Friday, May 30, 2008

Carrot Cake Scones with Lemony Cream Cheese Glaze

Carrot cake is one of my favorite recipes and the Tropical Carrot Cake recipe from Rebecca Rather of The Pastry Queen fame is my go-to cake recipe (you can also find it on epicurious.) In fact, the first time I made that particular recipe was from my old subscription to Bon Appetit. Years later I found the Pastry Queen book in Borders and was casually flipping through it when I found the recipe again. As soon as I confirmed that the recipe was the same I bought the book, figuring (correctly) that if that one cake recipe was so good, then I was bound to like most of the other recipes in the book.

But I digress, because I didn't make carrot cake today. We had some carrots left over from another recipe and I wanted to use them up. Carrot cake was of course a possibility, but I love carrot cake too much to make it very often (it's usually my birthday cake though, because I can have whatever I want on my birthday -- at least that's what I tell myself). I considered several carrot muffin or cupcake options, but then I remembered the Carrot Cake Scone recipe in my Passion for Baking book which seemed perfect -- it would use my carrots up, be something new and interesting to try, and I love scones. Yup, an all-around good fit for today.

The recipe is not the quickest, or the easiest to deal with. Food processor, bowl, measuring utensils, and then an incredibly sticky dough to cut out with biscuit cutters -- I made a mess of my whole kitchen, but it was worth it. Well worth it.

I was expecting the scones to be really sweet -- like carrot cake -- but I was pleasantly surprised. The scones are soft and moist with a nice texture from the ground walnuts, and while they are sweet, they are not overly sweet. Instead most of the sweet comes from the frosting on top, and that's just a thin layer to add some sweetness to an otherwise very good scone.

3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tbsp orange zest
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup golden raisins

Cream Cheese Glaze
1/2 cup (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400. Line baking sheets (rimmed is best) with parchment paper or silpats.

In a food processor, add flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, orange zest, and walnuts and blend briefly. Add butter and pulse to make a coarse, grainy mixture. Turn out into a large bowl. Make a well in center and stir in buttermilk, egg, and vanilla (I mixed my liquids separately to combine them before adding them to the dry ingredients). Stir with a fork to make a soft batter; then fold in carrots and raisins. Let rest 5 minutes.

Pat or press dough to 3/4 inch thickness on a floured work surface (mine was incredibly sticky, so use plenty of flour). Cut into 3-inch rounds. Place on prepared baking sheets.

Bake until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. Cool scones on wire rack.

To make frosting, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until smooth. Spread frosting onto the cooled scones and enjoy.


burkie said...

i thought these were great--better than carrot cake, for my money (but i generally like scones much more than i like cake). the grainy texture from the ground walnuts really makes it!

giz said...

I can't even imagine how good these must be. It would be an entirely complete breakfast. What's not to love.

Mira said...

it's funny, until i was introduced to your baking, i would have to say i was not a big fan of scones. they're usually a pretty dry tasting baked good and i tend to crave moist baked goods. buuuut, a couple of batters of bacon cheddar scones later, and then the fantastic vanilla scones, and now THIS. i do think i am a scones person. :D