For the past few weeks, everything I’ve made has been “fall” food. First there was this, and then these…and then this. I’m guessing that autumn feels pretty appreciated by me…or totally exploited. Either way, I’m not done with fall. I have more up my sleeve. So fall, forgive me, because I’m going to use you as long as I can. Everyone, please meet my new food crush: Sweet Potato Scones.
Don’t scones make you feel classy?! I’ve always associated them with High Tea…and wearing fancy white gloves, and maybe, even being snooty enough to point my pinky straight in the air as I sip tea. I know, I know, I think this might just be my Jane Austen obsession coming into play, but whatever.
I think it’s this very association that makes everyone so intimidated by scones, that they’d rather opt for half-stale ones at the chain coffee shop (I’m not naming names but you know who I’m talking about) than make them. But seriously, I have a secret: These were super simple. So no reason to fret.
Sure, these might look like normal looking scones; the typical square shape, thickness and the light golden brown color might lead you to believe they’re just a standard scone you might find anywhere. But what you might not see, at first glance, are the specs of orange…do you see them? Do you? Well if you don’t, then just have faith that they’re there, because it’s those specs that make these scones magical. They have every taste of fall that you’d ever want: a hint of nutmeg, a dash of cinnamon and the flavor of comfort that you’ll only find in a sweet potato.
The trick with scones is that the butter must be cold and stay chilled until they reach the oven. It’s the chilled butter that makes them puff up and look so cute, this means that you must work quickly. There, that wasn’t so bad, right? Again, the trick to cute little scones: cold butter. If you master that down, you’re set. So go get your fancy white gloves on and lets eat some freakin’ scones.
Sweet Potato Scones
Recipe by Rebecca Rather in the book The Pastry Queen Christmas
3 orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (about 3/4lb.)
4 cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup of sugar
1 ½ tablespoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized slices
½ cup of heavy whipping cream
½ cup of buttermilk
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Prick the sweet potatoes a few times with a fork and bake them on a prepared baking sheet until tendered for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool to touch, about 10 minutes. Cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out flesh and place in a medium mixing bowl, and lightly mash with a fork. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until cool, at least 20 minutes. (Warm potatoes will melt the cold butter, keeping the scones from attaining their optimum lightness and tenderness.)
Increase the oven temperature to 425F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use your hands or a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture until the dough is crumbly and contains lumps the size of small peas. Add the cooled sweet potatoes and 1/4 cup of the cream and lightly stir into the flour mixture. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of cream and the buttermilk and stir until just mixed. Do not overwork the dough.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly coat your hands with flour and form the dough into a 3/4 inch-thick rectangle. Cut the dough into 6 squares (I cut a lot more). Bake on an un-greased baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, until the scones are a light golden brown. Transfer to wire rack for cooling.