Cinnamon-cappuccino-pecan scones: Let's pull out ALL the stops

A long time ago, back in the days of Wheaties and toast, America’s taste in breakfast pastry centered on muffins. Pop Tarts were the new kid on the block. Bagels had been out there forever, but only in urban pockets, where they were dense, chewy, and came in assorted varieties like plain and salt. I’m talking prehistory here, when your option for a cup of coffee was “regular” or “black.” Period.

Then came Starbucks, which in 1971 opened the first of its current 15,012 stores (in 44 countries) in Seattle. And the breakfast craze was on. Soon, Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte replaced the acrid black coffee so many of us forced ourselves to like in high school. And muffins and cinnamon rolls found themselves fighting for shelf space with… scones.

Yes, scones. I like to think we at King Arthur helped pioneer the scone craze in this country. We introduced our first scone mixes back in 1997, when they were virtually unknown among all but the most devoted and adventurous bakers. Since then, of the hundreds of mixes we sell, blueberry sour cream, cranberry orange, and cherry almond scone mixes are our three top-sellers.

Our scone mixes are a life-saver when time is of the essence. But I usually like to make my own scones. When I’m in a hurry, drop scones are easy as muffins. When I’m not in a rush, perfectly shaped wedges or circles can be a breakfast or tea centerpiece. Best of all, scones are the perfect blank slate on which to write imaginative flights of fancy.

Cinnamon-Cappuccino-Pecan Scones, anyone?

Cappuccino chips. Espresso powder. Cinnamon chips. Pecans. These scones have it all. Yet they’re still way less than half the price you’d pay for a plain cinnamon scone at the bakery. Or Starbucks.

Feeling festive? Looking for a holiday breakfast that goes way beyond Wheaties? Try these scones.

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Let’s start with my favorite scone and pie crust flour, our Mellow Pastry Blend. It’s about 1 percentage point lower in protein (about 10.5%) than King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, making it a softer, “friendlier” flour for pastry. Can you use all-purpose? Sure. Your scones may just be a bit less tender.

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And here’s another test kitchen secret (that’s not so secret since I keep talking about it all the time!): espresso powder. Notice this canister is well-used, testament to the constancy with which I grab it off the shelf

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A circle of baking friends (clockwise from bottom): cappuccino chips, espresso powder, cinnamon chips.

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One final preparation: cut cold butter into small cubes.

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So, now that we’ve staged our ingredients, let’s dive in. Mix the dry ingredients, and add the cubed butter.

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Mix till everything is unevenly crumbly; you want some largish lumps to remain.

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Grind or process pecans till they’re very finely chopped (but not pasty).

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Add pecans and chips to the flour mixture.

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Stir to combine. Add the espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon water, plus the sour cream…

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…then the ice water, enough to make a sticky dough.

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Turn the sticky dough onto a well-floured work surface. As always, I like to use my silicone rolling mat; cleanup is a breeze.

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Pat and roll the dough into an 8” to 9” circle about 3/4” thick.

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Brush with milk or cream…

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…and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar.

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Use a 2” to 2 1/4” cutter to cut out rounds.

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Take the scraps…

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…and shape them into a smooth, long rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 2 or 3 pieces, rounding the edges a bit to shape these final scones into rough circles. “Hey, you’re not supposed to cut on silicone, right?” Right. I cut just BARELY through the dough, being careful not to press hard on the silicone with my ceramic knife. You can also use a plastic knife, which is fine with silicone; I just happened to grab my Kyocera ceramic knife here, because I like it and use it for just about everything.

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All hands on deck! Er, onto a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet.

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Alternatively, you can bake the scones in a greased pan. This makes them a bit moister, as their edges won’t get quite as crusty. Twenty 2” scones will fill about three 8” round cake pans, but use whatever combination of pans you like.

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Here they are, ready to pop into the oven.

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And here they are, not QUITE done…

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…and now, fully baked. Take a peek inside the center of one of the middle scones on the baking sheet; it should be cooked all the way through, not doughy or gummy.

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Ahhhh….. a warm, crumbly scone, cinnamon chips and cappuccino chips, espresso and pecans… go all out, it’s the holidays!

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Cinnamon-Cappuccino-Pecan Scones.

Buy vs. Bake

Avg. bakery scone: 4 ounces

Buy: Bread Basket Family Bakery, Gahanna, Ohio, Cinnamon Chip Scone, $2.00

Bake at home: Cinnamon-Cappuccino-Pecan Scones, if made in 4-ounce scones, 73¢

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Toni

    PJ–You have hit the nail on the head again! The pictures don’t do these justice. KAF scone recipes are divine; I can’t wait to make them over and over this winter. Also love the Christmas scones from the KAF All-Purpose Cookbook. Glad to know they freeze well. Thanks for another outstanding scone recipe.

    Toni, you of all people should know how “divine” those scone recipes are, since you had such a huge hand in perfecting them… Thanks for your kind comments, my dear. PJH

    Reply
  2. Sarah

    These look divine! PJ, could you give a rundown on make ahead possibilities for scones? Can you freeze the unbaked dough or keep it in the fridge overnight? Would you bake it cold or warm to room temperature first? Would the success be affected by the ingredients (ie cream only vs. butter and/or eggs). Is it better to bake ahead and then freeze?

    Sarah – Best to make and shape ahead, but not bake. Freeze on the baking sheet, then wrap in plastic. You can also make and shape, then refrigerate overnight, but I prefer freezing; it stops the baking powder in its tracks, where in the fridge, the BP continues to off-gas (and gradually lose its stuff). Cream, butter, and/or eggs all freeze well in scone dough. To bake, put in the oven frozen (or slightly thawed, as you warm your oven). Bake about 25 minutes at 400°F. FYI, this info. is all in the recipe, in a tip on the right-hand side of the page… PJH

    Reply
  3. Aaron Frank

    Besides the difference in protein, what’s the difference between KAF Mellow Pastry Flour and KAF Pastry flour? How did you decide wich to use?

    Thanks,

    Aaron If you use pastry flour, you get a very tender product, but it can be very delicate and hard to work with. When you use all purpose flour, it is easy to fully develop the gluten making a chewier, less tender product, but one which is easy to work with. The mellow pastry blend gives you the best of both. It’ll be more tender than with all purpose and easier to work with than pastry. Mary @ King Arthur Flour.

    Reply
  4. Andrea

    Oh….scones. One of my first true loves. I remember my first bite of an orange scone from the Starbucks at my local Barnes and Noble….it was light, delicate, fluffy, and decidely orange. With a double shot, it was bliss. I could (and did) spend hours at that store, eating scones, drinking way too much espresso for a 17 year old, reading books, and falling in love with my best friend.

    I’ve since moved on in life – a single shot keeps me up a good portion of the night, and after having a baby, one scone is enough, thankyouverymuch. I stick to a local bookseller now instead of a conglomerate, and the best friend is dating a wonderful girl. But the memories that those scones evoke are just too grand and wonderful.

    I’m making scones for my husband’s breakfast tomorrow morning. And even though he’ll harrumph about how he doesn’t understand why I’ve got to bake “…so much…”, I know he’ll munch it on his 2 mile drive to work, drink his coffee, and tell me that he enjoyed it when he gets to work.

    Sorry for waxing poetic, but you folks truly understand how food makes memories! :)

    Indeed,Andrea – poetic waxing about food is always appreciated.Thanks for sharing- PJH

    Reply
  5. lou

    I’ve been making scones for years and have been searching for a full-bodied but tender scone recipe. Turns out that KAF mellow flour is probably the ticket! I also like the thought of being able to freeze the unbaked scones for a serendipitous moment! I’m wondering, why do you recommend not separating the scone wedges more than an inch when transferring to the baking sheet ? Thanks for the great tips. Lou

    Lou, I prefer the soft edges that the scones develop when you separate them just enough that they don’t become one big blob, but not so much that their edges get crisp/hard. If you prefer scones with crunchier edges, simply separate them more. To each his own- PJH

    Reply
  6. jlongeville

    These absolutely rocked the house this weekend!! My husband and son LOVED them. I use my 19 year old as the tester as he can brutally honest when it comes to my cooking. Love this website and love your cooking supplies!!

    Excellent – glad your son enjoyed them. It’s true, teenage boys usually have NO problem telling you exactly what they think. I remember trying to explain the concept of the “little white lie,” as regards cooking, clothing, and hairstyles, to my son; he never bought it… :) PJH

    Reply
  7. aschissler

    Tasty scones! Been looking for another use of the cappuccino chips and this was perfect. Had to twice as much water (I used some cream as well) to get the right consistency. I measured the flour by weight so not sure why it took so much more liquid. Froze half of the recipe to bake off on a Sunday morning to come when I don’t have much time to bake before church! Thanks again KAF!

    Reply

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