Butternut Sage Scones

By • October 27, 2010 • 109 Comments



Author Notes: When Autumn rolls around, it's time to make Pumpkin Scones for the farmers market here in Pound Ridge. I usually use canned pumpkin, but thought I might be able to achieve a similar product using cooked butternut squash. So I tried it. They came out pretty yummy. I am not a big fan of sage, so feel free to increase or decrease the amount. They do look very pretty decorated with the sage leaf on top, so don’t skip that step. You can always pluck it off. Keep in mind you will have to drain the cooked squash, as it contains a lot of liquid. You can do that the day before. This recipe is inspired by my pumpkin scone recipe, which is adapted from the recipe for Starbucks Pumpkin Scones here: http://www.food.com/recipe/Starbucks-Pumpkin-Scones-214051 - mrslarkinmrslarkin

Food52 Review: We've been lucky enough to taste the Scone Lady's goods firsthand (our former CTO Alain makes a point of jogging by her stand at the Pound Ridge Farmers Market on Sundays for scones and her aptly-named Crack Cookies) -- so we knew we had to try making them ourselves. Lo and behold, with mrslarkin's recipe, they come out just as delicious as the real thing -- incredibly moist, perfumed with sage and squash, and as sweet as you want them to be, depending on if you opt for the cinnamon drizzle. If you made these for breakfast, they wouldn't make it till lunch. - A&MA&M

Serves 8

  • 2 cups (about 9 oz. or 255 grams) all-purpose unbleached flour (I use King Arthur)
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top of scones
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • Scant ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Scant ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash puree (see below for directions)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing on top of scones
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 small sage leaves
  • Cinnamon drizzle, optional
  1. When measuring flour, fluff with a whisk, scoop it up with a spoon, sprinkle it into the measuring cup, and sweep off the top with the flat edge of a knife or spatula. But when I make scones, I always weigh flour, and bypass all that extra work.
  2. FOR THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH: Pierce a medium butternut squash all over with a fork or tip of a knife. Place on microwave-safe dish and cook on high for about ½ hour, turning every ten minutes or so, until soft and mushy. Cut squash down the middle. If it’s still hard in the middle, nuke it a little more. Scoop out seeds and pulp. Scoop out the soft squash, mash it a bit, and place in a mesh strainer over a bowl. Let drain for a couple hours, or overnight. Depending on the size of your butternut, you’ll probably have extra squash, as this recipe only uses ½ cup. Make soup with the rest. Or double the scone recipe. And make a little less soup.
  3. FOR THE CINNAMON DRIZZLE: mix 1 cup confectioner’s sugar with ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Add 2 tablespoons warm water. Stir until smooth. I always do this by sight, so if too loose, add more sugar. If too thick, add more water. If not cinnamon-y enough, add more cinnamon. It should be thick like corn syrup. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, place the dry ingredients and the chopped sage, and pulse to combine.
  5. Add the butter, and pulse about 10 or so times. You want to retain some small pieces of butter. Don’t blitz the heck out of it. Transfer the flour mixture to a large mixing bowl. If you've got some really large butter lumps, just squish them with the back of a fork.
  6. In a large measuring cup, place the squash, egg and heavy cream. Mix well. Pour into flour mixture. With a dinner fork, fold the wet into the dry as you gradually turn the bowl. It’s a folding motion you’re shooting for, not a stirring motion. When dough begins to gather, use a plastic bowl scraper to gently knead the dough into a ball shape.
  7. Transfer the dough ball to a floured board. Gently pat into a 6” circle. With a pastry scraper or large chef’s knife, cut into 8 triangles. I use a pie marker to score the top of the dough circle and use the lines as a guide.
  8. OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED: Place the scones on a wax paper-lined sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once they are frozen, you can store them in a plastic freezer bag for several weeks.
  9. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place frozen scones on a parchment-lined sheet pan, about 1 inch apart. Brush with cream. Take the whole sage leaves, brush front and back with cream and place on tops of scones. Sprinkle tops of scones with sugar.
  10. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes, turning pan halfway through. They are done when a wooden skewer comes out clean. When cool, drizzle with cinnamon glaze.
  11. Slather with clotted cream and fig jam, if you feel like gilding the lily. But if not, these are pretty darn good with just plain ol’ butter, too. These are great the next day, warmed in the microwave for 15 - 20 seconds. They freeze really well, too, and can be reheated in a 350 degree F oven until warm. Enjoy!
  12. BAKING TIPS: Last but not least, I highly recommend you get an oven thermometer, if you don't have one already. The success of quick breads like this depend upon a really cranking hot oven, and if your oven fluctuates, like mine does, then you can adjust your oven temp accordingly. Mine always runs cooler, so I crank it up until the thermometer reads the temp I want. Also, if you are baking less than a full batch, double up on your baking sheets, which helps prevent scorched bottoms.
Jump to Comments (109)

Comments (109) Questions (2)

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5 months ago gingerroot

As I've commented before, these have become a part of our Thanksgiving tradition. I made two batches last night to share with my son's K/1 class - they are studying family celebrations - froze them and baked them off this morning. As we shared them, the kids smelled them, "they smell like pumpkin pie," "they smell like sugar," then tasted them, "it kind of tastes like pizza!." Pizza??? I thought. Since they are so reliable I didn't taste one before sharing with the class - but quickly realized I forgot to add the 6 T sugar! (I had remembered to sprinkle the top with sugar and add the cinnamon drizzle, doh!). The kids still happily enjoyed them, and it does make for a lovely savory scone.

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5 months ago dymnyno

Great story...where do you teach?

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5 months ago gingerroot

Hi Mary! I am an educator at the Honolulu Museum of Art. I was visiting my son's class with Liz's scones. Hope you are well! Aloha.

Mrs._larkin_370

5 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

what a great story!! Good to know we can turn these babies into savory scones! Excellent investigative work, gingerroot.

Lace_cowl

7 months ago Chaiwalla

Super super love these :) Roasted the squash though -- 400 deg oven halved, face down, buttermilk instead of cream - and today I am halving the sugar - let's see what happens! I'd like them to double as a savoury scone as well -- oh and I used turbinado sugar on top - I like the big granules :) Thanks for this resipe, the flakiness and ease of making in the food processor is awesome.

Mrs._larkin_370

7 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hi sarah! So glad you like the recipe. Sugar is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture), so using less will yield a "skinnier" scone. Let us know how your savoury scones turn out!

Lace_cowl

7 months ago Chaiwalla

Well it turns out that with half (three tbsps) there doesn't seem to be much difference -- tiny bit less sweet, but still poofy and light and yummy! Not quite savoury yet -- will try another batch and see :)

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5 months ago gingerroot

Didn't read your comment before posting mine just now above - I totally forgot the sugar but had lovely (I actually split the dough into 2 rounds for 16 smaller scones) savory scones. I did not notice a change in rise or poofiness either.

Lace_cowl

5 months ago Chaiwalla

NICE! good to know - I will try too :)

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over 1 year ago Sabine Gagnon

I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon this recipe! It's always a hit. Super delicious & moist. It's truly perfection. I've always used pure canned pumpkin instead of butternut because I have a TON of it and need to use it up and it comes out fabulous! I'll be making these for a long time coming. Thank you for the recipe!

Mrs._larkin_370

7 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hello Sabine! So glad you like the recipe! I recently read about longneck squash (similar to butternut, but supposedly better.) Have you heard of that variety?

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over 1 year ago Jesper

Hi, Thanks for the great recipe. How much in grams would you say that 6 tablespoons of butter is?

Mrs._larkin_370

7 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

wow! totally missed this question - so sorry! I'm guessing you've already figure out the answer, but just in case you're still wondering....6 tablespoons (3 ounces) of butter is about 85 grams.

Also, here is my favorite metric conversion website: http://www.metric-conversions...

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over 1 year ago Franca

I've been looking at these for the better part of two years and finally got around to making them this week. My kitchen smelled heavenly as they were baking and the end result & taste was just lovely. Thank you Mrs. L

Mrs._larkin_370

over 1 year ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

You're welcome, Franca! I'm so happy you enjoyed them.

Stringio

almost 2 years ago michelle.stierwaltcarroll

So yummy and my home smells fabulous. I am excited to make make and freeze these for quick and easy holiday breakfasts. I had leftover Williams Sonoma Butternut Squash Puree leftover and it worked great instead of making my own puree. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

You're welcome, michelle. So glad you like these!

Stringio

almost 2 years ago michelle.stierwaltcarroll

So yummy and my home smells fabulous. I am excited to make make and freeze these for quick and easy holiday breakfasts. I had leftover Williams Sonoma Butternut Squash Puree leftover and it worked great instead of making my own puree. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

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over 2 years ago sugarmountaintreats

these were so tender and delicious. How do you think they would work with a brown butter-fried sage leaf on top? I suspect the brown butter flavor would complement the butternut squash nicely.

Mrs._larkin_370

over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks you smt! I think the brown butter-fried sage leaf sounds very yummy. But I think the sage leaves might burn on top of the scones if the leaves have already been fried.

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over 2 years ago calendargirl

mrslarkin, I use Clabber Girl baking powder and don't have the problem you describe with Rumford baking powder. Am about to mix up a late-night batch of pumpkin scones for the freezer so that we can have them on Thanksgiving morning... we absolutely adore these. Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Thanks for letting me know about Clabber Girl, calendargirl. I'm afraid to ever use Rumford again! You are welcome, and have a very happy Thanksgiving, too!

Cakes

almost 3 years ago Bevi

I made these last week, and were they ever wonderful! So flaky yet light. My husband was not sure he would like these (a sage and butternut squash scone was a little out of his comfort zone), but the next thing I knew he was out the door and so were 5 of the scones!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Bevi, thank you so much for letting me know! So very glad you enjoyed these.

Pamelalee

almost 3 years ago pamelalee

Thank you, mrslarkin, for a delicious scone recipe and your detailed instructions. I'm having some friends over for brunch on Saturday and mixed up a batch last night and froze them. This morning I popped one in the oven to test it: oh my, it was buttery and yummy. I think I'll serve them with cardamon pear butter.

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

You're welcome, pamelalee!! So very glad you enjoyed these. The cardamom pear butter sounds super delicious. (i love cardamom.) Hope you have a lovely brunch!

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hi all, here's an update on freezing scones. I usually use Red Star non-aluminum baking powder. I recently ran out, so I bought some Mumford's instead. After freezing solid, the Mumford scones did not rise at all when baking. So fyi, if you use Mumford's baking powder, bake the scones straightaway, and don't freeze.

Burnt_offering

almost 3 years ago Burnt Offerings

I am a HUGE fan of the freeze and bake method for your scones, because it makes breakfast entertaining so much easier. I have a standing, monthly, meeting from 10-12 for the League of Women Voters at my house, and I think if I ever decided to NOT serve your scones - there would be mutiny. But I love making them the night before and tossing them in the oven before everyone arrives. Today's weather calls for pumpkin scones - so I'll adapt this for the canned pumpkin and everyone will be happy. I have some spiced pumpkin butter to serve with them.

Mrs._larkin_370

almost 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

So glad you like these, BO! Pumpkin scones are awesome. Mmmm...spiced pumpkin butter, yummy! Have a great meeting!

P.S. my comment above should say "Rumford" not "Mumford." I wonder if anyone else has had the Rumford baking powder issue?

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over 3 years ago Creativecookery

I am usually not such a big scone fan, but these I have to try! Yum!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hope you like them!! They're one of my favorite flavors.

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

OMG these are without a doubt the best scones I've ever had!!! Not too sweet, not too much squash, just the right texture. I love them!! I took your advice to freeze the little guys solid b4 baking. Interesting note about the effect that has on the rise. They just came out of the oven, I wolfed down one, and may have to leave the house to prevent myself from eating the other 7 before dinner.

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

oh I'm so happy to hear that, ChezSuzanne! I agree, it's pretty amazing how quickly they disappear - you'd better run! ;-)

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Too late...:-)

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Made these for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning and they were amazing. My non-squash eating daughter immediately devoured two in a row before I told her they were butternut squash. All she could do was grin. Thank you so much for a fantastic recipe!!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

You're welcome, gingerroot!! So glad you guys enjoyed them.

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over 3 years ago calendargirl

I made the pumpkin version of these for breakfast on Thanksgiving and they were tender and moist and just plain fabulous. Through a series of kitchen flukes not worth repeating, I ended up using half and half instead of heavy cream, and they were still spectacular. You have changed the way I think about scones, dear mrslarkin!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

So very glad to hear that, calendargirl!! And good to know using half n half works, too! (and probably saves a few calories as well.)

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Mrs L, do you make your pumpkin scones with the same ratio of ingredients and method, minus the sage leaves? I'd love to make pumpkin scones when my son is home later this week! Thank you so much. ;o)

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hi AJ, yes, same ratio. I've found that pumpkin puree is less sweet than butternut squash, so I usually add an extra tablespoon of sugar when making pumpkin scones. P.S. The sage is very subtle and works well (and tastes great) with the pumpkin scones, too. Have a wonderful holiday!!

Hib_kitchen

over 3 years ago MyCommunalTable

Congrats!

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over 3 years ago Margy@hidethecheese

Congratulations, Mrs. Larkin! I love the idea of making these for breakfast for Thanksgiving or maybe the morning after.

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

So thankful for your kindness, everyone!!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, fellow food52ers. Let me know how these turn out for you, if you make them.