Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How I Stopped Paying Outrageous Prices and Found Vanilla Bean Scone Happiness


I'm a master at putting things off. All of my papers in school were written the night before they were due. Even if I get all the ingredients and am excited to bake it, I usually end up baking the Daring Baker's challenge the day before the posting date.

Perhaps that's why it's taken me so long to get this post put together. It was way back in October of last year that the lovely and talented Jaden of Steamy Kitchen held the Great Vanilla Bean giveaway and I won 1/2 lb of vanilla beans from Saffron.com.

I've had it on my mental to do list for all that time to make something really excellent with vanilla to say thank you to Jaden and to Saffron.com for the windfall of vanilla beans. It wasn't until I got an email from a blog reader requesting a vanilla bean scone recipe that I finally got off my behind and put together a recipe that is a vanilla winner.

Jo, the blog reader, said that Starbucks' vanilla bean scones were her favorite study aid, but a poor student could get rapidly more so, paying Starbucks prices. Those suckers are 75 cents each for teeny bite-sized scones! Flinging my budget to the wind, I bought three of them, so that I and my staff of taste-testers could have a standard to measure against.

I came up with a recipe that I think is close. It's not a clone, but it's quite good. Mine turned out bigger than the mini Starbucks scones, but smaller than the scone-as-a-meal size. Just right. It's got a nice crumb and is moist without feeling heavy or oily. And with three different uses of vanilla, it's sweetly satisfying.



You might notice that I use one vanilla bean to make 16 scones. "Well, where's the cost savings in that? Do you know how much those babies cost?" you ask. I do; that's why I was so giddy to win the contest and get 1/2 pound of vanilla beans for free. But you don't have to enter a contest to score big. Just go to Saffron.com. You can buy a pound (a whole ginormous pound!) of vanilla beans (that's about 100 beans!!) for only $20. And they're really nice beans, too. I know because I've been baking with them since October. Seriously good beans, people.

(I wasn't paid for that shameless plug, I just wanted to say thank you for the awesome haul of vanilla beans and to let you, my readers, in on the secret of where to get vanilla beans without taking out a second mortgage on your house or selling a kidney.)

So, thank you, Jaden, for the contest. Thank you, Saffron.com, for the wonderful vanilla beans. And thank you, Jo, for motivating me to make these lovely scones!

Triple Vanilla Scones - makes 16 scones

4 cups flour
1/2 cup vanilla sugar*
1 tsp lemon zest
1 vanilla bean
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut into small chunks
2 eggs
1 cup cream
1 tsp vanilla

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2-4 Tbsp milk


Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F. Place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Cut the vanilla bean into 2 pieces, approximately 2/3 and 1/3.

In a food processor combine the flour, sugar, zest, baking powder and salt. Scrape the seeds from the larger vanilla bean piece into the processor, reserving the empty bean for making vanilla sugar. Pulse until it’s all combined.

Add the butter to the food processor and pulse until the butter is in pea-sized and smaller pieces.

In a large bowl combine the cream, vanilla, and eggs. Beat to combine thoroughly. Dump the flour mixture into the bowl and stir, just until the flour is incorporated. Stirring too much will result in tough scones.

Divide dough in half. Pat each half into a 6-inch circle. Cut each circle into 8 equal pieces (triangles). Place the pieces on two ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 15 - 18 minutes, rotating the racks midway through baking. The scones should be light brown on top.

Let the scones cool on the sheets for 30 minutes, then paint with the glaze. A silicone basting brush is ideal for this job.

To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, milk, and the seeds scraped out of the smaller piece of vanilla bean. You can adjust the consistency of the glaze to your liking. A watery glaze will give just a shimmer of sugar to the outside. If you like a more substantial glaze (like the Bigbuck’s scones), make it as thick as white glue.

This recipe can easily be halved, or, when you’ve gotten your scones cut and onto the baking sheets, put one in the oven and one in the freezer. Let the unbaked scones freeze for about 30 minutes, then wrap them in plastic wrap and put them into a ziploc bag. To bake, unwrap them and place on a baking sheet, increasing the baking time slightly.

* If you don't have vanilla sugar on hand, make these with plain granulated sugar. Then save the scraped out bean seeds. Put them in a jar and cover them with granulated sugar. Let this sit for a week or so and you'll have lovely, fragrant vanilla sugar to stir into your coffee, sprinkle on your muffins, or to make more Triple Vanilla Scones!


33 comments:

LyB said...

What a great tip Lynn! And that scone recipe, wow, they sound awesome, I love vanilla! That makes at least 2 scone recipes of yours I need to try! :)

VeggieGirl said...

Haha, I am the QUEEN of procrastination/putting things off - but it works for me, since I work better under pressure :0)

Oooh, thanks for the tip!! Loving the scone recipe as well :0)

Brilynn said...

I've been on a scone kick lately and I love anything with vanilla beans, those sound amazing!

Melanie said...

Double thank you - I've wanted to make scones forever but never dared and now I think I will, and second, I'm excited about getting that many vanilla beans for what I usually pay for two measly ones at my grocery store. Yes!

Gretchen Noelle said...

I bought a very small amount of vanilla beans several months ago and have never made a thing with them. I think I am afraid of not having them anymore! These sound so yummy. Maybe they will even make me use a bean!

Melinda said...

Oh Lynn! We really are twins separated at birth. I can push a deadline to the very pips!
I am gearing up to use my stash of vanilla beans for a vanilla pound cake. (I shared my huge vanilla bean haul with 3 other blogger friends and we are going to make it together)
Your 3V scones sound yummilicious.

dessertobsessed said...

i love the scones at starbucks - i know exactly which ones Jo is talking about! i can't wait to try your recipe!

Gigi said...

Thanks for the link on vanilla beans! And the scones look AWESOME! I can't wait to whip up batch for myself.

Kelly-Jane said...

They sound perfect, and look gorgoeus too.

P.S. I've tagged you.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Lynn, I used a vanilla bean for the first time last week and was thrilled with it! The wonderful smell took over my kitchen and my finger tips. :)
These scones look fantastic, you made those beans proud! :)

Mandy said...

Yay for affordable vanilla beans. I usually get mine from Ebay. I bet these scones smell heavenly in the oven.

Sarah said...

Scones are my favorite and these sound so good! I have been looking for an excuse to buy vanilla beans for a while and I think I finally have my excuse...thanks! :)

eatme_delicious said...

I've been wanting to try those mini Starbucks scones! So I'm happy to see you've come up with this clone recipe. I should order some vanilla beans from that website..

Brianne said...

You must be psychic or something! I was just thinking (as I meandered through my morning list of blogs) that I could really go for some scones today. Couple that with my absolute love for vanilla, especially the 1/2lb I got from saffron.com, and I'm in! Thank you!!

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Your scones look great! Its amazing the flavor that vanilla beans give to baked goods!

Kevin said...

Vanilla bean scones sound really good!

Tartelette said...

Don't be ashamed...I would have done the same :)
They are wonderful!

Peabody said...

First off, how jealous of your 1/2 pound of vanilla beans am I!!!
These look really good. I am a vanilla girl so I can't wait to give these a try.

Aimée said...

I love how decadent these scones are Lynn. Perfect for a mother's day brunch!

Megan said...

I just won an auction on e-bay and got 49 beans for $7.80. I'm making extract for Christmas presents but you can be sure I'll use one on this tasty recipe. Perfect for Mother's Day!!!

Megan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RecipeGirl said...

I'm a vanilla girl. I'd LOVE these!! Vanilla bean anything sounds great to me.

I got my last batch of vanilla beans at Costco but they certainly weren't as cheap as your source. I'll check that out! Where do you buy vanilla sugar?

Bellini Valli said...

I need to get some of those beans:D

Dee Light said...

They look delish!! I haven't cooked with vanilla beans, I'll have to try.

SteamyKitchen said...

WOW! Very cool! I have YET to bake scones with my vanilla stash. I also have a massive bag of vanilla sugar from saffron.com that I haven't used either. Heading to the kitchen now!

Nan said...

Nice job, these sound good :) I'm still trying to work through all the vanilla beans I won in the same contest, and it's taking forever! But I'm definitely grateful, just like you :)

Big Boys Oven said...

It will be great if I can bring yours over and meet my clotted cream! I will be celebrating with love !

Sarah said...

Wow....thank you so much for the great tip to visit Saffron.com. I surely will when I decide buy a pound of vanilla beans. These scones sound soo good, I can't wait to bake them. :)

Aquariscies said...

Your Vanilla Scone recipe makes me so happy! I have a baking disease that requires me to bake at least once a week. *sigh* A curse for me but no one around me yet has complained. (Thank god) This is especially difficult because I take them to my Drama class. (I'm stil in high school) They fell over themselves trying to get to the scones! It was glorious pandomonium! There's nothing quite so fulfilling as watching friends fight tooth and nail for your baked creations.

Anyway, thank you so much! I look forward to attempting some of your other recipes!

Glimmer said...

Hi, I made them- they are delicious! Thank You for the recipe! I quoted it on my blog: http://glimmercreations.blogspot.com/2009/02/vanilla-scones.html

Gale Reeves said...

I'm new to google blog, and I want to be sure I give you proper credit for your post. I have linked this post in my blog post today. Your recipe is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

DothNotWisdomCryOut said...

I made these scones to bring to work today, and they're a big hit and a good use for all of my vanilla stuff :)

What's amazing is that this is seriously the first recipe I have ever tried (EVER) where the recipe calls for the perfect amount of frosting/icing. The icing (which I made fairly thin for a nice glaze) gives the midly-sweet scones a nice touch of sweetness on top.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try the scones as I love the expensive ones at the "Coffee Shop". I was happy to find your site. Will post another comment after I bake these up! Thanks!