Starting this weekend I plan to wrap myself in all things cozy for the next, oh, eight months or so. Changing seasons always feels like a fresh start and there’s so many things to look forward to – right now, that’s oversized knit sweaters and gorgeous color-changing leaves and chilly sunrise campfires. Even the first dusting of snow, because that’s one of the most magical days of the year.
This all might be weeks and weeks away, but we can get started with cozy comfort foods. These richly spiced cardamom scones are barely sweet, with crunchy tops just kissed with coarse sugar and light, fluffy insides.
I used to be a die-hard six-cups-a-day coffee drinker. I liked to pretend that this was totally fine because I drink it black, and it would only be bad for me if I added cream & sugar, right? Ha. I had to go cold turkey for a week – just one week! – and I could barely function without that sweet, sweet caffeine drip. These days I try to balance out my coffee habit with tea for at least half the week.
I’ll drink all kinds of coffee strong & black, but tea is a different struggle – I need deep, full flavor to enjoy it. The first black tea I really fell in love with was vanilla chai and it’s still a cold-weather favorite. Steeping loose chai in hot milk and adding it to the dough, grounds and all, gives these scones a wonderfully rich flavor.
A few thoughts on this recipe:
Quality loose chai would be fantastic but I couldn’t find it locally and I was too impatient to order more online. I just opened a couple vanilla chai teabags from my usual grocery and they’re really quite good, so don’t be afraid to use shortcuts in a pinch.
Coarse sugar, turbinado sugar, raw sugar – all large-crystal sugars work! We want that layer of sweetness to balance out the savory spices.
And really, there’s no better way to welcome fall than by starting your day with a hot mug of tea and a warm spiced scone. Savor it.
Vanilla Chai Cardamom Scones
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 T. loose chai tea from 2 tea bags
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1 t. ground cardamom
- 1/2 t. salt
- 6 T. butter cold
- 1 T. vanilla
- 1 egg
- 2 t. coarse sugar
- Heat the milk in a small pot until just barely simmering, then whisk in the loose chai. Set aside and let cool.
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cardamom, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into chunks and blend it into the flour with your fingers, until the mixture is crumbly.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together chai milk, vanilla, and egg. Slowly add to the flour mixture, folding in until a wet dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and press into a flat disk, about one inch thick. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut dough into eight wedges and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 450° for 12-15 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes on a wire rack.