Cook on a Whim: Vanilla Bean Scones

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Vanilla bean scones with vanilla bean glaze. Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.

Happy New Year to you all!

I decided to start the new year off doing my favorite things — cooking, eating and writing. It only seemed natural to use one of my favorite flavors and ingredients: vanilla bean. I can’t get enough of the flavor and those gorgeous little flecks. They just make everything so special, including these vanilla bean scones with a vanilla bean glaze.

I made a version of these scones for the first time years ago after watching Ree Drummond (aka the Pioneer Woman) make them on her show. They are her copycat version of the little scones you can find at Starbucks. As I mentioned earlier, I am wild about vanilla, especially when vanilla beans are involved. When I saw her make these, I knew I had to try them.

They were good — very tasty — but they needed some fiddling. So I fiddled and came up with this recipe. Much, much better. Still soft and buttery, but not so crumbly that they fall apart in the glaze.

Of all the sweets on my blog, this is probably the recipe I’ve referenced and made the most. My kids adore them and I love making them, so it’s a win-win. Many friends, family members and followers of my blog have made them too, with perfect results and rave reviews.

I’m not sure if it’s the white glaze, but I have an uncontrollable urge to make these every time it snows. And trust me when I tell you they are a million times tastier and fresher than the ones you’ll find in the glass case next time you’re picking up your latte.

Give them a try. I hope you love them as much as we do!

 

Vanilla Bean Scones with Vanilla Bean Glaze

Makes 24 scones

Ingredients

For the scones:
2 whole vanilla beans
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1½ tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, diced and very cold
1 egg

For the glaze:
1 whole vanilla bean
1/2 to ¾ cup milk (start with ½ but you may need the full ¾ cup)
5 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

For the scones:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out all the vanilla seeds inside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla seeds. With a pastry cutter, two butter knives or your fingers, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture. Keep going until the mixture resembles crumbs.

Mix the cream with the egg in a large, spouted measuring cup. Pour the cream in slowly while gently stirring the dry ingredients with a fork, just until it comes together.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and lightly press it together until it forms a rough rectangle. Cut dough in half and stack one half on top of the other, then press back into a rough rectangle. Repeat this process one more time. The stacking process creates perfect, flaky layers. I do this same trick when I make biscuits.

Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle about 12 by 7 inches and ½ to ¾ inches thick. Then cut the rectangle into 12 squares/rectangles. Next, cut each square/rectangle in half diagonally, to form two triangles. Transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 17 minutes. The bottoms will just be getting golden, but the tops should still be quite pale. Allow to cool completely before glazing.

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.

For the glaze:

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla seeds and milk in a large bowl, adding more powdered sugar or milk if necessary to get the right consistency. Stir or whisk until completely smooth and pourable.

One at a time, carefully dunk each cooled scone in the glaze, turning it over to coat completely. Your hands are the best tools for this. It’s messy, but so much easier than anything else I’ve tried — so wash your hands and roll up your sleeves.

Once dunked, transfer to parchment paper. I do this in two steps, because as they sit the glaze will pool up a little. So, after about 20 minutes, I carefully transfer the glazed scones to a fresh sheet of parchment. That way, I don’t end up with a thick bottom layer of glaze when they set completely.

Alternatively, you can just dip the tops or use a spoon to zigzag the glaze over them. I go for the total submersion method.

Enjoy! The vanilla beans really do make these so special. I hope you love them.

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.
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