Making Pumpkin Scones

I tried to run a short-lived blog about holidays and the calendar. It didn’t go anywhere, but I wrote this for that blog and liked it enough to preserve it here.

Part 1

One of the things that will likely become obvious as this blog progresses is that I’m something of a holiday foodie. I am fascinated by the kinds of foods that people associate with their most personal celebrations, even to the point of only eating those foods during the holiday period even if the food is available or accessible year-round. I mean, when’s the last time you are a roast turkey in a month not called November or December?

For example, take autumn, the season of pumpkin. December through August, I almost never eat anything pumpkin-flavored. Honestly, I’d probably turn my nose up at it if you offered me something. But once September hits, not only do the stores become flooded with pumpkin flavoring, but I begin to crave it. It’s like a Pavlovian response to fall colors or something.

I’m especially a fan of the pumpkin-flavored goodies served up at Starbucks each season. Yes, call me a corporate coffee whore, but I can’t resist a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Even at nearly $5 now for the grande size, it’s worth it. I’m craving one just typing this.

Equally good is the Starbucks Pumpkin Scone. I try to resist these, or at least to bust myself down to a venti latte when I can’t resist; but I usually succumb and buy one when I’m in the shop and it’s pumpkin season. I absolutely love the weighty texture of them — cakey but moist, crumbly without being dry, and of course pumpkin flavored. I’ve tried other Starbucks scones over the years, but I don’t like any of them the way I like these.

This year, though, I’m in a baking mood; and frankly, a grande latte and a scone is beginning to push $8 at the local Starbucks. So I got the idea into my head that it might be fun to try making my own pumpkin scones. [I’d try making my own latte, but I only have a drip coffeemaker at home.] Not surprisingly, the Internet was already way ahead of me, and it took only a single Google search to find a fair handful of “Scone Clone” recipies:

And these are just the ones that seemed the most promising! I haven’t tried any yet, but this weekend, I’ll be digging into the pantry and getting my hands doughy. Expect a full report on the weekend’s scone clone experience come Monday.

In the meantime, if you have ever tried to make your own pumpkin scones, share your experience in the comments section!

Part 2

As promised last week, this Saturday I got my hands floury and tried out a recipe for taste-alike Starbucks Pumpkin Scones, one of my favorite autumn treats.

Now, I’ve never made scones before, and in fact I’m not generally into baking (that’s my wife’s thing), but armed with the proper recipe I’m usually a fair hand at cooking. I decided to go with the version over at Iowa Girl Eats (though Recipe Girl’s take on the treat was almost identical). I made a quick run to the store Saturday morning for a few supplies, and I was good to go.

The recipe is fairly straightforward. I quickly got my dough together and cut, ready to bake … and then realized I’d forgotten to heat up the oven! D’oh!

So I covered my raw scones and, fifteen minutes later, put them in the oven. At this point, I have to say: my kitchen smelled INCREDIBLE. Seriously. No “pumpkin spice” candle I’ve ever burned has come close to the smell of ACTUAL PUMPKIN AND SPICES baking away. The candle is a lie!

When all was said and done, I ended up with six nicely baked scones. After cooling and glazing, I discovered that I had made INCREDIBLE tasting treats … that didn’t quite taste just like the Starbucks scones. Specifically, my homemade scones seemed to have a lot more nutmeg in them than the coffeehouse scones did; I think this is because of the icing. Next time, I’m reducing the amount of nutmeg!

While they don’t 100% hit the taste of the Starbucks scones, these are definitely delicious enough for me to try again. I think adjusting the spices a bit will be the key to finding the Starbucks secret. It’s a recipe for me to bookmark under “it’s Autumn!”

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