Oh man. These just may be my favorite of all my scone recipes. I’m not kidding. I know I said that about the Pumpkin Brown Sugar* ones but, that was before I came up with this here super fantastic scone. I grew up with Carrot Cake being my birthday cake. And now I make it for my 4 year old son every year. It is, by far my favorite kind of cake but…I’m kinda picky about my Carrot Cake (are you surprised?).
I don’t like raisins or nuts in mine, the carrots have to be shredded by hand instead of bought that way (major textural and moisture difference), it HAS to be a cream cheese frosting and I really don’t like the frosting to be very sweet. I want to taste the cream cheese, which is what I think is so fantastic about the Carrot Cake-the pairing of a richly spiced, carrot-spiked cake with the creamy tanyiness of cream cheese. Over-sweetness is actually my issue with most cakes. It is probably why I’m really not a cake person…but rather more of a Pie gal. The painfully sweet cake frosing just ruins the whole experience for me. When all I can taste is powdered sugar, I’m done. No, I like a cake and frosting, or any dessert for that matter, to be just a tiny bit sweet so I can actually taste the other flavors.
So when developing this recipe, I definitely kept that in mind. I don’t like icing on scones, I think they have no business being there. Same with a cookie. Why the weird icing, cookie? BUT…if I’m going to make a Carrot Cake anything, the cream cheese ‘icing’ needs to present somewhere. So my solution was to barely sweeten the ‘glaze’ and the result was amazing. These taste just like a scone, but then they also taste just like Carrot Cake-it’s crazy! You can taste the spices, the brown sugar, the carrots, the cream cheese…you can actually taste every ingredient present in every bite which is perfect for me.
These are the perfect thing to make for an Easter breakfast when you have house guests. They, like all my scones can be made in advance and then wrapped in plastic, then foil, then placed in a freezer bag to be frozen for up to 3 months! I always have some sort of scone in my freezer, or to be more exact-I always have several different types of scones in my freezer because I’m always coming up with new ideas. The shelf life of these is really small…only about 3 days before they begin to go downhill. I suggest keeping these in the fridge because of the ‘icing’ and if you decide to keep them all in the freezer, wrap them individually as stated above and then take out what you need, microwave on high for 20-30 seconds and they should be good to go.
*Carrot Cake Scones
-In a food processor, with the shredding disk attachment, shred 3 peeled carrots. Remove and place in a kitchen towel. Gather up the towel like a beggars purse and wring out all the water over the sink. Set aside while you make your dough (you should have about 1 cup, packed). No need to clean out the food processor.
-Add 3 cups of all purpose flour (although, I try to use whole wheat pastry flour when I can), 3/4 cup of light brown sugar, 1 TB of baking powder, a rounded 1/2 tsp of kosher salt, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp ground allspice. Pulse to combine.
-Add in 1 1/2 sticks of cold, unsalted butter that you’ve diced. Pulse until the butter is broken down into pea sized or smaller pieces.
-With the mixer on, slowly pour cream/half and half, or milk into the spout of the processor until the dough begins to come together (this is usually about 1/2 cup). You don’t want it to become one big, wet dough ball, but you want it to be able to easily squish together in your fingers.
-Transfer the dough to a floured surface and mix in your shredded carrots by hand. When the carrots are uniformly distributed, shape the dough into a large, disk.
-Using a bench scraper, if you have one, cut the disk as you would a pie, into 8 triangles.
-Place each triangle onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 375 oven for 15-19 minutes, on the top rack, until the edges have turned golden brown and the center of each scone is not longer gooey.
-Brush the tops of each hot scone liberally with your ‘icing‘ (recipe below). Allow to cool for about 10 minutes on the sheets before transferring to a cooling rack until completely cooled.
*Cream Cheese ‘Icing’ Recipe
-In a small microwave safe bowl, mix 2 ounces of cream cheese with a pinch of salt, 3/4 tsp powdered sugar, a ‘pinch’ of orange zest, a couple splashes of orange juice (1 1/2 tsp or so), and a splash each of vanilla and almond extract. Microwave this for about 30 seconds until you can stir it with no lumps.
(*for a link to my other scone recipes, go to the Pumpkin Brown Sugar post and there will be multiple links available there.)