I love scones, but I don't like rolling them out or making a lot of mess with them in the kitchen. So, I've been working on ways to streamline the process without compromising on the taste and appearance of the scones. These quick pumpkin scones are the latest result of my efforts. The scones require only one bowl to mix up, one baking sheet, and not a lot of fuss. I can have hot, fragrant, mouth-watering scones in about 30 minutes. The pumpkin and spices are gentle in these scones, not overpowering, and cornmeal provides a nice, nubby crumb. I use hazelnuts to top the scones, which contrast nicely with the pumpkin, but walnuts or pecans would be fine, too. I bake these scones twice--once together in a large circle and again separated into triangles. I do so to get the scones a little crispy on the edges. If you'd rather have a moister scone or don't care, you can skip the second baking.
Pumpkin Scones -- Makes 8
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of cornmeal
2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
4 ounces (1/2 a stick) of butter or Smart Balance
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup of hazelnuts, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of raw (turbinado) sugar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray or line it with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pumpkin spice. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until small crumbs form (some will be pea-sized, others tiny, that's fine). In a measuring cup, mix the egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla with a fork until well combined. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir everything with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. The dough will be moist. Dump the dough out onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth it out into a large circle about 1/2 inch thick and 8-10 inches in diameter. If you moisten your hands with a little water, the dough will be easier to smooth out. Score the dough into 8 triangles. Sprinkle on the hazelnuts and sugar, pressing them into the dough just a little. Bake the scones for about 20 minutes until they're just beginning to brown. Remove the scones from the oven and cut them again, separating the triangles from each other but leaving them on the baking sheet at least an inch apart from each other. Return the scones to the oven for 4-5 minutes, watching closely to ensure they don't get too brown. Remove the scones from the oven and let them cool a few minutes before serving them.