Bread of the Month: Nodding toward nog in scones


I love the tastes of eggnog…in more than just egg nog. That quintessential combination of cream meeting nutmeg and spice with a bottom note of rum (extract), is appealing to me in any number of things — cookies, truffles and other candies, and in the traditional holiday drink itself. So, given my moniker (I am “A Woman Sconed,” after all), and it being my last bread-of-the-month for the year, I thought, why not an eggnog scone?

I was thinking of an old cookie recipe, one for nutmeg logs or crescents, that employs a good bit of nutmeg and some rum extract in a buttery cookie that is either frosted or dusted in powdered sugar. A scone could carry all the spice and flavor of a eggnog-inspired cookie.

I took a basic vanilla scone recipe and doctored it up a bit, adding some cinnamon and a good helping of nutmeg to the dry ingredients.

The scones were made in the usual method of cutting a large amount of cubed chilled butter into the dry ingredients to provide that flaky texture that makes the best scones.

To the cream used in this recipe I added some vanilla bean paste (vanilla would be fine, too) and some rum extract before whisking in an egg. This wet mixture is incorporated into the dry with a fork just until it comes together in a somewhat crumbly dough.

I cut the dough in half (sometimes it’s easier to work with by doing this), and rolled one half out to about 1/2-inch thickness. 

Since these scones were richly flavored, I wanted to make them mini size. Here, I decided to stray from scone tradition — instead of cutting into rounds or triangles, I cut rounds into half moons to honor the darker days of the season and lend a new shape to my scones (have you ever seen them in half-moons?).

I brushed the surface of the scones with a little cream and sprinkling of sparkling sanding sugar (more gilding would come post-baking).

As the scones baked, I felt confident I had captured the proper yuletide flavor — the house smelled like eggnog! They emerged from the oven a light golden brown and puffed to slightly higher flaky stature than their pre-baked thickness.

I decided against powdered sugar or traditional powdered sugar glaze (not always my favorite embellishment) for the scones, and instead made a wee amount of white chocolate ganache, which, despite its chocolate title, tastes more vanilla than anything. I heated a little cream and added it to the the white chocolate chips, and when all had melted into a smooth glaze, I added few drops of drum extract.

Using one of my handy plastic bottles with the pointed trip, I glazed the cooled mini scones with he ganache. They were becoming something really pretty.

I was going to top with nutmeg, but realized I had some of my King Arthur Flour “Yuletide Cheer Spice,” which includes nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon and a little orange peel. I have used the spice to sprinkle atop eggnog and baked custard, and it lends the perfect amount of holiday “cheer.” Just some nutmeg would work, too.

I enjoyed sprinkling my little scones that reminded me of eggnog, the rich creams and tans of one of my favorite holiday traditions (for more about my eggless, boozeless nog, read my blog post of 12/11). 

When scones met eggnog, the buttery, tender scone with its sweet notes of rum and nutmeg, the crunch of the sanding sugar, the sweet, smooth drizzle of pale glaze and the finish of Yuletide cheer. A scone that was almost as good as the drink, and was meant for holiday coffees, teas or brunches to come.

Mini Eggnog Scones

Makes 24

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg, plus extra to sprinkle on top of baked scones

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3/4 cup heavy cream, plus more to brush tops of scones

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

1/2 teaspoon rum extract

1 large egg

Sanding or sparkling sugar

Glaze: 

1 cup white chocolate chips

1/3 cup heavy cream

Dash of rum extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cut in the butter cubes with your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Whisk together cream, vanilla and rum extracts and egg. Pour over dry ingredient mixture and stir all together with a fork until the dough just comes together (mixture will be crumbly).

On a floured board or work surface and press dough together (do not over-handle the dough…it will be a little crumbly). Roll or press the dough into a large rectangle or circle, approximately 1/2- to 3/4 inch thick. Using a small round cutter (2 inches), and cut each circle in half Place on a parchment lined baking sheet at least 1-1/2 inches apart. Re-roll and cut scraps. (Note: scones can also be cut into triangles).

Brush the top of each scone with cream and sprinkle with sanding or sparkling sugar (this step is optional). Bake the scones for 15 to 17 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before glazing.

Place white chocolate chips in a bowl. Heat heavy cream  (either in a saucepan on the stovetop or in the microwave) until just hot to the touch. Pour over the chocolate chips and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled scones and sprinkle with additional nutmeg, if desired. 

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