Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sweet Potato & Brown Butter Scones

Scones and I, we go way back. They hold a special place in my heart. Everytime I bake them it brings back memories of lazy Sunday afternoons, girly high teas and family gatherings. Nowadays I don't stray too far from my plain scone recipe, it's so easy and delightfully fluffy. But every now and then I get the urge to mix it up a little. This time it led me to these Sweet Potato & Brown Butter Scones.
I've mentioned before that I've been desperately trying to find balance in my life. The last few months have been exhausting and non-stop hectic but I do feel like I'm finally starting to get into a good rhythm. For one thing I've been restricting my baking to about once a week, which is great because I don't have to wake up an hour earlier on a weekday to run around taking photos of things before work, just as the sun is rising. But it does mean that when I'm super busy on the weekend I sometimes don't find time to bake at all. And while this is good for my waistline, it's not so good for the blog.
This is one of the many reasons why I love scones. They are so damn easy. I was on my way back from lunch on Sunday and started daydreaming about scones. A quick trip to the supermarket for ingredients including some extremely cheap and very sweet strawberries and I was home at 3.30pm. The scones were mixed up, baked, photographed and eaten by 5pm.
Even though I am usually a scone purist, this flavour is pretty spectacular. I've used sweet potato in a cake before but never in a scone. It's pretty similar to a pumpkin scone, but I definitely prefer the sweeter flavour of this one over one made with pumpkin. Add to that the magic of brown butter...Oh brown butter, how I love thee. The colour, the richness and that slight nuttiness works so very well in this scone. There's also the added convenience of being able to mix melted butter into the scone mixture, rather than having to rub cold butter in to the flour. Avoiding this step is one of the many reasons why I usually prefer cream scones, but this is one butter scone that manages to match the convenience and lightness of a cream scone.
I was really surprised by how light and fluffy these scones turned out. I was expecting a certain amount of denseness due to the starch from the sweet potato, but they were so soft and airy. The dough is very soft and a tad sticky so don't be afraid to dust your surfaces, your hands and the outside of the dough very well to stop it from sticking while cutting your scones. The browned butter and sweet potato gave the scones this beautiful golden orange colour and an sweet, inviting, buttery smell. The addition of a little brown sugar means that these scones taste pretty great on their own, maybe with a dab of butter but I served them with some clotted cream and thin slices of fresh strawberries and it was utter bliss. And so pretty!
Sweet Potato & Brown Butter Scones
(adapted from this recipe, makes about 10)
1 3/4 cups (245 g) plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup (250 g) cooked, mashed orange sweet potato
60g unsalted butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk (I used skim)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp brown sugar
To serve: Clotted cream & fresh strawberries, maybe a drizzle of maple syrup

Prepare your sweet potato first. I boiled mine until very tender, mashed and then set aside to cool. Place butter in a small saucepan on low heat and brown, swirling the mixture regularly so it heats evenly. Set aside. Preheat oven to 210°C (410°C). Sift flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg into a small bowl. Stir together sweet potato, browned butter, milk, egg and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut flour mixture into the wet ingredients using a flat bladed knife until just evenly moistened.
Turn dough out onto a well floured work surface. With floured hands, gently pat (don't knead!) out to a 2-3cm-thick round (I like them thick, so I do 3cm). Cut into rounds with a 6 cm biscuit/scone cutter. Place rounds on a baking tray about 2.5 cm apart. Gather up remaining dough. Pat into a circle; cut out remaining scones. Brush tops of the scones with some extra milk using a pastry brush. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes, cover with a clean tea towel once out of the oven to keep them soft. Serve warm with clotted cream and sliced fresh strawberries and maybe a little maple syrup if you wish.
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  1. These are so cute, I bet the brown butter would have been incredible in them!

  2. oh baby brown butter get in mah belly

  3. Ooh what an interesting idea! I hadn't thought of cutting brown butter in.... mmmm...

  4. Oh my Lord! I think I just died and went to heaven. I MUST try these. I've always made pumpkin scones, but for some reason I had never thought to use sweet potato in the same way. The browned butter is just another level of genius. I'm thinking spread with some cinnamon butter might be the way to go here....mmmmm

  5. Would never have thought to make scones with sweet potato but these look divine! Love the food styling too :)

  6. I don't know if in Italy there are sweet potatoes... but these scones look so cute, mmmm!
    I love your blog, i'll join it now!

  7. W O W. Your blog is Beautiful. :) Stunning photography.
    Love. Love. Love. !!!!

  8. They must be delicious!!!! Great photos!

  9. que rico. Que buena receta. Saludos.

  10. Such pretty colours :) I just had a cruskit for morning tea. Not the same :( lol

  11. Oh I can't wait to try these, I love sweet potato! Another brilliant creation Steph, you are AMAZING!! =D

  12. I made citrus and candy's sweet potato bundt cake and loved it so i am sure this is amazing, especially since i love pumpkin scones.

  13. I've never seen anything but traditional scones but I would LOVE to make these. Your photos are also so amazing too...

  14. I am a scone virgin. And I want these to pop my scone cherry. Gosh what am I writing. I'm tired so I will blame it on that. However, I came across your blog and in particular these bad boys and just felt like I had to say just how appealing your photos look and how attracted I am to this recipe due to my weird hunger for sweet potatoes these days. I might bake your ususal go-to recipe beforehand just to have a reference, but I will make these. Yes.


  15. Lisa - The brown butter was amazebaaalllsss

    chocolatesuze - Mmmmm brown butter *drools*

    Poires au Chocolat - Try it! It's magical... - Sweet potato is such an interesting baking ingredient. Some homemade cinnamon butter would be insanely good!!

    Helen (Grab Your Fork) - Thanks Helen! :D

    breakfast at lizzy's - No sweet potatos? Sad face!

    spiceblogger - Aww thanks so much!

    Mirasens - Thank yoU!

    luisa - Thanks

    Nic@diningwithastud - aww :( Definitely not the same, but healthy!

    LucyL - I hope you do! Sweet potato is awesome. Thanks!

    muppy - Aww Karen's cakes are the best! I hope you make them!

    Hayley Daen - Hope you like them!

    Becs@Lay the table - Thanks so much!

    T and Tea Cake - Haha you better pop your scone cherry, you're totally missing out on all the scone goodness :D Thanks so much!! xx

  16. Yum, these sound lovely. I love these photos as well - the pop of the red strawberries is just gorgeous!

  17. *inspired! I think I'll make some scones later ;)

  18. Julia @ Boredom Abounds - Thank you so much! Always love the bright, fresh colour that strawberries bring to a photograph

    Nastassja - Thanks! I hope you do :)

  19. Your pictures are masterpieces, I couldn't decide on which post should I comment. I love your blog!


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