out of bed and into the kitchen

I’ve written before about how much I love brunch. While going out for brunch is always a real treat, the past two weekends I have stayed in for brunch, sharing leisurely Sunday midmorning meals among good friends. I have to admit that, unlimited refills of coffee aside, these homemade brunches just might trump the restaurant versions. One of the main reasons is because they have given me an excuse to have my hands deep in dough at 7:30am on a Sunday morning.

Such was the case two Sunday mornings ago, when I awoke with visions of vanilla sugar dancing in my head. Although I had already baked a decadent almond cake for brunch the night before (recipe coming soon), something inside beckoned me to preheat the oven and imbue the gray and misty morning with warmth and sweetness. I had all the ingredients on hand for my favorite cream scone recipe, which exclusively uses heavy cream as the fat element and comes together in a matter of minutes—the perfect recipe for a tranquil early morning in the kitchen.
While the original recipe calls for lemon zest and cranberries, I had vanilla bean on the brain, and thus, a new version of this scone was born complete with a vanilla bean glaze. These delicate mini scones were pure, simple, and delicious on their own, but also paired well with lemon curd at our brunch. Take this basic recipe and make it your own. I hope it adds a sweet touch to a leisurely Sunday brunch in many of your homes.

Vanilla Bean Cream Scones
(Adapted from Bon Appetit)
Makes about 24 mini scones

1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 vanilla bean
1 1/4 cups whipping cream

1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp half and half (or heavy cream)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Add sugar to a large bowl and scrape vanilla bean seeds into it. Rub mixture with your fingers to create a vanilla sugar. Add flour, baking powder and salt to sugar mixture. Add whipping cream and stir just until dough forms. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead gently just until dough holds together. Form dough into 10-inch-diameter, 1/2-inch-thick round. Cut into 12 wedges and then cut each wedge in half to create 24 mini scones. Place scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to rack to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, to make glaze, scrape seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean into a small bowl and combine with powdered sugar and half and half until smooth. Add more sugar or cream as needed to create desired texture. Spoon glaze over scones while they are still warm and allow glaze to set as scones cool completely.

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