Sunday, March 27, 2016

Carrot Cake Scones: Glazed and Seasonally Confused

To be clear, this isn't for you.

If it was, I would have posted the recipe a year ago after the first time I made these carrot cake scones for my family's Easter brunch. While I did fully intend to share them with you at that time, mostly to prove that I do eat things other than quinoa salads, I probably decided to watch something on Netflix instead, so I could be the cool kid at work who is all caught up on "House of Cards."

Full Disclosure: I'm neither cool, nor all caught up on "House of Cards," because I never actually made it through season 2.

Naturally, after a few weeks of said procrastinating (more likely attributed to catching up on "The Voice"), it no longer seemed appropriate to share something carrot cake-inspired. I mean, obviously carrot cake things are only fit for the brief window of spring when apples and citrus are on their way out and berries aren't quite as alluring as we want them to be, so we all just go crazy about fava beans (!!!) and peas and sugar snaps instead.

Carrots aren't even necessarily that spring-centric other than their casual tie to the Easter Bunny, but for the sake of me NOT losing all motivation to post this NOW because I've disproven my excuse that it was imprudent to share a carrot cake recipe out-of-season last year, I'm going to soldier on here.

But not before clarifying that, again, this isn't for you.

The sole reason that I'm even typing this out when I should be cleaning my apartment, putting my folded laundry away and prepping some form of quinoa salad for my lunches this week (old habits…), is that I don't want to forget the exact details of how I made these, my favorite of perhaps all the scones I've baked in life. You know, like five whole recipes. Maaaaybe six.

The point is… I need a record of what I did, so that I can bake them again next year, and the year after that, and likely on some non-occasional days in between when eating carrot cake scones is just the right thing to do.

I'd hazard to say that it's always the right thing to do. Whether on Easter or a random morning when there are a couple of seasonally suspect carrots languishing in the crisper.

Carrot Cake Scones
Makes 8 scones

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Generous 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
Scant 1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 heaping (or packed) cup finely grated carrot (about 2 large carrots)
1/3 cup currants (or raisins)
Toasted pecans, chopped (to finish)

Cream Cheese Glaze
Note: This will make more than you'll actually need! You won't be upset about it.

4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons milk (add more if needed to thin)

In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and sugar. Using a wire whisk, stir dry ingredients together until everything is uniformly integrated. Cut butter into chunks and, using your hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until pieces are no bigger than a large pea. Add the buttermilk, carrot and currants and use a spatula to combine with the dry ingredient/butter mixture. As soon as the batter comes together, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so it's easier to work with (it will be rather sticky!).

While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 425 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a slip pad.

In a medium bowl, beat the room temperature cream cheese for 4-5 minutes with an electric hand-held beater. Add the powdered sugar and beat for another minute or two. Add the salt, lemon juice and milk, and beat until smooth. Thin with extra milk as needed. Set aside.

Remove the dough from the fridge, and turn out on a floured surface. Using your hands, form the dough into flat circle, about an inch or so thick. With a knife, cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on the lined cookie sheet, leaving a little space between each one. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack.

Using a fork, generously drizzle the cream cheese glaze over the tops of the scones. Sprinkle the toasted pecan pieces on top. Serve immediately. These are best when fresh and slightly warm!