I’d set out with this recipe to make my very own Starbucks-inspired petite vanilla bean scones. A coworker told me loooong ago that Starbucks had these amazing little treats, but just between you and I, I’m not a fan of their larger scones and felt it wasn’t necessary to give any other scones any more of my time.
But I caved one day not long ago. And I’m hooked. So hooked on their tiny, awesome, wonderful, delicious little vanilla bean scones. So naturally I needed to see if I could make them at home.
The first recipe I found when looking up ones for these little beauts was The Pioneer Woman’s version. Since we’ve had great luck with a scone recipe of hers not long ago, I thought why not give hers a go this time as well. Preview: we were not led astray, my friends.
Vanilla bean tip: yes, the strange, long, thin, leathery things known as vanilla beans are expensive, but you only need two for this recipe. I buy them at stores like TJ Maxx, from their gourmet food aisle, where I often find small jars containing two beans for roughly $5. You can also order them online from Amazon, and if you have a handy Prime membership, all the better. The more you buy, usually, the more you save, but they do have a shelf life.
So here you have the vanilla beans – the picture’s not the best, but the idea is to split the beans down the middle and scrape out the tiny beans with the blade of your knife. It will be thick and sticky and likely hard to stir into the cream at first, but once you get it in there and stirred up, let the cream and vanilla have time to mingle. This is going to get stirred into the dry mixture for the scones. Take a moment to breath in that incredible aroma. Can you believe I wasn’t that big a fan of vanilla-flavored food before using fresh vanilla beans? Slap me, I deserve it.
A well-equipped kitchen is such an obvious delight of a playground for us at Full Fork Ahead, but there are actually few gadgets and kitchen tools I’d officially scoot you to the store for. A pastry blender is one of them. Maybe we’ve just baked a lot since opening the blog doors, but this has honestly been one of the most useful things I’ve ever purchased and released into the wilds of my kitchen drawers. And I got it on sale at a Williams-Sonoma outlet for about $7. It has earned that and more countless times over. In truth I’ve just about worn it out, but it’s a trooper. Use it to cut the butter into the flour mixture much easier and quicker than you could with a fork. Keep doing so till you get a texture similar to shown above.
Time to add in all that luscious vanilla-infused cream, plus one egg that’s stirred into it. If you look closely, you can see all those little specks of vanilla bean. Gonna. Be. SO. GOOD.
After mixing in all that yummy creamy goodness, this really is what you should end up with on your floured board. It looks like a shaggy mess – cuz it is. It should be your motto: play with your food, and play with it often. Scones are great for that. From here you do need to be diligent though because the butter will melt the more you mess with this stuff and you might end up like me and have to scrape some of your dough off the board, reshape it, etc. Roll out, shape into a rectangle, make your cuts and get them on your cookie sheet. So play a little in this instance, but don’t forget you’re working, too.
OK, so it’s not an exact rectangle, but it’s close enough!
Using either a sharp knife, pastry cutter or even a pizza cutter, make yourself 12 squares. Each of those gets cut crosswise into triangles. Place them at least an inch or two apart on parchment paper or silplat baking mat-lined baking sheets and pop ‘em in the oven. Drool as they bake. Wipe up your drool. Repeat.
Now, it did surprise me how big these things got. They’re really twice the size of Starbucks’ delectable, cute scones. In retrospect? YAY! More scone for mama!
Now, a moment of awed, respectful silence for the glaze.
Ok, done! One of the best parts of the original is that yummy vanilla bean glaze. That’s right, it’s time to sacrifice another vanilla bean. Good thing, too. This glaze really seals in all the things that are wonderful about these scones. We went with the exact measurements in the recipe; there was no need to add extra sugar (good thing, too, at 5 CUPS!!) to thicken or milk to thin it. It should be pourable but thick enough to thickly coat a spoon.
That’s my hubby doing a dunking demo for you. My man. Prepping delicious vanilla scones. Which he then ate and loved. Swoon!
The last step is to let the dunked scones set for a bit to allow the glaze to dry. Wile it’s tempting to taste one ASAP, and you should, they actually tasted best the next day.
These were a huge hit across the board. Hubby and kidlet – yes, I said kidlet, who rarely eats anything I cook, cuz hello, picky – enjoyed them immensely. I took what was left come Monday to work, a surprising amount because we honestly didn’t want to part with them (Noooo, my scones, preciousss!), and they were a hit there as well. Nothing feels more complimentary than when folks ask you to please make more right away. These scones are tender, moist and the glaze is sweet but just the right amount. Enjoy.
Vanilla Bean Scones
from Petite Vanilla Scones by The Pioneer Woman
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: about 18 minutes (per cookie sheet) Level: Easy Serves: 12
For the scones:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, chilled
- 1 whole large egg
- 3/4 cups heavy cream (more if needed)
- 2 whole vanilla beans
For the glaze:
- 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup whole milk, more if needed for thinning
- 1 whole vanilla bean
- Dash Of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Split the vanilla beans down the middle lengthwise and scrape out all the vanilla “caviar” inside. Stir caviar into cream. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Sift together flour, 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut cold butter into pats, then use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour. Keep going until mixture resembles crumbs.
Mix vanilla cream with egg, then combine with flour mixture; stir gently with a fork just until it comes together.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and lightly press it together until it forms a rough rectangle. (Mixture will be pretty crumbly.) Use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. Use your hands to help with the forming if necessary.
Use a knife to trim into a symmetrical rectangle, then cut the rectangle into 12 symmetrical squares/rectangles. Next, cut each square/rectangle in half diagonally, to form two triangles.
Transfer to a parchment or baking mat-lined cookie sheet, at least one inch apart, and bake for 18 minutes, removing from the oven just before they start to turn golden. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the glaze:
To make the icing, split one vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the caviar. Stir caviar into milk; allow to sit for awhile. Mix powdered sugar with the vanilla milk, adding more powdered sugar or milk if necessary to get the consistency the right thickness. Stir or whisk until completely smooth.
One at a time, carefully dunk each cooled scone in the glaze, turning it over if necessary. Transfer to parchment paper or the cooling rack. Allow the glaze to set completely, about an hour. Scones will keep several days if glazed.
Though the original recipe says this will serve 12, and you get 24 total, but there were several people that two weren’t enough – they definitely spark the ‘ole taste bud interest!
The scone portion calls for two vanilla beans but I only had two total, so only used one in the scone mixture. They turned out yummy, though next time I would probably go ahead and use two as called for. Still, it’s your choice. One will do, and do quite well considering how much the recipe makes – a lot.
As mentioned above, my scones baked up bigger than expected, but it worked out fine as they were tender, moist and the glaze rounded them out perfectly.