Hello! How was your Christmas? I had a great time with my family in Texas. We decorated cookies, snuggled our beloved puppies (Stella, Mama Chiquita, and Haskell), and played many rounds of Gin Rummy. My sisters and I all cooked like crazy, and my sister-in-law was the world’s best soux chef. Oh, and we all rocked some sweet matching Snoopy pajamas. Yes, we are adults. But it’s Christmas, and Snoopy rules. It was so much fun–I am lucky to have family that is an absolute joy, rather than a chore, to visit. The weather was spring-like until Saturday night, when tornadoes tore through North Texas, bringing torrential downpours, hail, and snow in their wake. If you are reading from Texas, I hope you and those you hold dear are safe from harm and able to enjoy these last few days of 2015.
Now that I’ve bummed you all out, let’s get baking. I’ve made a lot of cookies in the last several weeks, and while I know cookies are synonymous with the holidays, I need a break. How about a coffee break? With Gingerbread Scones? Soft, spiced, not too sweet scones with a drizzle of vanilla glaze. They’re quick and simple–they can be on your table in less than an hour! They’re absolutely perfect for breakfasts this holiday week. Let’s get started.
Scones really are a breeze. The only real rule is to keep the butter and liquid ingredients very cold. This is what keeps the scones flaky and delicious. These start with whisking two tablespoons of molasses into cold half-and-half and then putting that in the fridge. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together some flour, gingerbread spices, dark brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Next, take some very cold butter and use a pastry blender to cut it into the flour mixture until it’s the size of peas. Take that half-and-half mixture you’ve been chilling and stir it in. Turn the dough out onto a very well-floured surface. Really, go crazy with the flour because the dough will be sticky. Flour your hands and gently shape the dough into a 1-inch thick disc. Flour the blade of a chef’s knife, and then cut the disc into eight wedges. Remove them to a pan, brush with more half-and-half, and bake at 425F until they spring back when poked with your finger, about fifteen minutes.
These scones would be great by themselves, but gingerbread has to have icing as far as I’m concerned. There just has to be something to offset the spiciness of the ginger. Also, these scones aren’t very sweet, so they benefit from a touch of glaze. The glaze is very easy to whip up. Whisk together some confectioner’s sugar and salt, and then stir in some half-and-half and vanilla extract until smooth. Drizzle it over the cooling scones. I like to use a squeeze bottle, but a fork will do the trick. The glaze will start to set in just a few minutes and will be completely set in a couple of hours.These scones are best the day they’re made, but may be kept covered at room temperature for up to 48 hours. Unbaked scones may also be frozen for up to three months! I’ve written instructions in the recipe.
I hope you are enjoying this holiday week, and that you’ll make these Gingerbread Scones a part of your celebration! Now that it’s feeling more like winter in Texas and New York City, warm, spicy scones and a boatload of coffee will be your new favorite breakfast.
adapted from Maple Scones from Dinner With Julie
makes 8 large scones
3/4 cup half-and-half + more for brushing, very cold
2 tablespoons molasses*
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into pieces
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 425F. Line one baking sheet with parchment. Set a cooling rack over a piece of wax paper or parchment. Set aside.
Use a fork to whisk together molasses and 3/4 cup half-and-half. Set the mixture in the refrigerator.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, dark brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use a pastry blender* to cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the largest bits are the size of peas. Remove the half-and-half mixture from the refrigerator and pour it into the bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until it just comes together.
Turn dough out onto a very well-floured surface. Using floured fingertips, press dough into a large 1-inch thick disc. Use a floured chef’s knife* to cut the circle into 8 wedges. Remove wedges to prepared pan, setting them at least two inches apart. Brush the tops of the scones with additional half-and-half. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until they “bounce back” when pressed with your finger. Remove them to the cooling rack.
Make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar and salt with a fork. Whisk in half-and-half and vanilla until combined.* Drizzle cooling scones with glaze. Scones may be served immediately, or after the glaze sets (about one hour).
Scones are best the day they’re made, but will keep covered at room temperature for up to 48 hours.
Gingerbread Scones may be frozen up to three months. Simply freeze unbaked wedges of dough on a lined sheet pan and pile them into a labeled freezer bag. When you are ready to bake, brush the tops of the frozen wedges with half-and-half and bake for 17-22 minutes, until they spring back when poked with your finger. Then glaze and enjoy!
1. Use regular molasses, not blackstrap. I use Grandma’s Original or Brer Rabbit.
2. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you may use two forks.
3. Do not use a serrated knife.
4. If a thinner glaze is desired, add half-and-half by the tablespoon until the desired consistency is reached. If you’d like a thicker glaze, add confectioner’s sugar in 2 tablespoon installments until the desired consistency is reached.