The last few days there has been a significant ‘crisp’ to the air. On Friday, we drove down by Aspen for a little family day.
It was amazing. I’ve had a cold and cough the last two weeks, and I’ve been stuck in the house feeling lousy. The aspens are beginning to turn their brilliant yellow gold, though there is still a lot of green. Each year can be a little different.
We drove to the end of Castle Creek Road, which in itself is an incredibly scenic drive. Dramatic peaks flank either side of the road, lined with extensive aspen groves. A braided creek flows through the valley, exposing wide beds of smooth stones.
After our outdoor adventure, we went into town for a bite at Meat and Cheese, which is a super cute restaurant and shop. Cheeses, cured meats, all the delicious things you want to eat cheese and cured meat with, plus a farmhouse style menu with touches of Asian-inspired cuisine. Right up our alley!
The day ended with a brief baking session in the kitchen making these pumpkin cream scones. Cream scones are one of my favorite ways to make scones. This recipe also has a little butter blended into the dough, so you get some of that flakiness too.
These are not over the top sweet, so if you want something closer to a pumpkin muffin, increase your brown sugar a tablespoon or two. Try them this way first though- the subtle sweetness and rounded spice flavors are a nice way to start the day.
High Altitude Adjusted Pumpkin Cream Scones
Adapted from Standard Baking Co. Pastries by Alison Pray and Tara Smith
This recipe was adapted for 6,500-7,000 feet. For Vail/higher elevations 8,000+: Reduce your baking powder to 1/2 tablespoon + 1/4 teaspoon.
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ¾ tablespoon + ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¾ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1¼ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice or cloves
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes, chilled)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
- Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- For topping, combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.
- Add the cubed butter and use your fingertips to work it into the flour mixture until a few pea-size chunks of butter remain.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, pumpkin puree, half and half, and molasses.
- Pour the egg mixture over the dry ingredients and fold everything together until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. You don't want to over mix or the scones will be tough.
- With an ice cream scoop, drop golf ball-size mounds on your prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
- Top each scone with pumpkin seeds and a generous dusting of the cinnamon sugar.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the scones are golden brown along the edges.
Notes: To make these scones at sea level, increase your flour to 2 1/2 cups and increase baking powder to 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon. Baking times may vary slightly.