December 2, 2009

Peppermint Candy Cane Scones

So the season is upon us - the candy cane and gingerbread season that is. While I'm not entirely nuts over eating candy canes the traditional way I love adding them to baked goods. I never thought of it really until a couple of years ago when I saw Alton Brown make some chocolate peppermint pinwheel cookies (yum by the way). After making them every year since I found the recipe, I have finally decided that it's time to expand my peppermint baking. My thought for this year was to make a peppermint scone, think about how wonderful that would be dipped in some cocoa or coffee! I googled, and I googled and had a hard time finding something to match my idea. I was just about to give up when I stumbled upon The Good Neighbor (love her).

I've always been a little intimidated by scones, imagining a dry and crumbly disaster. Really, I think this is a rational fear for many others who are curious about making scones for the first time. I couldn't have been more wrong, they're not daunting at all - in fact they may possibly be one of the easiest baked goods to throw together. Best of all, I don't have to chill the dough, whoop whoop! Inspired by the easy recipe and pack of candy canes fresh from the grocer I got out my bowl and set to work. I had My Perfect Little Helper pound the candy canes to tiny little bits (she loves crushing things for me!) while I cut the butter into the flour mix. Before I knew it we had a batch of little scones heading into a toasty oven. And before we could even clear the counter and get out of the kitchen they were done.

I cut this batch in half during baking, not wanting to screw them all up in one batch...what, it's always good to have a back-up plan. The first batch I did tiny (about 1 inch round) little scones and sprinkled them with red sugar...have I mentioned that I'm not so skilled at adjusting baking times for miniature sized treats? So that batch, although edible when fresh out of the oven, quickly turned to 1 inch stones. I kept the second half of the dough in the refrigerator just to see how it would hold up. Two days later I turned out a perfect batch of scones, perfect.

I opted for a larger size this time, using tree cookie cutters and they were stunning. The outcome is not super dessert-y, more like a sweet biscuit, which I suppose is why they're such perfect breakfast treats. This recipe is a winner and will certainly we added to the yearly list of to-bakes. I hope you enjoy!

Peppermint Candy Cane Scones (adapted from The Good Neighbor)

I adapted this recipe a little bit to fit that image I had conjured up. You can find the original recipe here, the one below is with my adjustments.

2 C flour
1/3 C sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C cold butter, cut into tablespoons
1 egg
3 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
3 candy canes, crushed (or as much as you'd like)

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives until it resembles course crumbs.

Mix in the egg, milk, extracts and candy canes just until combined.

On a floured surface pat dough into a square or circle about 1/2 inch thick. You can either slice them into triangles or cut them with cookie cutters.

Bake on un-greased cookie sheets for 12-14 min (8-10 for mini scones).

Remove to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days.

**dough can be refrigerated up to two days**

Basic Scones on Foodista

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