Yesterday was a day that just screamed autumn. I woke up and was suddenly inspired to use some of my fresh buttermilk in a batch of fragrant pumpkin scones. My mom loves scones, and these did double-duty to welcome her home from her trip and give my community garden’s steering committee something to snack on while we discussed preparations for the end of the growing season.
After lunch, we packed Nolan into the car—with scones to snack on, of course!—and headed up through Guanella Pass to celebrate the turning of the aspens. These trees are utterly breathtaking in the fall, especially when the sunlight strikes them, and we spent several hours admiring their beauty from the car and on a short hiking trail.
The summit of Guanella Pass is at 11,669 feet, just a few hundred feet shy of the tree-line, but aspens don’t quite seem to survive at this height, just a few stunted evergreens. After admiring the view, we headed back out of the mountains—past flocks of people taking photos at virtually every stand of aspens along the way down—and home again, where the last of the scones awaited us.
The recipe I tweaked turned out to be absolutely perfect for my needs, with just enough pumpkin to use up the last of a can I opened on behalf of these pumpkin snickerdoodles (which never made it in front of the camera, but were scrumptious!) and not too much of my precious buttermilk. To top off the serendipity, I used up the last of a bag of white chocolate chips making a glaze with another splash of buttermilk. I made mini-scones, so there would be enough to go around, and even my little guys turned out to be quite generously sized. The pumpkin made them pillowy soft, much more so than your usual crumbly scones. Lightly spiced and not too sweet, with a decadent drizzle of white chocolate glaze, these scones are like an edible ode to autumn.
Buttermilk Pumpkin Scones with White Chocolate Glaze
2 C all-purpose flour (I used about a 2:1 ratio AP and white whole wheat)
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C cold unsalted butter
1/3 C buttermilk
1/2 C pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 C white chocolate chips
1-2 T buttermilk, as needed
Mix together flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and cut into flour, until it looks like coarse crumbs (I do this in the food processor). In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and mix just until the dough comes together.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead gently 3-4 times, and then shape/pat dough into a circle about 1 1/2 inches thick. Slice in half, and then cut each half into 3 equal pie-shaped wedges. Or divide into two rounds, each slightly under an inch thick, and make 16 mini-scones.
Bake on a cookie sheet at 375°F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. While the scones bake, melt the white chocolate over a double boiler (or at 50% power in the microwave in 30 second bursts); warm the buttermilk slightly as well, up to no more than 100°F. Stir the white chocolate until smooth, then stir in the buttermilk a little at a time until desired consistency is reached; if you are concerned about the white chocolate seizing up, you could also substitute warmed heavy cream for the buttermilk. Drizzle over the warm scones and devour. Makes 6 large or 18 mini scones.
Source: Slightly adapted from Morning Coffee Afternoon Tea.