Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm a KAF Fangirl

I'm a doofus. I know it. Other people get excited when their favorite band comes to town and they wait in line for hours for tickets. This weekend I got all giddy because one of my faves came to town and I got in to see them - for FREE!

What hot band, you ask? Um, it wasn't a band. It was a baking demo by King Arthur Flour. You see? I'm a doofus.

But I'm not alone. I really wasn't alone on Saturday. There were 300 other people just like me who filled the hotel conference room to capacity, eager to hear whatever the good people from King Arthur had to say on the topic of Pies and Tarts (the first session), and Yeasted Breads (the second session).

Susan Reid, who works as an instructor at their Baking Center in Vermont and develops recipes for The Baking Sheet, was our instructor. She's got tons of experience, a relaxed attitude to baking, and was really fun to watch as she prepared a pie crust for an apple pie. If you'd like to watch her and pick up a few pie crust pointers, she's got a great tutorial here.

She answered questions about what makes King Arthur flour special (consistency, high protein, and their pickiness, in a nutshell) and general baking question. After the demo, the ladies and their helpers unloaded a ton of door prizes - sacks of KA flour, scone mixes, treats from their sponsors, Hershey, Red Label Yeast, Cabot Cheese and items from the KA catalog (what I call the Wish List). Even though I didn't win a prize, I was happy with sponsor coupons, a dough scraper, and coupons from King Arthur. Yeah!

One of the things that KA does that is so great (or evil, depending on how chubby I'm feeling), is send out emails with links to recipes and pictures that make me whimper, "I want it NOW!" A recent email featured pumpkin scones. Good gosh, fabulous pumpkin scones that wouldn't leave my mind, but begged to be made. So I did. With my own pumpkin puree.

So, this post, besides being a tribute to one of my favorite baking companies, is also to let you know that if you've always wondered about how to turn your own pumpkin into puree, I've got a piece on just that subject over at Simple Bites. So skip over there, read all about it, then come back here and bake some scones. You know you want them!

Harvest Pumpkin Scones
- adapted from King Arthur Flour

2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup Cinnamon Flav-R-Bites
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon-sugar for topping

1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.

2) Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.

3) Stir in the Cinnamon Flav-R-Bites. They look like cat kibble, but they're delicious. You'll want them in there. Trust me.

4) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth.

5) Add the pumpkin/egg to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.

6) Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.

7) Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5 to 6" circle. The circles should be about 3/4" thick.

8) Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.

9) Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.

10) Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.

11) For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.

12) Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs. If you pull one of the scones away from the others, the edges should look baked through, not wet or doughy.

13) Remove the scones from the oven, and serve warm. Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature. Reheat very briefly in the microwave, if desired.

Yield: 12 scones.


Allison said...

Beautiful scones! Thanks for coming to our demo - and sharing about it here. I'll make sure Susan and the crew see it! Happy baking -Allison@KAF

Mindy said...

As always, you are amazing and entertaining. Love the thought of you sitting in a flour lecture. :)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Yay I finally found some King Arthur white flour and brought it home from Seattle on the weekend. It would of course be perfect for making tghese scones.

CaSaundraLeigh said...

Sounds like a fun event!

Melinda said...

I love my KAF emails. I have made loads of nice things from their recipes.
I saw this recipe and thought it looked really good. Yours have turned out beautiful!
I am your doofus twin, you know.

Homemade Heaven said...

I am more likely to attend a cooking demo than a rock concert, even if I love the band playing.
Although we can't get KA in South Africa, I would certainly try these lovely scones.

Cafe Pepela said...

Woow very beautiful!

Deborah said...

I would want to go to a baking demonstration any day over a concert!! I'm loving pumpkin this year and these look so delicious!!

scrambledhenfruit said...

I'm a KA fan as well- I'd absolutely love to go to a baking demo! Those scones are lovely. :)

grace said...

i'm totally a kaf groupie--there's nothing to be ashamed of! beautiful scones, lynn.

Barbara said...

You are NOT a doofus! I would have been there with bells on!
Yummy scones!