These iced gluten free pumpkin scones taste like pumpkin pie in a neat little handheld pastry. Made with my favorite pumpkin butter, and spiced just right!
I make no secret of how much I love fall: the clothes (everyone looks lovely in a turtle neck!), the activities (apple picking! visits to the pumpkin patch!), and the baking, oh the baking. When I first had to dive head first into gluten free baking, way, way back in 2004, it was early fall.
Since that was back in the dark ages of gluten free baking, I tried and failed (miserably) to recreate all my favorite baking recipes. It was a real heartbreak. I wanted my gluten free son to know all the wonders of the season. But now, more than a decade later, I am fully convinced of what I promise you all the time: if they can make it with gluten, we can make it without.
One of the biggest differences between gluten free baking and conventional baking is moisture balance. Gluten free flour blends tend to absorb more moisture than conventional flours. But it’s a balance, you see. Baking with straight-up pumpkin puree adds too much moisture to baked goods, so I generally do not bake with it (unless we’re talking pumpkin pie filling).
I do nearly all of my pumpkin-baking with pumpkin butter, which is just a thickly concentrated mixture of pumpkin puree, maple syrup, spices and a touch of apple juice (since there’s no pumpkin juice!). I make a huge batch of my easy homemade pumpkin butter every so often, and it keeps in the refrigerator for weeks. But you can certainly buy it off the shelf. Trader Joe’s has it own brand, and it’s well-priced and quite tasty.
You can even make the dough for these gluten free pumpkin scones as far as a week ahead of time and freeze it on a baking sheet. Bake it right from frozen, and mix up the icing while the scones cool.
These lightly sweet lightly iced scones aren’t overwhelming in spice, although of course you could add more pumpkin pie spice if you just can’t get enough of the stuff. Baking with pumpkin butter means that we get a pastry-style texture in these gluten free pumpkin scones—plus deep pumpkin flavor and aroma. It will remind you of the very best parts of the Thanksgiving season. Long live fall!
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
5 tablespoons (60 g) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, roughly chopped and chilled
5 ounces pumpkin butter (homemade or store-bought), chilled
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz.) heavy cream, chilled
*To make your own pumpkin pie spice, combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
For the Icing 1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the cold, chopped butter and toss to combine. With well-floured hands, flatten each piece of butter between a thumb and forefinger, handling the butter as little as possible. Add the pumpkin butter and cream, and mix just until the dough comes together.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured piece of parchment paper and, with well-floured hands, lightly pat the dough into a round. Sprinkle the dough lightly with a bit of flour, cover with another sheet of unbleached parchment paper and roll out into a circle about 8-inches in diameter and about 1/2-inch thick. Place the dough into the freezer and chill until firm, about 10 minutes. Remove the dough from the freezer and, with a floured bench scraper or large, sharp knife, slice the dough into 8 triangles (the first two cuts are perpendicular lines through the center of the dough).
Place the triangles onto the prepared baking sheet and bake, rotating once, until lightly golden brown all over, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the scones on a wire rack to cool completely.
While the scones are cooling, make the white icing. Place about half of the confectioners’ sugar in a medium-sized bowl and add 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix to combine. It should form a very thick paste. Add more milk by the quarter-teaspoonful, mixing vigorously until it reaches a very thickly pourable consistency. Dip the top of each cooled scone in the icing, or spoon the icing over the top and place, icing side up, back on the baking sheet.
Place the remaining confectioners’ sugar and the cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl, and whisk to combine. Add the maple syrup, and mix to combine. Again, it will form a thick paste. Add the milk by the quarter-teaspoonful mixing after each addition,mixing vigorously until it reaches a very thickly pourable consistency. Drizzle the icing over the glazed scones in a geometric pattern. Allow to set at room temperature and serve.
Originally published on the blog in 2012. Photos updated, scones recipe unchanged, method updated slightly.