I love making banana bread. But also, I’ve gotten a little bored of it? And because my husband and I like to have smoothie bowls for breakfast we always have bananas on hand but can never quite get through them all in time. Sometimes I freeze them when they’re at that perfect-for-a-bowl texture but sometimes I forget and then there’s some overly brown guys staring at me on the counter, waiting to be put to use.
Of course, I could use my ripe bananas to make a babka or banana muffins. But, gosh I do like my sunday scones so…
My biggest concern going into making a banana scone was that it was going to be overly soft. Bananas are great at making cakes, breads and muffins very moist. And while often scones can be too dry, we might look for ways to remedy that, but we always want to keep their signature crumbly and flaky texture.
I started working from my babka scone recipe which is my go-to for any scone base (those are layered with chocolate sauce!). I wanted to be able to use a full banana so I made some other changes to allow for a signature, just the right level of moisture: browning the butter (which adds great flavor! And takes away some of the moisture), skipping the egg I usually add, and adjusting the flour/cream ratios.
This is also going to use my brown butter technique for scones: browning it then cooling it so that you can add it solid and it re-melts in the oven to give you those lovely, flaky layers.
The result is something that’s just heavenly for breakfast, brunch or a teatime snack: layers of moist but flaky banana scones with cinnamon and brown butter flavors. And, if you like nuts in your banana bread you’ll love them here too.
Nuts: I used walnuts for a traditional ‘banana walnut’ pairing, but you can also use pecans. Toast the nuts and cool them before adding to the scones – they’ll have a fresher flavor and be crunchier! Also, if you need to make these nut-free just leave them out.
Butter: unsalted or salted, if you’re using salted butter you might want to use just ¼ tsp added salt to the dough so it’s not overly salty.
Flour: I use king arthur’s all purpose flour and recommend it for a recipe with a dense ingredient like banana. While I normally love a very low protein flour for scones, these need a flour of at least 10% protein.
Sugar: Light or dark brown but if you’re out you can also use granulated sugar.
Banana: One, medium sized overripe banana.
Heavy cream: Or heavy whipping cream. If you want something a little err, less heavy, use light cream or half an half. The scones might lose a little moisture but they should still be good.
Flavorings: ground cinnamon, fine sea salt (if using table salt please halve the amount) and pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste.
Cook the butter over medium heat until the milk solids separate and caramelize. The butter will have lots of brown bits at the bottom and be foaming. Ensure that all the bits have browned, then transfer to a bowl – scraping out as much bits as you can get.
Whisk the dry ingredients together
Chop up the butter so it’ll be easier to work it into the flour:
Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry knife until the butter is in small bits and covering the flour:
Prepare the wet ingredients and add them to the dough
Mix the dough by hand, bringing it together by folding it over itself and gently squeezing
Flatten the dough and fold it over itself. Then repeat.
Shape the dough into a circle and slice out wedges:
Set the wedges on a small baking pan and freeze
This has to do with the pieces of butter we cut into the flour: ideally we keep the butter cold and solid until the scones go into the oven. When those butter bits melt in the oven they release steam that pushes the dough apart, creating – you guessed it: flaky layers!
Bake the bananas on a small baking sheet, on parchment paper: parchment protects the scones from overcooking too quickly if they are directly on the pan. A small sheet allows them to bake closer together so they rise higher. If you only have a regular sized cookie sheet, use that but keep the scones close together on one side of the pan.
Basic vanilla bean glaze
Whisk together 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract with a pinch of salt and 1 cup powdered sugar. Add 2-3 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream, until the glaze is thick but spreadable. Spread over cooled scones
Brown butter glaze
Brown 140-150g of butter instead of the 113 listed below so you have a little extra. After you’ve measured out 90g of butter for the dough, you can use the rest to make a glaze. Whisk the brown butter with 1 cup powdered sugar and as much milk or heavy cream as you need to make it spreadable. You can also add a dash of vanilla and a pinch of salt for extra flavor.
Cream cheese glaze
Whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar (I prefer organic made with tapioca starch) with 2 tablespoons of whipped cream cheese and a dash of vanilla and a pinch of fine sea salt. Also, just throwing this out there but brown butter cream cheese glaze is divine 😉
If you aren’t doing a glazed scone you’ll want to give the scones a little bit of a crisp/crunch and a boost of flavor before they go into the oven. Brush them with some heavy cream and then sprinkle on some sugar (I think cinnamon sugar would be great here!). For the sugar use something like turbinado for some extra crunch or an organic granulated which has slightly bigger granules that add some crisp to the topping: 1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and ¼ cup sugar should be enough to cover them all.
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