baking · brunch

Pumpkin Scones with Vanilla Icing

It’s hard to believe that Americans obsession with pumpkin spice is realitvely new.

20 years ago, pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin-flavored candy weren’t as big of sellers as they are now. The pumpkin-spice-everything craze did not really start until Starbucks started promoting it excessively a few years ago.

What is the reason behind our obsession with the seasonal flavor? Science says it is nostalgia.

A Johns Hopkins University study found the reason behind our addiction to pumpkin spice is its powerful scent. Getting a whiff of a PSL triggers a flood of fond memories about fall: leaves crunching, trick-or-treating, gathering with family for Thanksgiving…

Another reason why we are obsessed with pumpkin spice flavors is purely commercial: its scarcity has driven up demand. Do not expect to sip a PSL in March, even if you are craving it like crazy.

It is like the McRib. People are driven mad trying to find the beloved sandwich and it is not really even that great—but its scarcity has made it a food phenomenon.

We are now right in the thick of pumpkin spice season and I have fallen in line behind everyone else. I have drunk a dozen or so pumpkin-spiced coffee drinks since mid-August now.

Pumpkin scones are a great way to celebrate the fascinating flavor. This recipe really lets the pumpkin flavor shine without making it too sweet. Do not skimp on the vanilla icing, either. It really makes the scones sing.

These are great for breakfast with a cup of coffee and would taste excellent Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. On top of that, these scones are extremely easy to make.


Pumpkin Scones with Vanilla Icing

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Spiced pumpkin flavored scones with a sweet vanilla glaze.


  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBS. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup milk

    For the icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 TBS. milk or more, if needed
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Cut in cold butter using two butter knives until dough is crumbly.
    3. Add milk and pumpkin to flour mixture and mix until dough just forms.
    4. Knead dough on a floured surface 10-12 times. Pat dough into about an 8″ circle. Cut into eight wedges.
    5. Place scones on prepared baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until browned. Let scones cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.
    6. Make the icing: in a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla, adding more milk if you need to thin it out more.
    7. Drizzle icing on top of cooled scones and serve.

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