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Peach Crumble Bars

It’s October! Or at least I think it is. You don’t always believe the calendar when you live in California because, let’s face it, it’s frequently hotter in Fall than it is in Summer. Don’t believe me? It was 102°F today! Fall is supposed to be the season of sweaters and pumpkin spice everything (yes I am a full charter member of the Pumpkin Spice Obsession Club so be prepared), not short shorts and tropical fruits. But, that’s California for you! So let’s indulge in a couple more summery desserts before we give in to all things pumpkin and cream cheese covered.

Yes, everything with pumpkin requires cream cheese frosting.

Peach Cobbler Bars

Peach Crumble Bars

Peach Blackberry Scones

Peach Blackberry Scones

Wow it’s been a long time since I posted, but I promise you I have multiple valid excuses. As you may know, baking and blogging is just a side passion of mine. My actual career/job is acting. And this past month, my career has been taking off in so many directions that I’ve barely had time to do my laundry much less keep the blog current. We’re talking 20 auditions and 4 short film lead roles and multiple business meetings and acting classes! There have also been some living situation changes that have required a lot of additional attention, but with all that settled I can come back to Once Upon An Afternoon Tea and continue pursuing acting. So more scones for you :)

But scones aren’t the only thing on our teablog menus coming up! There’s a fun scone-based dessert, some cake, and our first real tea sandwich recipe in the queue. And a lot of delicious bars/tray bakes if I ever get around to photographing them…

Peach Blackberry Scones

Peach Blackberry Scones

Recipe: Spiced Peach Scones

Well, my friends, today is the last peach recipe in my short series of peach scones. Are you sad too? I wish sometimes that all fruit was available ripe and perfect year round so that if I had a hankering for–let’s say–peaches in winter because my Spiced Peach scones would be the perfect holiday baked good, I could find peaches to make them as tasty in December as they would be in the height of peach season.

The agricultural world is so not fair.

Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

Then again, if we had the full spectrum of fruit available year round, maybe we wouldn’t appreciate the excitement and delight of each fruit coming into season. Would I cherish each carton of fresh strawberries if they were always as delicious as they are in the blush of spring? Maybe not. Maybe seasonal produce is nature’s way of giving us something to look forward too (though it definitely stinks that all my favorite fruits are spring and early summer fruits).

This recipe was a challenge for me because I had nothing to base it on. Even some recipes that I create are based in part on recipes in books, like the peach basil ones of last week were adapted from a strawberry lavender scone I found somewhere else. But none of the recipes I have bookmarked or saved used compote as its primary source of liquid. I really was flying blind here.

Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

I wanted to try cooking the fruit before incorporating it into the scone, so I decided to make a heated mixture of those fresh peaches we’ve been working with and some spices. The only problem is that I had no idea how to do it! I knew it wouldn’t be as simple as putting peaches in a saute pan and just letting them heat up. Yet I still had never made a compote before so was clueless as to how much sugar to add to the peaches, when to boil versus simmer, and how long it would take.

After some research and a little bit of math (real world application!) I attempted to make a spiced peach compote. It was so easy, I wondered why I haven’t been making fruit compotes my whole life. I feel like a whole new world of oatmeal toppings and desserts was just shown to me. Seriously, compotes are now a revelation for me: a thick, spiced syrup of gooey ripe peaches and melted sugar…are you drooling yet? You better be peeling those peaches at least!

Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

Probably because the main liquid here is a thick syrup, these scones are very dense unlike the majority of scones I make. The first time I made these I also overworked the dough, and I think it was because I didn’t add enough other liquid to incorporate the ingredients without kneading too much. Lesson to all scone makers: it is more important to lightly handle the dough than using less flour on your workspace or having less cleanup. Add more liquid to the dough so you have to knead it less. You won’t regret it.

The peaches are wonderfully soft and sweet with the spices mulling about them. Your kitchen will smell incredible, making these not only one of the best tasting scones you’ll ever make, but also one of the best air fresheners you ever used. More incentive to make multiple batches!

Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

Ingredients for Compote

  • 10 ounces chopped peeled peaches
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Ingredients for Scones

  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50 g ultrafine sugar
  • Compote
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Making the Compote
Put peaches in a small saucepan. Add sugar, stirring to coat completely. Turn stove to medium heat.
As the sugar dissolves, the peaches will release a lot of liquid. Bring this liquid to a boil. Add nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Stir well. Once mixture is boiling, leave over heat for 4 minutes to reduce liquid, stirring frequently.
Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour into a glass bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Bask in its incredible smell. Resist urge to grab a spoon and dig into the compote. Do not pour over vanilla ice cream. Do not spoon over oatmeal. Do not do anything with it but let it cool.
Making the Scones
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make sure everything is well mixed.
Add the COOLED compote (I didn’t let mine cool enough and my hands were definitely heating up when incorporating it to the dry ingredients). Once fully incorporated, add whipping cream one tablespoon at a time until dough has formed and is very moist. DO NOT OVERWORK THE DOUGH. The compote already adds a heavier element to the dough so it will be denser than most scones, but overworking it will result is very tough scones. And that would be no bueno.
Turn out onto a floured surface and pat down to desired thickness (1 cm). Cut out (5 cm) rounds and place on baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until they are puffy and beginning to turn golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

Yes these are good with clotted cream :)

Recipe: Peach Basil Scones

Unsurprisingly, the basil in my mom’s backyard is still growing like a weed. A ridiculously pleasant smelling, sweet tasting, very welcome weed, but a week nonetheless. She is almost desperate to find uses for it (okay not that desperate, caprese salads are a frequent occurrence at mealtimes) so I volunteered to add my mom’s basil to my dad’s peaches in my scones. See how scone making can become a family affair?

Peach Basil Scones

Peach Basil Scones

Peach and basil have an affinity for each other; in fact, basil is like vanilla in that it has an affinity with almost all fruit. I would say basil is like the social butterfly of herbs. It really is friends with everyone and is very inclusive. Our kindergarteners would do well to learn from basil.

The best way to check if you used enough basil in a recipe is the good old-fashioned smell test. Once the basil is all stirred in, sniff the flour (be careful not to snort up the flour as I’m sure that would be unpleasant and nasty) and use your judgment. Can you smell the basil, or do you have to struggle to get a whiff? If it isn’t a clear smell, add a little bit more. Don’t worry, it mellows as it is heated so it won’t overwhelm your little peaches.

Peach Basil Scones

Peach Basil Scones

In fact, the basil is almost an aftertaste. Think about how in wines, you describe the end of the taste as the “finish”…these scones have a basil finish. Unless of course you happen upon a large piece of basil in a single bite and then that bit is going to be basil forward. These also work well with clotted cream, like most scones with two or less flavors, but the heavy cream runs a risk of taking over the light and airy texture of the scone.

These puff up nice and high, and their flavor follows in its perkiness. Peach basil scones truly are the summery butterflies of scones!

Peach Basil Scones

Peach Basil Scones

Peach Basil Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp ultra fine sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped fresh peaches
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, or to scent
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

 In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the peaches and the basil (you may need to add more basil depending on how strong your leaves are). Toss to combine.
Add whipping cream and begin to knead together until dough forms. If mixture is too dry, add one tablespoon of cream at a time. Turn out onto a floured work surface.
Roll or pat out dough to desired thickness (1 cm) and then cut out scones with a scone cutter (5 cm). Place on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until scones have puffed up and the edges are golden brown. Turn out immediately onto a wire rack to cool.

 

Peach Basil Scones

Peach Basil Scones

Recipe: Peach and Butterscotch Scones

What happens when you get a bumper crop of peaches at your parents’ house? Why you make a bunch of scones with them! Wasn’t that an obvious answer?

My dad went through a phase where he put a bunch of fruit trees in our backyard. So now every summer we end up with two weeks of picking over a hundred peaches and they usually go bad before they can all be consumed. And they are teeny little things too. But teeny usually corresponds with cute, and cute things are great things.

Peach and Butterscotch Scones

Peach and Butterscotch Scones

Many of my scone recipes start with a single convenient ingredient–like the English cheddar or mulberries–and grow from there into combinations of flavors. With so many peaches sitting on the counter, my next convenient starting ingredient was chosen for me. Four day and a lot of scone batches later, I had three new peach scone recipes all ready for you.

Now you can always just take a basic cream scone recipe or a vanilla scone recipe (vanilla works with pretty much every single fruit) and just add chunks of fresh peaches and reduce the liquid by a few tablespoons. Doing this will yield a perfectly fine peach scone. However, I am having a blast lately creating fun pairings that others may not think of right away, so while Mom did make a batch of my cream scones and added peaches directly to it, when I got involved we went a little crazier.

Peach and Butterscotch Scones

Peach and Butterscotch Scones

Originally I wanted to make Peach and Caramel Scones, but I couldn’t find caramel bits so we adapted to Peach and Butterscotch Scones instead. The two flavors work just as well together as peach and caramel would have, but I still want to try the original idea (that may have to wait until next year’s peach crop). Until then, these are a delightfully sweet treat to hold you over. I know kids will love this scone because it is a very sugar one. Kids love butterscotch. Most adults love butterscotch too I discovered as the butterscotch scones at my job sell out before the lunch rush every time. Usually I think butterscotch is too sweet, but the peaches are a bit tart so they cut the sweetness a bit. Adding clotted cream also helps temper the jaw aching sweetness, oddly enough.

The best bites are definitely those with pieces of both peach and butterscotch, and like I said the clotted cream helps mellow the butterscotch. This is a very wet dough due to the fresh peaches, so use a heavily floured surface when patting it out. Also, probably because it is so wet, these won’t rise all that much meaning that your best indication of doneness is going to be the browning on the top.

Already on the hunt for caramel bits for next year!

Peach and Butterscotch Scones

Peach and Butterscotch Scones

Peach and Butterscotch Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed or grated
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup chopped fresh peaches
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips (if you aren’t as much of a sweets person, reduce to 1/4-1/3 cup)
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to the usual 450°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs (alternatively you could use a pastry blender to cut in the butter, but I prefer to do all my scone mixing by hand).
Add cream cheese, peaches, and butterscotch chips, stirring until well combined. Add cream and vanilla and knead until just beginning to smooth out. If the dough isn’t coming together, add one tablespoon of cream at a time until ready.
Turn out onto a floured surface (because fresh peaches are rather wet, this is a very sticky and moist dough) and pat down to desired thickness (1 cm). Cut out with scone cutter (5 cm) and place on baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the tops have hardened and begun turning brown.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.

 

Peach and Butterscotch Scones

Peach and Butterscotch Scones

Top with clotted cream and peach jam for some extra peachy keen fun!

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