Friday, November 23, 2012

Vanilla Bean Scones

My sister-in-law, Lisa, has to be Starbucks’ number one fan. Any time we go out to dinner with her and her husband, Don, we have to end the evening at our local shop enjoying lattes and tea. We call it “going for Earl Grey” since that is my husband’s favorite beverage. My drink choice varies from mocha lattes to the flavor of the month, with the occasional black tea thrown into the mix. Lisa always orders a tall mocha latte, non-fat, no whip, fireball (190 degrees.) In fact, the baristas know her so well they start making her drink when they see her walk in the door!

(This is a photo of Lisa and Don taken last Christmas. Aren't they cute together!)

Lisa also loves the petite vanilla bean scones. They are her dessert of choice. So last spring when I saw an episode of The Pioneer Woman when Ree Drummond made her own version of these tiny scones, I knew I had to make some for Lisa for her birthday, which was this week.

These little scones taste amazing! I only had one problem with the recipe…the vanilla beans. Yes, the beans are a wonderful way to impart vanilla flavor into the scones, and they look nice with all of the little black dots of vanilla. However, the recipe calls for three beans—two for the scones and one for the glaze. At my store they sell the beans two in a jar. So I would have to buy two jars to get the necessary beans. That’s $20, which seems like a lot for just one ingredient.

Still I wanted those little black dots. So I used two beans (one for the scones and one for the glaze) to get the look I wanted, and then I added 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla to the scone recipe to make up for the missing bean’s flavor.

Lisa loved them! And Don said they were better than the coffee shop kind.

I agree.

Vanilla Bean Scones
Adapted from a recipe by Ree Drummond on The Pioneer Woman Cooks website
Makes 24 scones

For the scones:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg

For the glaze:
1/2 cup whole milk, plus more if needed
1 vanilla bean
5 cups powdered sugar
Dash of salt

Measure out the cream. Split the vanilla bean pod lengthwise and scrap out all of the seeds inside. Add the seeds and the bean pod to the cream. Add the vanilla extract to the cream. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into tiny cubes and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it becomes tiny sand-like crumbles.

Remove the vanilla bean pod from the cream. Pour the cream into the flour mixture and stir gently with a fork until just moistened and it starts to come together. The mixture will be crumbly, but if you squeeze it together it should hold its shape. Add more cream if necessary.

Pour the scone mixture onto a floured surface and shape into a rectangle. Use a rolling pin to spread out the rectangle until the dough is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, trim the edged to even-out the sides of the dough rectangle. Cut the dough into 12 squares or rectangles (3 cuts across and 2 cuts lengthwise), and then cut each square in half on the diagonal to make triangles.

Place the scone triangles onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the scones just begin to turn golden in color. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the scones to cool on the sheets for 15 minutes. Remove the scones from the baking sheets onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.

For the glaze, measure the milk into a measuring up. Slice the vanilla bean pod in half lengthwise and scrap out the seeds. Put the seeds and pod into the milk and set aside.

Sift the powdered sugar into a large bowl. Sprinkle in the salt. Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk and pour into the sugar, whisking until smooth. Add more milk if necessary to get the desired consistency.  
Dip the cooled scones into the glaze until completely coated. Set the scones on a cooling rack with parchment paper or foil underneath to catch the drips. Allow the scones to sit until the glaze has completely dried. Store in an air tight container.


  1. Yum, homemade is ALWAYS better than shop! these look gorgeous, and I like the way you combated the appearance problems. I love vanilla things, so...might have to make!

  2. These scones look wonderful! Vanilla anything is a favorite of mine! I buy my vanilla beans at You can get 3 vanilla beans in a glass tube from either Madagascar or Mexico and they sell for 9.35. I love Penzeys!!

  3. Kathy, thanks for the reminder about Penzeys. Perhaps I can make this recipe with all beans after all!

  4. I love homemade scones and using vanilla beans. These look yummy and great for a weekend breakfast.