Pumpkin Scones

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Jas and I are self-proclaimed, unapologetic coffee addicts. We need it. We crave it. We have to have it. Every morning. Or else.

The sad thing is I was ‘clean’ for going on 3 years. I had truly kicked the habit- but one rotten morning I had at work a few months ago made me cave back into the urge and from then on, I was right back where I started: hopelessly devoted to coffee.

It can expensive if you’re like us and like the gourmet stuff. Plus you constantly have to invest in buying special, also not-too-cheap whitening toothpaste. It’s the devil in a red dress, I’m telling you.

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In my area, we have two major ‘coffee corporation giants’; for the sake of subtlety I’ll call one Bucksstar and the other Bybigs. (I know, I know; REAL subtle there Jess.)

Over all the years of our coffee connoisseurship, Jas and I have worked out our own special theories about the strengths, weaknesses and similarities between Bucksstar and Bybigs. And since we’re self-proclaimed addicts that go to all and any lengths to get their fixes, you should just take our word for it. Cause we’re pros and we just know what we’re talking about.

When it comes to straight hot coffee, with little to no bells and whistles, Bucksstar wins. It’s fancier and you really can taste the difference in the quality of the ingredients. However, when it comes to hot lattes and cappuccinos then we do tend to lean more towards Bybigs. Plus, the caramel apple cider they sell in the autumn is truly out of this world.

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The funny thing about Bucksstar’s lattes is that they taste much better cold than hot to us. In fact, the iced lattes and frappuccinos at Bucksstar’s are the stuff of dreams. The ones at Bybig’s just can’t compare.

Interestingly enough, Jas and I think that the biggest difference between these two coffee giants is NOT their coffee, but their baked goods. There’s just SUCH a huge difference. Want to know what it is? Here’s the answer, direct from us to you:

Bucksstar’s baked goods rock. Bybigs suck.

Seriously. I’m not being overly dramatic or just trying to straight out diss Bybig’s. I’m just being honest. I don’t know who it is that formulated their recipes for pastries- but whoever it is, should probably get the sack. The cookies are flat and cardboard-like in texture. The muffins taste like something the Little Debbie company churned out. The bagels are tough hockey pucks.  The rice krispie treats don’t have enough marshmallow creme and butter. And don’t get me started on those friggin scones; they’re drydryDRY with little to no flavor.

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Now Bucksstar? They’ve got this thing on lock. Everyone, EVERYONE knows that Bucksstar baked goods are delicious. I can’t remember the last time I went into one to buy coffee and didn’t end up walking out of there with some kind of pastry. The banana bread is thick, soft and fragrant. Their croissants are flaky and buttery. The cookies are sublime. Even their breakfast sandwiches are the bomb.com.  And the scones? Dude. Their SCONES. I think they must put crack in those scones. It’s the only explanation for their being so addictively awesome, right?

Although I’m not a huge pumpkin pie fan, I gotta admit that my favorite scone to get from good old Bucksstar has always been their pumpkin scone. There’s just something about the blend of all those autumn spices that goes SO well with a cup of hot coffee. So when I saw this recipe posted on Bonappetit.com, I jumped at the chance to try it out. It’s really VERY delicious, whether you decide to ice them or leave them plain- I did both and honestly can’t decide which is better.

Scones are so easy to put together and they yield such marvelous results. They also give me an excuse to drink more coffee- and you know I’ll always find ways to do that.

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Pumpkin Scones

Recipe Courtesy of Beauty and Essex via BonAppetit.com 

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter
  • ½ cup chopped fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup canned pure pumpkin
  • ¼ cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar

 Directions

1. Whisk granulated sugar, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, cloves, baking soda, and 2 cups flour in a large bowl.
2. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate in butter, tossing to coat in dry ingredients as you go; toss in cranberries. Mix in egg, pumpkin, and ¼ cup buttermilk.

3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into a 1½”-thick disk. Cut into 8 wedges; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, 25–30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 400°. Brush scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until golden brown, 25–30 minutes

Apple Cinnamon Scones

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Happy Fiesta Friday #16 all you lovely people who came out the party! I’m pleased to bring this humble offering to share: Apple Cinnamon Scones!

I think just about everyone has had a certain interest, like hobby or skill that in a perfect dream world, they would like to use that hobby or skill as a job that they could do for the rest of their lives. I admittedly, have had quite a few of these in my short 24 years on this Earth.

When I was in elementary school, I loved everything that had to do with babies, thus making me believe that I wanted to be an obstetrician- this was after I consulted with my mom and found that there WAS such a thing as a doctor that only handled labor and delivery of babies. Then I found out that I wasn’t the best at science or math- both of which you kinda have to have decent skills into become a doctor. So that was out.

When I was between the ages of 11-13 I was  sure I was gonna be an Egyptologist when I grew up- pretty much an expert on everything that had to do with ancient Egypt. You know those mysterious (and let’s face it, creepy) curators of Egyptian artifact museums you see in the movies? Yeah, I totally used to fantasize about that being me.

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When I was in high school, I did some acting in a few plays and musicals and really enjoyed it. I also saw the film adaptation of Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” (which made me develop a mild obsession with all things PoTO related that lasted far longer than I’m willing to admit to you guys) Thus, I got the idea in my head that maybe my true calling was to become an actress on Broadway, where I would be able to become the first African American Christine Daae to a Phantom that happened to look like Gerard Butler’s twin brother. (Side note, I’ve given up on that one completely).

My main goal during my undergraduate years at Michigan State University was to go on to graduate school and become a scholar in academia of African American studies. To be honest, this is something that I’m still kinda considering for my future. I love all things that have to do with African American history, and although the prospect of grad school intimidates me, I’d still feel honored and pleased if given the opportunity to pursue the life of an academic.

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Nowadays, my dreams and aspirations for the ideal job mainly revolve around two things: writing and food. I think I’ve mentioned before that writing fiction and cooking food are the only two things in the world that I could do for free without needing any pay or compensation. I’m totally serious about that too. As a voracious reader as a girl, I finally came to the conclusion one day that instead of just envying the stories of my favorite authors, maybe I should just try creating some of my own stories and characters- so I did. My writing has really become one of the main stress relievers that I have in my life. I can’t imagine life without it. The best part is that it’s become an ongoing journey that never has to end- the more and longer that I write, the  more that I think I have and will continue to improve my skills…which leads to my ‘ideal world’ dream of becoming a bestselling author that just writes books for a living. It’s definitely a long shot, but a girl can still dream, can’t she?

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And of course, there’s my cooking. You guys ought to know by now that my cooking is my refuge. When I cook, all is well with my world. There’s just me, the kitchen, my ingredients, and the music in the background. Blogging has really just served to elevate my love and respect for cooking- I not only get to share it with my family and friends, I also get to share with you all…the pictures, that is 🙂 My friend Prudy at Butter, Basil & Breadcrumbs told me in one of my past posts that I should open a bakery. I found this to be rather coincidental, as running a small bakery is something I can half see myself doing in an ideal, care-less world. Running a restaurant- definitely not. But a bakery, I think I could do.

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So, some of you may remember a few months ago when I first made these Banana Bread Scones. (If you don’t or weren’t following my blog at the time, I highly recommend you go and check them out cause they’re friggin awesome) They were a smashing hit, and I was so impressed with them that I almost immediately decided that I would be making scones- any kind of scones- again as soon as possible. I finally settled on these- and I can’t tell you how happy I was that I did.

I didn’t think it was possible to top the Banana Bread Scones, but honestly I kinda think that these do. What else can I say? They’re thick, flaky, tender and bursting with apples and cinnamon chips. You may notice that mine are iced- technically the recipe didn’t call for it but I went ahead and decided to throw together a quick icing using confectioner’s sugar, a few teaspoons of milk, vanilla extract and a dash of cinnamon. My family always whines about how much I use icing for every baked good that I make, but I don’t care. I love icing. Icing is everything. Everything in life.

These scones make me think that maybe I should start taking my little dream world aspiration of opening a bakery a reality someday- after I’ve sold my hundreds of thousands of books on the New York Times Bestseller’s List, that is.

Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

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Apple Cinnamon Scones

Recipe Courtesy of King Arthur Flour

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice or ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh apple, in 1/2″ pieces leave the skin on, if you like
  • 3/4 cup cinnamon chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spice.

2. Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.

3. Stir in the chopped apple and cinnamon chips.

4. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce.

5. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.

6. Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.

7. Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Gently pat and round each half into a 5″ to 5 1/2″ circle about 3/4″ thick.

8. Using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.

9. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2″ space between them, at their outer edges.

10. For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.

11. Bake the scones for 18 to 22 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the say through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.

12. Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they’re completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days. (Yield: 12 scones)

 

 

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Banana Bread Scones

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Hi. My name is Jess(ica).

I’m here because I used to be a coffee addict. Actually, no, that’s not true- I guess I still am technically a coffee addict, I’ve just gotten better at controlling my need for it. There came a time when I HAD to have some form of coffee every day just to function; sometimes I could take it straight, sometimes I wanted it in the fancy gourmet styles from coffee shops.  I didn’t care. I just wanted coffee. I needed it.

It took a while for me to hit rock bottom, to finally realize that my addiction to coffee was getting out of control. I wish I could say that I had this grand epiphany or moment of clarity/acceptance, but the truth of the matter is that I just finally got tired of spending $28 a week on the stuff at coffee shops and knew that I had to make a change. It wasn’t easy in the beginning. The caffeine withdrawals were rough; chronic headaches and irritability are a lethal combination, or so I found out. However, I pulled through- at first going cold turkey, then tapering back on to the point where I can have some form of coffee a couple of times a week without feeling as though I’ll go crazy without it.

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So yeah, for anyone out there still being affected by coffee addition at present: recovery is possible. And it doesn’t even have to mean that you give it up forever. You just gotta find a balance. Most times, when you think you need it, you don’t and you can pass. And sometimes…maybe the situation’s a little different.

For instance: there are some instances where a cup of hot coffee is a must. There’s no way around it. I certainly found that to be the case for this recipe. Aside from the profit that their over-priced drinks bring in, I’m pretty sure that a huge chunk of Starbucks’ money comes from the pastries that they display smack dab right in front of the customers in those glass cases. How many people can go in to buy a cup of coffee there in the morning without even stealing a longing gaze at the delectable cinnamon rolls, pumpkin bread, muffins, scones and other goods that Starbucks sells? I’m not one of them, that’s for sure.

I just had to clarify 1 thing: this picture is to scale. This bad boy is actually that big.

This recipe is actually one I’ve had pinned on Pinterest for a long time now. Scones was something I’ve never made before, but have always wanted to. They’re the quintessential accompaniment to coffee- hot, buttery and crumbly pastries of deliciousness. The only thing that could possibly improve them would be to add a unique flavor and ingredient…enter the bananas.

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You guys, even before I tasted them, I just knew that these babies were going to be sosososoSOOO good. I mean come ON: look at how fat and thick the scones turned out. See those flaky layers? It’s the cold chunks of butter that does that. Chilling the dough in the freezer was the secret weapon for the scones, I’m convinced. I think it’s something that I’ll definitely be doing for any future scones to come out of my kitchen, as well as for whenever I make biscuits. The glaze just sends them over the top. This recipe is one of the best, most satisfying that I’ve tried, and I highly recommend it.

Oh yeah…and the scones are even better when enjoyed with a cup of coffee. Just sayin.

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Banana Bread Scones

Recipe Courtesy of TheKitchn.com

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 very ripe bananas (about 8 oz or 1 cup once mashed)
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk, whole or 2%
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) plain yogurt, whole or 2%
  • 2 1/2 cups (12.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

For the glaze:

  • 1 tablespoons (1 oz) salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) milk, whole or 2%
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup (2-4 oz) confectioner’s sugar

 Directions

1. Mash the bananas and then add enough milk to make one total cup (if necessary). Stir in the yogurt and set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Cut the butter into several pieces. Work it into the dry ingredients using a fork, pastry cutter, or your finger tips until there are no pieces of butter larger than a pea.

3. Pour the banana-yogurt mixture into the bowl with the flour and stir just enough to incorporate all of the flour. Fold in the walnuts, if using. This will make a fairly wet dough.

4. Line a dinner plate with a piece of wax paper and turn the dough out on top. Pat it into a disk about 1-inch thick and cover with another piece of wax paper. Freeze the scone dough for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

6. Peel off the top layer of wax paper and invert the scones onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Peel off the second layer of wax paper. Slice the scones into eight wedges and pull them apart a little to give them some room to expand. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the scones are firm to the touch and turning golden-brown on the edges. Cool completely and cut apart any scones that baked together with a sharp knife.

7. To make the glaze, melt the butter and the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and vanilla, and stir until the sugar has melted (heat for an additional 30 seconds in the microwave if necessary). Whisk in the confectioner’s sugar, starting with 1/4 cup. Add more confectioner’s sugar if desired to make a thicker glaze.

8. Just before serving, drizzle the glaze over the scones.

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