July 10, 2011

Nectarine Scones with Dried Cranberries, Spiced Pecans, and Cream Cheese Glaze

I knew that I wanted to make scones, but I could not decide what to put in them. I looked up basic scone ingredients and found Paula Deen’s Sour Cream Scone recipe. Using the ingredients from this recipe I looked around my kitchen and found some fresh nectarines. I have never baked with nectarines, but I love using peaches, so I figured these nectarines would be perfect. I also love dried cranberries, so I figured they would pair nicely with the nectarines. Finally for a little bit of crunch, I decided to add some chopped pecans. When I pulled the pecans out, I quickly remembered the Lee Brothers’ Spiced Pecans recipe that we always make for Christmas. I thought it would be interesting to use the spiced pecans in my scone recipe to add a little spice to the sweetness created by the peaches and dried cranberries. Boy did this turn out to be a dangerously delicious recipe! Too often scones become dry and bland, but these were completely the opposite. They were moist, dense (but still slightly airy), and a wonderful combination of sweet and a kick of spice. While the recipe does have several steps, each adds a unique component to the recipe. If you choose, the scones would probably be good with regular pecans instead of making the spiced pecans, but if your kitchen is already a mess, why miss out? These scones are perfect to serve at a brunch, and I thoroughly enjoyed mine with a nice glass of orange juice!

SCONE DOUGH:
4 cups of flour
10 tbsp. butter
6 oz. light yogurt (I used coconut vanilla)
½ cup light sour cream
6 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup Craisins
1 cup diced nectarines
Spiced Pecans (see recipe below)

SPICED PECANS:
1 cup pecan halves
1/3 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 tsp. ginger
1/3 tsp. paprika
1/3 tsp. cayenne
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. butter

CRUMB TOPPING:
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ cup brown sugar         
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup roughly chopped pecans
3 tbsp. butter
¼ cup milk

CREAM CHEESE DRIZZLE:
4 tbsp. cream cheese
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. milk

The butter and flour mixture should look like this.
First you will need to make the spiced pecans:
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Roughly chop the pecans halves. In a separate bowl, mix all of the spices together in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once the butter is completely melted, add the spice mix and stir well. Pour the butter/spice mixture over the chopped pecans and use a wooden spoon to stir. Spread the pecans on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Let the pecans cool before using.

The finished dough.
Next, the crumb topping: Roughly chop the pecan halves. Combine with flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Melt the butter in the microwave. Pour the butter over the rest of the ingredients and use a fork to stir everything together.

Now to make the scone dough:
About to go into the oven
Combine the chilled butter and flour. You can do this in a food processor or using a fork.  The resulting mixture should be well combined and crumbly with no big chunks of butter.  Next add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl before adding to the dry ingredients. Add the sour cream and yogurt and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Add the diced peaches, dried cranberries, and spiced pecans. Mix until well combined.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a spoon to put the dough onto the baking sheets so that there are 12 equal sized scones. You can flatten them slightly with the spoon to help ensure even baking. In the same bowl you used to melt the butter for the crumb topping, pour in ¼ cup milk. There will be some butter left in the bowl from melting the butter for the crumb topping and this is a good thing. Use a spoon to cover the tops of the scones with a light milk/butter wash. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the scones. Bake for 12-17 minutes.

Combine all of the ingredients for the cream cheese drizzle and use a mixer to achieve a smooth consistency. Pour the glaze into a plastic bag and cut the corner off. Once the scones are out of the oven and completely cool, drizzle the cream cheese glaze over the top of the scones.

Makes 12 large scones.
The final product! Yum :)



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