakes out onto racks, remove parchment paper, and cool completely.

Make the Topping: Melt the butter in a large 12-inch skillet.  Add the pecans and cook until they brown slightly, about 2 minutes.  Sprinkle in the brown sugar, pepitas, and salt and stir until the sugar melts and the nuts are glazed, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the ginger.  Remove from heat and let cool in skillet.

To make the Frosting: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed 1-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Swirl the butter occasionally until the butter turns a nutty golden-brown, about 4 minutes.  Pout into a small bowl and let stand until all of the brown solids settle to the bottom of the bowl, about 5 minutes.  Carefully transfer bowl to freezer and chill until just firm, about 18 minutes.  Using a spoon, carefully scrape the butter from bowl, leaving behind the brown solid bits.  Discard the brown bits.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light in color and the brown sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 1-2 more minutes.

To assemble the Cake: Place one layer of cake on a cake plate.  Spread 1/2 cup of frosting on it.  Sprinkle 3/4 cup (scant) of the nut mixture (rough chop this small amount, so it stays in the cake better) over the frosting and top with another layer of cake.  Frost the top and sides of cake and place remaining nut mixture on the top.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.  Serve at room temperature.  Will keep well for a few days.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, Oct/Nov 2010

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Laurie

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The title of this post might be a little misleading…mainly because it is, in fact, misleading.  These aren’t pumpkin waffles. These are Sweet Mama Winter Squash Waffles.  Aside from the fact that it doesn’t roll off the tongue, I figured ‘squash waffles’ might turn some of you away.  Here’s the thing though, these taste a lot like fresh pumpkin.  And besides, most of the canned pumpkin you find at the market contains squash.  Bet you didn’t know that.  I guess what I’m saying is, I’m comfortable with the deception.

Weekend breakfasts are one of my favorite Fall events– and yes, I consider them an event.  We aren’t in as big a rush to leave the house in the mornings as we are in the Summer.  The farmers market isn’t as picked over when we don’t get there just after sunrise.  Instead, we lounge around in the morning, watching Liverpool play soccer and drinking French-press coffee, while the kids play nearby.  My homebody boys, Aanen and Radd, really love these lazy Fall weekend mornings.

Although I was a bit deceptive at the top, I’m not when I say these waffles are near perfect.  I’ve done my best to make them more healthy by adding whole grains, smaller amounts of sugar, and just a bit of butter.  They are perfectly spiced– not too much, not too little.  I made these particular waffles from a Sweet Mama Squash, which tastes very similar to a Butter Cup.  I’ve also made them with Sugar Pie Pumpkins, as well as canned 100% organic pumpkin.  They all work well, so don’t feel that you must puree your own.  (But if you do, I have another fantastic recipe later this week for your left-over squash).  Whatever you decide to use, I strongly urge you to top them with a dollop or more (so much for healthy) of freshly whipped cream and raw turbinado sugar.  It adds such an amazing, sweet crunch.  Try these this week, you’ll end up making them all the time.

The Recipe:  Pumpkin Waffles

(Makes about 10 waffles)

1 cup white unbleached all-purpose

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for waffle iron

1/2 cup winter squash or pumpkin puree

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups 2% milk (add a bit more, if needed)

Do ahead:  To make the puree — Preheat oven to 375°F.  Quarter the squash or pumpkin if large or half it if smaller.  Remove the insides.  Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Cover with aluminum foil if quartered.  If only halved, place cut side down and you shouldn’t need to cover them.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender.  Remove from oven and let cool a bit.   Puree in a food processor until very smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the waffles:  Preheat the waffles iron.  Place the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk them together.  Add the eggs, squash puree,  2 tablespoons melted butter, vanilla, and milk.  Whisk until just mixed.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Add more milk, if too thick.

Brush the waffles iron with a bit of melted butter.  Ladle 1/4 cup into each section of the waffle maker.  Make sure to smooth it out as much as possible.  Cook until a deep, golden brown.  Remove and let cool for a minute or so.  Top each waffle with real maple syrup, freshly whipped cream, toasted walnuts, and a sprinkle of raw turbinado sugar.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Laurie

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