Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pumpkin Scones

I love fall... the colors, the pumpkins, the dropping temperatures...It all makes me smile! :) Here in Russia, the feeling of fall starts in late August. Officially though, it began September 1st. I have embraced the new season sooner than I would in the states. My reasoning is that I want to enjoy it before it's freezing outside and doesn't feel like fall anymore, but honestly, why wait? This season brings out the best in my love of baking! Bring on the pumpkins! As far as cooking those pumpkins, ours are a bit different here, but I've had good success so far. You might have already guessed we can't run down to our local grocery store and pick up a can of pumpkin, but it's really OK. Cooking them is not difficult. The consistency of our pumpkins takes some getting used to, but with a little cinnamon and nutmeg it turns out well every time. In my searching for new pumpkin recipes to try I came across an incredible pumpkin scone recipe that, at the urging of my mom, I decided to post on my blog. I hope you try it and enjoy it!

For the Pumpkin Scones:

  • 2 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup  brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick of butter)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon molasses (we don't have molasses so I used syrup)
  • 3 tablespoons half and half
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • For the Frosting:

    • 1/4 Cup butter
    • 1 (3 oz) pkg of cream cheese
    • 2 Cups powered sugar
    • 1/2 t vanilla
    • 1/8 t salt
    The fun part:

    Heat your oven to 400*F or 200*C (if you have a metric oven like me). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You can spray or grease your pan if you would like, but the parchment paper is SO nice!

    In a large bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all the spices together (cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg). Then, cut the cold butter into small cubes (it is very important that the butter is cold for this). Add butter to flour mixture then use a fork or a pastry cutter to “cut” the butter into the flour mixture – yes it does require some elbow grease, as my mom would say. By the end, the mixture should look like coarse crumbs. 

    Now, in another medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, molasses, half and half, vanilla extract and egg until blended. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour and butter mixture with a spoon just until a soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to a floured surface then knead it three to four times until it comes together. It can be a bit sticky.

    Next, pat or roll dough into about a 10" x 7" rectangle. If you have a pizza cutter, it is the tool of choice for cutting the scones. It is easier to cut your rectangle lengthwise first. Then cut it into 3 sections giving you 6 small rectangles. Then proceed to make your triangles. If that makes absolutely no sense, hopefully the picture will help! :)

    Spiced Pumpkin Scones Recipe

    Transfer the scones to your cooking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. If you aren't sure, just grab a toothpick and poke it into one your scones. If it's clean, you should be good to go! Make sure the scones cool completely before frosting if you don't want your frosting to melt and run. I usually can't wait to dig into the scones with melting, dripping frosting...I'm smiling right now just thinking about it! 

    Speaking of frosting, you'll want your beaters for this. It's a pretty basic put the ingredients in a bowl and blend situation. I will add though that I don't like to put all my powdered sugar in at once because I tend to be covered in it by the time I'm done. If you want to get fancy with your frosting, you might consider a zigzag pattern. :)

     Happy fall, ya'll!

    Monday, September 2, 2013

    How many winters, how many summers?

    We have a saying in Russia when you haven't seen someone in a while. Сколько зим, сколько лет? It means, "How many winters, how many summers?" Maybe it hasn't been that long, but it has been about two months since I posted last. We have had a really great, really busy summer! We took a trip south to Kolmykia with Micah (Joel's brother) and his wife Sarah.

    We had junior camp here in Domodedovo.

    And we had a group come from America and built a new roof for the house we live in with Joel's parents, sister and a few others. It's a big house! :)

    For this post I wanted to share some pictures of some of our improved living areas, thanks to some wonderful men from America! My in-laws have tried five times to get a roof on this house that wouldn't leak, and every time it was a fail. This time they decided to go for an American style roof instead of a Russian style roof. We won't know for sure until spring when several feet of snow melt at once, but right now we're nice and dry...and hopeful to stay that way!

    Joel and his brother Micah, with the help of a builder, fixed our gazebo.

    We had about 20 hornet nests in the old roof. Joel and Micah suited up and fixed the problem! :)

    Here are the four men that risked and endured much for us to have a roof that doesn't leak! :)

    We got a really horrible storm one afternoon that blew off the unattached roof and flooded the upstairs where we sleep. The men were desperately trying to fix the roof since they knew it was going to leak severely, but it wasn't safe for them to remain up there in such a severe thunderstorm. We still have some more repair work to fix that damage, but floors and walls are much easier to repair than people! We are so thankful the guys made it down safe!!

    We have had a hard time heating some of the areas in our house so they decided it was time time for some serious insulation in our new roof...and this is only half of the insulation!

    We could never thank the men enough for their incredibly hard work and the enormous blessing they were and will continue to be to us! We are excited for a cozy winter and a dry spring...on the inside of coarse! ;)