Vanilla Bean Scones Two Ways and Birthday Blessings

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I always try to bake something special for a friend or family member’s birthday. I feel like it gives that extra special “I’m thinking of you.” feel to their day. Over the last few days, I had the pleasure of celebrating two of my friend’s birthdays. Both gals enjoy vanilla bean scones. One of them enjoys the less sweet version, and the other enjoys the sweeter version with a vanilla bean glaze on top.

 

When my husband and I decided to sell our home and build a house three years ago, I prayed and prayed that God would put us in the right spot with wonderful neighbors. And boy did He answer that prayer! We truly have the best neighbors! This first scone recipe was made for my next door neighbor. I will refer to her as “K.” K  genuiniely loves and appreciates when I bake for her, and she knows I need nothing in return. She graciously accepts my baked goodies and savors every morsel! She doesn’t like things that are super sweet, so this first recipe for vanilla bean scones is just perfect. I first made them for her shortly after we had moved in. I love making scones, but hadn’t yet learned that my neighbor enjoys eating scones! So I invited K over one afternoon for tea and vanilla bean scones and they quickly became one of her favorites! Just look at the flecks of delicious vanilla bean goodness.

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I try to make these for K on special occasions. The scones are infused with vanilla bean seeds overnight so they pack a nice vanilla flavor. I love to serve them with a faux clotted cream and either raspberry jam or strawberry jam.

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Vanilla Bean Scones

Ingredients

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, split, scraped, and seeds reserved
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar,

Instructions
In a small saucepan, heat cream and reserved vanilla bean seeds just to a simmer. Remove from heat, and pour into a covered container. Refrigerate until very cold, at least 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, whisking well. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

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Add cold vanilla-infused cream, stirring to combine. (If mixture won’t come together, add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a soft dough forms.) Continue to bring dough together in bowl with hands.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 3 times. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a ½-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch scalloped round cutter, cut 18 rounds from dough, rerolling scraps as necessary.  Alternatively, pat the dough into a circle about 1/2-inch thick. Cut circle in half, then cut each half into four triangles. This will yield 8 larger scones.  Place scones 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with vanilla sugar.
Bake until edges of scones are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, approximately 20 minutes.
If desired, serve with faux clotted cream and jam

Notes
• Vanilla Bean Scones can be frozen raw on baking sheets up to a month in advance. Transfer frozen scones to a resealable plastic bag. Bake frozen scones on parchment-lined baking sheets, allowing an additional 5 to 10 minutes’ baking time.

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Faux Clotted Cream

Ingredients
½ cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon sour cream
Instructions
In a small bowl, combine cream and confectioners’ sugar. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add sour cream, beating at low speed until incorporated.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a covered container for up to a day.

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Recipe Source: Tea Time Magazine

 

The second birthday I celebrated this past week was for a friend and fellow triplet mom whom I will refer to as “T.” T and I met in the doctors office when my babies were three months old and her babies were four months old. Having her to get through triplet infancy and toddlerhood was absolutely priceless! I believe that we will always be bound together in friendship by our triplet mommy experiences. It has been wonderful to see our children grow in friendship as well. I have made this sweeter, smaller version of vanilla bean scones for T before.

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These scones resemble the petite vanilla bean scones from Starbucks. I believe I made them one day T was bringing her kids over to play. Shortly after they left, I got a text from her with a photo of the Starbucks scones telling me the scones I made look and taste even better than the ones at Starbucks!

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You can see the flecks of butter in the dough!

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She describes them as almost tasting like a vanilla bean sugar cookie. This recipe comes from the Cooking Classy blog. Click on the caption below the photo to get the recipe. I packaged the scones in a pretty white bakery box I purchased at Michael’s. I found a pretty coffee cup and included a Starbucks gift card in the cup. I delivered everything in a basket with a bottle of wine, Starbucks k-cups, and a card explaining that the basket included a treat for the morning and a treat for the evening! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the completed basket.

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Petite Vanilla Bean Scones

I really like to use vanilla bean paste in place of vanilla beans in this recipe. The vanilla bean paste has a very strong vanilla flavor as well as a touch of added sugar. I stick with the actual vanilla bean for the frosting. You can purchase vanilla bean paste at Williams Sonoma, Sur La Table, or Amazon. I always order mine on amazon. 1 TBS of vanilla bean paste is equal to one vanilla bean. I also purchase my vanilla beans online in bulk from Beanilla. (Click on the highlighted “Beanilla” to see the website.) I do use them a lot, so purchasing them this way is much cheaper than buying them at the grocery store. If you do purchase them at the grocery store, I have found them cheapest at Walmart. If you do not use vanilla beans a lot, it may be best for you to buy the vanilla bean paste. It lasts a long time and can be used in place of a vanilla bean in any recipe.

Scone Tips and Techniques

  1. Keep the ingredients as cold as possible. I chop my butter and place it in the freezer while I prepare my wet ingredients. The wet ingredients are then placed in the refrigerator while I measure out my dry ingredients.
  2. Do not overwork the dough. This can lead to tough, dry scones. Mix until the dough just comes together.
  3. While the oven is preheating, I place the already shaped scones (on the cookie sheet) in the refrigerator to chill
  4. Scones are the perfect make ahead item. Shape the dough and place  them on a baking sheet. Freeze them on the baking sheet for one hour. Then place the scones in a freezer bag. Bake them straight out of the freezer as directed in your recipe. They may need an extra few minutes to bake all the way through.
  5. Refer to my “how to measure Flour” instructions found on the tips and techniques page.

 

 

4 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean Scones Two Ways and Birthday Blessings

  1. Kim, have I asked you already if you ever use a food processor or mixer like the Kitchen aid to cut-in butter to flour? Is this not recommended for scones? Scones are high on my list to bake next. I really love your recipe for faux clotted cream. I’ve always wanted to try clotted cream, but it seems complex to make.

    1. Noel, I have used a kitchen aid mixer to cut the butter in, but never a food processor for scones. However, I do think you could use a food processor as long as you are careful not to over process it. Just do a few short pulses. Typically, if a recipe instructs me to use a pastry blender, I use it. Using the stand mixer will often leave some small and some larger chucks of butter. I have never found this to be a problem. I use a lot of King Arthur Flour recipes for scones and the recipes often state that it is ok to have a few larger chunks of butter. The most important things to keep in mind when making scones are to keep your ingredients cold and do not overwork the dough when you add your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. I love the faux clotted cream recipe! I have not attempted the long process of true clotted cream yet because the faux cream is so good! Happy baking!

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