Vanilla Scones

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I love how simple, yet elegant these scones are. They’re light and flaky, like biting into a puffy, vanilla cloud. Don’t mistake vanilla for boring and bland. With so many layers of vanilla flavor, that would be impossible. This scone is also adaptable for different vanilla-infused flavors. I’ve already adapted the recipe to make a vanilla orange scone, (coming soon.) Kids seem to love them, too. They were the favorite when we had friends over for brunch. Rachael and her friends loved them.

Vanilla Scones

Ingredients

For the scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. vanilla sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. coarse salt
8 tbsp. (4 oz.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup milk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
½ cup low fat plain greek yogurt

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4-5 tsp. milk

You will need to make the vanilla sugar several hours to two days in advance. The longer the vanilla mingles with the sugar, the more vanilla flavor will be imparted to the sugar.

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Split open and scrape the seeds out of one vanilla bean pod.

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Measure 1 cup of sugar. Add the vanilla bean and stir and massage the seeds into the sugar. Add and cover the vanilla bean pod to the sugar. Seal the sugar mixture in an air-tight container for several hours to two days.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, vanilla sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and toss lightly to combine. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the largest butter pieces are the size of peas and the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the milk, vanilla and yogurt to the bowl. Mix together lightly with a spatula or fork until a sticky dough comes together. Very gently and briefly, knead lightly with your hands to incorporate the remaining loose flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough out to approximately a 7-8 inch square. Fold into thirds like a business letter. Pat the dough out into a 5 x 10-inch rectangle. With a lightly floured large knife or a sharp bench scraper, slice the rectangle in half lengthwise. Then cut each half into 5 equal rectangles to make 10 scones total.

Transfer the scones to a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Bake, rotating halfway through the baking time, until golden on top and just set, about 12-14 minutes total. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.

While the scones are still warm, make the glaze. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and the seeds scraped from the vanilla bean in a small bowl. Whisk in the milk a teaspoon at a time until you have a glaze that is slightly thick but pourable. If you accidentally add too much milk, stir in some powdered sugar until you achieve the correct thickness. Drizzle the glaze over the warm scones. Do not add the glaze to the scones right after they come out of the oven. The scones will be too warm to allow the glaze to set. Let set a few minutes before serving.

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Daisy tea party

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The lovely little ladies of the Daisy troop I lead have been asking to have a tea party for months. May has Mother’s Day, spring flowers, and gentle sunshine; what better month to have a garden tea party? And what better reason than a tea party to craft, put together beautiful flower arrangements, and make flaky, fluffy, mouth-watering scones?

The first thing I wanted to do was to make a gumdrop topiary. They’re a little bit whimsical and an edible decoration.

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Step 1
Decorate terra cotta pot. If you choose to paint the pot, you’ll need paint that says it’s suitable for terra cotta or outdoor uses.

Step 2
Choose or cut a dowel rod to the appropriate height. These topiaries are going to be top heavy, so you don’t want the dowel rod to be too tall or thin. Paint dowel rod. Cover the hole in the bottom of the pot with heavy duty paper. Hot glue the dowel rod to the bottom of the pot in the center.

Step 3
Mix plaster of Paris according to package directions and fill the pot 3/4 of the way full. Allow plaster to set. This step prevents the topiary from toppling over once the gumdrops are on top.

Step 4
Choose a styrofoam ball for the top. You’ll want the ball to be smaller than the pot, because once you affix the gumdrops, the ball will be a bit larger than the pot. Once the plaster has set, put the ball onto the dowel rod approximately 1/3 of the way into the ball. Remove ball.

Step 5
Cover the ball in foil so that styrofoam bits don’t get onto the gumdrops. I chose to use colored candy foil, which you can purchase at your local cake and candy store. Hot glue foil onto the ball.

Step 6
Using toothpicks, affix the gumdrops to the styrofoam ball. I push the toothpick through the gumdrop most of the way and then push the toothpick into the ball. I use the flat edge of a butter knife to push the toothpick the rest of the way through the gumdrop. Use two toothpicks to secure the gumdrops on the underside of the ball.

More decorations!
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I found these chalkboard painted items at my craft store. I used liquid chalk to write on them. I thought the little daisy clips would be perfect to keep track of each girl’s plate.
I love the flowers I end up finding at Whole Foods. As flowers go, they’re inexpensive and always look full and vibrant. For this party, I decided on Gerber daisies, (you have to have daisies) peonies, and hyacinth. I was absolutely tickled when I found a teacup flower planter at my craft store. How could I not use it for a flower arrangement?

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But I think the most beautiful flowers came from one of my Daisies!

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Food
It’s always fun to get dressed in frilly, puffy dresses and pretend to be proper, drinking tea with pinkies elevated. But the best part of any tea party is the food. The Daisy moms pulled together and made some fabulous garden party food: tea sandwiches with egg salad, chicken salad, cucumber, Nutella and fruit….no, not all on the same sandwich. We had juicy fruit and crunchy veggies, chocolatey cookies, and gorgeous cake pops.
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I made one of my favorite party drinks, blueberry lemonade punch. I also had a genius idea: made blueberry lemonade ice cubes. It keeps the lemonade cold, but doesn’t dilute the punch once they begin to melt. The only problem with this genius was that once the cubes did melt, the free-floating blueberries got in the way of the drink dispenser. But at least it looked pretty.
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I was excited because I made the scones, a quintessential part of every tea party. I had never made scones before and was excited to try my hand at it. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did try one of the recipes for teacher appreciation week, which resulted in some pretty major Pinterest derp.
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At least they tasted good.

Fortunately, these scones turned out much better than my first attempt. It’s amazing how that can happen when one follows directions! I made blueberry scones, cheddar bacon scones, and triple vanilla scones. I’ll make the recipes separate posts and link them here. But until then, be tempted and drool over pictures of the final products.

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Everyone had a good time at the tea party, especially the girls. Proper lemonade sipping and scone nibbling soon gave way to sliding on our slide backwards and upside down, dog piles in the play room, and games of tag that led girls under tea tables covered in bright tablecloths. I’m sure the sugar they had had nothing to do with it at all.

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