How to bake Petite Vanilla Bean Scones
Starbucks’ petite vanilla bean scones will forever have a special place in my heart. Both my boys loved these scones when they were little. A treat they would sometimes get when we were out walking or for bribery when flu shots were needed. Scones came to the rescue in all sorts of wonderful ways throughout the years.
My boys, now 16 and 13, don’t get nearly as excited by them as they once did, but they still enjoy them. So for them, I developed a copycat Starbucks vanilla bean scone recipe that I hope you enjoy as much as my family does.
Scones can be pronounce two ways—“skon” and “skoan.” Scones are closely related to the griddle-baked flatbread known as bannock. They were first made with oats, shaped into a large round pan, scored into four to six triangles, and cooked on a griddle either over an open fire or on top of the stove.
But the origin of the name “scone” is just as unclear as where it came from. Some food historians believe the name comes from where the Kings of Scotland were crowned, the Stone (Scone) of Destiny. Others believe the name is derived from the Dutch word “schoonbrot,” meaning fine white bread, or from the German word “sconbrot,” meaning “fine or beautiful bread.” Still others say it comes from the Gaelic “sgonn,” a shapeless mass—or large mouthful.
Despite the lack of clarity, these small cakes are actually classified as a quick bread, similar to an American biscuit, made of wheat flour, sugar, baking powder/baking soda, butter, milk, and sometimes eggs. This produces a soft and sticky dough that has the ratio one part liquid to three parts flour.
The real trick to mastering perfect scones of any size or flavor, is baking them in a moderate to hot oven so the dough sets quickly, thereby producing a light scone with a light to golden brown floury top and bottom with white sides. The texture of the interior of the scone should always be light and soft—and white in color.
These copycat vanilla bean scones are the perfect treat for kids, but why should they get all the good stuff? These mini scones also pair perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee and that much needed afternoon break we all need. These scones can also be made ahead of time and frozen until needed without damaging their delicate texture and keeps them tasting fresh so make some extra for later.
For the Scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, small dice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the Vanilla Bean Glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon bourbon vanilla beans or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scrapped
1 1/2-1 3/4 tablespoons milk
Step 1: For the Scones: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set near your work station.
Step 2: In the bowl of a food processor, such as a Cusinart fitted with a blade attachment, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse on/off quickly to blend.
Step 3: Add the butter and vanilla extract and pulse on/off to incorporate. Once the butter is blended, add the cream in two intervals while continuing to pulse on/off. Blend until a smooth dough has formed.
Step 4: Remove the dough and divide into 3 equal parts. Lightly flour a clean work surface. Using your hands, gently shape the dough into a flat disk about 3 inches in diameter circle. Using a chefs’ knife, cut the dough circle into 6 equal wedges and place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1-inch apart. Repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough.
Step 5: Place in the oven and bake till firm to the touch and the bottoms are just beginning to turn brown, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. While the scones are cooling, make the glaze.
Step 6: For the Vanilla Bean Glaze: In a small mixing bowl add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla beans and cream. Use a tablespoon to blend.
Step 7: Once the scones have cooled completely, use a small offset spatula or butter knife to frost the scones.
Menlo Park resident Andrea Potischman is a classically trained chef who shares recipes and cooking knowledge at Simmer & Sauce where this post originally appeared.