The aroma of cinnamon toast is one of my favorite childhood flashbacks, so much so that I can almost smell its heady fragrance just by thinking about it. Lightly toasted Wonder® bread slathered with salted butter and thickly coated with my mom’s cinnamon sugar was a favorite snack no matter what time of day. These scones are a definite upgrade from my childhood version yet are still buttery and, yes, thickly coated with Mom’s cinnamon sugar. They taste best warm from the oven, but leftovers can be gently warmed in a toaster oven set on bake. Or do as my kids do and pop them in the microwave for a second or two.
Reprinted from the book Mini Treats and Hand-Held Sweets. Copyright © 2012 by Abigail Johnson Dodge. Published by Taunton Press.
|8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled||7/12 cup granulated sugar|
|1/2 cup half-and-half, chilled||1 tablespoon baking powder|
|1 large egg||1/2 teaspoon table salt|
|1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract||1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon|
|2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour||4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted|
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a nonstick liner.
Cut the butter (8 tablespoons) in half lengthwise, cut each half lengthwise again, and then cut each strip into 8 pieces. Pile the butter onto a plate and slide it into the freezer until ready to use. Measure the half-and-half in a 1-cup glass measure; add the egg and vanilla. Using a fork, whisk until blended and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Whisk the flour, sugar (1/4 cup), baking powder, and salt in a large bowl until well blended. Add the cold butter pieces and, using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is pea-sized, about 3 minutes. (You can also do this in a food processor using short pulses, scraping the blended mixture into a large bowl before proceeding.)
Pour the egg mixture over the flour and, using a rubber spatula, stir and fold until it forms a shaggy, moist dough with some floury bits remaining. Scrape the dough and any remaining floury bits onto the counter and knead a few times until the dough is evenly moist and holds together. Be careful not to overknead the dough or the scones will be dense.
Shape the dough into an 8x4-inch rectangle. With a large knife, cut the dough crosswise into six equal strips, then cut each strip into three pieces (they’ll be about 1 1⁄3 inches each). Arrange the strips about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake until the tops are golden brown, 19 to 21 minutes. Move the cookie sheet to a wire rack and let the scones sit until they’re cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
Put the sugar (1/3 cup) and cinnamon in a small bowl (like a 6-ounce ramekin) and stir with a spoon until well blended. Put the melted butter in a similar bowl and arrange them both near the cookie sheet. Working with one scone at a time, dip the tops in the butter and gently press the buttered top into the cinnamon sugar. Arrange, cinnamon side up, on a wire rack. The scones can be served warm or at room temperature.
Cover the cooled scones and stow at room temperature for up to 1 day. Reheat in the oven, toaster oven, or microwave (briefly), if desired.
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