Petite Vanilla Bean Scones... Starbucks Style. It's been awhile since I've baked a dessert of sorts. Baking isn't something I often do on a regular basis. Normally I try to limit the sweets in our diet. Try to anyway, not always the case. But I've taken a long break from the dessert department for some time now... longer than I normally do. So I kind of missed it. It's not that I haven't eaten desserts, though. Actually it's been quite the opposite. My recent vacation has had me eating more than my share of sweets. It seems there was always a bakery that I "just had to try".... even if I ran in and bought a small pastry to sample. And when on vacation, I normally don't look at calories or the fact that certain foods may have ingredients that I normally wouldn't use at home. Sometimes vacations are just that... a break, a respite, a recess, a holiday from the normal routine. Granted, I don't go overboard.
When my husband and I go on a "big city" vacation, be it here or international, we try to use the public transportation as much as possible. It just makes us experience the city more fully... and well, it makes us feel like a local. Oh, and we walk a lot. And I mean a ton... even when using the subway. Because it's not like you don't have to walk up and down the stairs, through corridors, and ramps to finally get to that subway train. However, we love it... our feet, maybe not so much:). But this way we get our exercise, and can sample foods throughout the day without feeling too much guilt:).
The fact is that when you are on vacation and walk quite a bit, you find yourself... well, in need of a resting place. A place where you can stop and catch your breath, warm up a bit, and check out your map for your next destination. Starbucks always seems to be everywhere... or at least very close by. So at times, we stop there for a cup of coffee and a pastry. As much as I don't frequent the coffee place when I'm at home, I do stop there on occasion when traveling. It's just convenient. Out in the city, or inside the airport.
So on our last trip, when heading back home, we found ourselves with an early am flight. Real early. Ended up having our coffee and breakfast from Starbucks.... right there in the airport. Normally I don't have sweets early in the morning, but the cranberry scones with orange icing sure looked delish! And I had to try it:). Loved it, really. When I came home I started thinking about the scone. On a whim, I decided to look up a recipe for it. Kind of got carried away and found myself looking at other Starbucks copycat scones. Ran into a recipe for their petite vanilla bean scones. Now, I haven't seen these mini scones in any of their shops while traveling, maybe they don't sell them everywhere.... or maybe they were so tiny that I missed them:). In any case, they sure sounded wonderful. Love anything mini. And glazed? Why, I've never made scones that were completely covered in a glaze. Had to try it!
The recipe for these mini scones are adapted from Pioneer Woman, with a slight variation. I made mine in a food processor for ease, though I've included the 'by hand' method as well in the instructions. Also, I felt I could cut down the butter a tad bit and substituted some vanilla bean paste instead of 2 whole vanilla pods for the scones themselves. Used the vanilla pod only for the icing to get those vanilla bean specks showing. Sort of saves you a bit on expense. And after making a few glazed scones with just the vanilla bean icing, I felt the icing still needed a touch of "something" to elevate it... decided to add a few drops of rum extract. Not too much ... anywhere form 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of rum extract. Doesn't overpower, but gives it that extra flavor boost. Totally optional though, especially if you aren't used to rum.
Loved these mini scones... maybe not like the Starbucks, but still delicious! That icing just puts them over the top.... makes them extra special. Oh, and if you don't have any vanilla pods... opt to make them with lemon or orange peel. Hope you enjoy...
Note: You may refrigerate the cut triangles for an hour or until dough is firm... this will make the scones rise higher. I wasn't necessarily looking for "tall" scones so I chose to bake mine immediately after cutting into shapes.
Also, you can make the icing as thick as you like, I preferred less thick, and used only 4 cups of icing sugar.
Tip: Scones will keep for a couple of days if glazed. I've even frozen them... defrosted by taking them first out of the freezer bag and allowing them to completely thaw on the counter. You don't want to leave them in the freezer bag as it will cause condensation and make the icing sticky.
You will need: adapted from Pioneer Woman
Makes about 50-60(2 inch) petite scones... can make double the size and get about 25-30 smaller scones
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 TBS) unsalted COLD Butter, cut in cubes
1 ex-large egg
3/4 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
2 tsps vanilla bean paste
4-5 cups powdered Sugar*
1/2 cup whole milk*
1 whole Vanilla Bean
1/8-1/4 tsp rum extract, optional but makes the icing have that "European" flavor* you may need to adjust quantities of milk and sugar to attain desired thickness. Also, you may need to make another half batch of the glaze if making the petite version.... I used most of my icing for about half the batch and drizzled some on the other half.
Directions: Food Processor and Alternate Method(by hand)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a food processor add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse a few times until combined.
- ALT METHOD: In a bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
3. Add butter to flour mixture and process for 30 seconds or until mixture looks like coarse crumbs... smaller than peas.
- ALT METHOD: Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour until mixture resembles crumbs.
4. Add cream mixture to the butter/flour mix and process for an additional 30 seconds or so ... or until mixture comes to a ball.
- ALT METHOD: Pour the cream mixture over the flour/butter mix and stir gently with a fork just until the dough comes together. You may knead it a bit to fully combine, being careful to not over-knead.
5. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Lightly press it together to form a rough rectangle about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. Use your hands or a bench scraper to make it straight.
You can use a knife to trim outside edges if you really want... though I didn't.
6. Cut the rectangle into squares... whatever size you like. You can make large, small or a petite version.
My petite version was roughly 2 inch by 2 inch squares.... or anywhere form 1.5 to 2 inch. So you will need to cut 2 inch strips lengthwise... then cut 2 inch strips widthwise to form 2x2 inch squares(or anywhere from 1.5-2 inches roughly). Then cut each square in half, diagonally... to form two triangles.
7. Transfer each triangle to a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
1. Split one vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the beans with the back of a knife.
2. Stir vanilla beans into milk and allow to sit for a bit. At this point, if you are using the rum, you can also add it here.
3. Whisk powdered sugar with the vanilla milk... you can add more powdered sugar or even milk if it is necessary, to get the right thickness you prefer. You don't want the glaze to be too thin.... but if you like the glaze to be thicker add a bit more icing sugar. Whisk until completely smooth.
DIPPING THE SCONES
1. One at a time, carefully dip the cooled scone in the glaze and turning it over completely cover.
2. Using a fork lift the glazed scone, tap and lightly scrape the bottom of the scone for any excess icing.
3. Transfer the glazed scone to a cooling rack... or even parchment paper.
4. Allow the glaze to set completely.