alice’s tea cup pumpkin scones
A true friend not only supports the decision to sit down for afternoon tea twice in one afternoon, but leads you to the best pumpkin scones in town and joins you.
Four domain changes, at least a dozen site redesigns, half a dozen Hanukkahs and Christmases, four states, and two countries. That’s how long I had known MMS before we finally met in person. Ten years ago it would have seemed incredibly impersonal to quantify the length of a friendship by the number of changes that had occurred in cyberspace, but you’d be amazed how close this blogging community has grown. Over the summer one of my work adventures in New York City left me in town over a weekend that the New York native, now living in North Carolina, just happened to be back home visiting family. After all of these years the stars had finally aligned and we set up a grown up play date in the Big Apple.
Our first stop was afternoon tea at Alice’s Tea Cup for all you can eat scones, sandwiches and sweets. We chatted endlessly over unique sandwich combinations, giant fresh-baked scones and an assortment of tea cookies and cakes. MMS only had one non-negotiable request that I must order a pumpkin scone; she described them as the scones dreams were made of and she was right. They were bursting with pumpkin flavor and glazed with the sweetest caramel sauce that left them anything but dry. I found myself craving these scones weeks after returning home to California and quickly sought out the recipe to make myself. The recipe from the Alice’s Tea Cup cookbook was easy to make and spot on in flavor. Just like the scones we enjoyed in the city, they are absolutely divine.
After a few hours of nibbling and chatting we set off to explore the city and do a little shopping. I was introduced to the gorgeous collection of Alex + Ani and we even picked up matching bracelets to remember our weekend. I felt like a schoolgirl meeting her best friend for the very first time; a welcome feeling at this stage in life. We had some time to kill before MMS needed to meet up with her family for dinner and just happened to be down the street from Ladurée SoHo. I was thrilled when I wasn’t looked at like a crazy person when I suggested a second tea service and pastries at my favorite French macaron cafe. As our tea was served, I will never forget MMS saying to me “thank you for not being crazy.” I couldn’t have summed up our day in the city better myself. After all these years of exchanging tweets, comments and holiday gifts from around the world, it was such a relief to know that the person on the other side of the screen was just as sweet in person as I had imagined. Anyone who will enjoy afternoon tea with me twice in one day is a friend for life in my book.
I have met several wonderful bloggers through conferences and local events and am beyond grateful for their friendship and support through this journey we call life. To the rest of the lovelies that I have yet to meet in person, I hope that someday our paths too may cross and we can enjoy a cup of tea or two. In the meantime, make a batch of these incredible pumpkin scones and share them with someone special.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup ground ginger
- ¼ cup ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks), cut into small cubes
- 1¼ cup buttermilk
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger and cinnamon.
- Using a pastry cutter, two forks or your hands, work the butter into the dry ingredients until a loose crumb is formed.
- Create a well in the center of your crumb mixture and add the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla extract. Use your hands to mix all ingredients until fully incorporated; do not knead.
- When a wet dough is formed, turn onto a lightly floured surface and gently pat to about 1½ inches thick.Cut rounds using a 3 inch biscuit cutter and place onto lined baking sheet. Combine scraps, gently pat and repeat cutting until all dough is used.
- Bake scones at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes until tops are lightly browned.
- While scones are baking, combine butter, brown sugar, lemon juice and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until smooth and bring to a boil. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low, add cream and whisk for an additional 5 minutes until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and use to glaze scones.
- Once baked, dip tops of each scone into glaze and return to baking sheet. For a thicker glaze, dip scones a second time a few minutes after the first glaze. Serve warm.