23 Oct Sweet Potato & Walnut Scuffins (Frankenpastries!!)
No, that’s not the name of the newest muppet, nor is it a distant relative of the cutest, funniest little birds on the planet.
It’s a Scone + Muffin = SCUFFIN!!!
I’ve spent the last three days parading around my office, offering my coworkers Scuffins, looking for any excuse to say scuffin just one more time. It may be the most fun I’ve had pawning off baked good since I dropped this party animal in the middle of the office kitchen.
You. Try it. Say it out loud. (I hope you’re sitting on the subway, or maybe in the middle of a long, mundane business meeting right now.) FUN, right? It’s the little things, y’all.
With Halloween just around the corner, it only seemed appropriate to bake you guys a bad ass frankenpastry. At first, I was thinking along the lines of some sort of spooky twist on the cronut, but for real, I’m pretty sick of hearing about the cronut craze (and I’m pretty sure it’s kind of been-there-done-that at this point, yeah?), and my history with hot oil is a tumultuous one at the least, so I scratched the cronut idea and moved on to bigger (okay, smaller) and better things.
Let’s talk about scones for a hot second. In my (humble) opinion, scones tend to be pretty hit or miss. So frequently when I give in and order one at a bakery (the tea-infused ones always get me), I find them to to be dry, dense, and just blegh. In most cases, I end up wishing I ordered that fan slice of banana nut bread, or pretty much anything else, instead.
Let it be said that I am not a scone hater. I’m actually quite smitten with this classic, cream-based recipe, by none other than the esteemed James Beard’s British mother. In fact, these little frankenscones (and Mrs. Beard) have inspired me to get back to the basics and hone my scone-making skillz, just as soon as I work through this whole holiday baking obsession thing I’m in the middle of. So, expect that.
Where were we? Right. Scuffins (!!!).
Scones are delicious when done right. Muffins are equally if not more delicious and, in my experience, much harder to mess up. When you combine the two, and stuff them with a little buttery and/or jammy goodness, magic happens. As you might imagine, scuffin dough is a little wetter than a scone dough, but thicker than a muffin batter. Hearty yet sticky, it’s best described as cookie dough’s healthier cousin (far less sugar).
Why, yes. I do agree. That is the perfect excuse to eat more of them. 😉
I first read about scuffins in this article from the New York Times, after hearing about them from a coworker and knowing immediately that I needed a scuffin of my own. I adapted the original recipe from Frog Hollow Farm to fit my tastes, so in other words, less whole wheat flour and more butter and cream, plus the addition of crumb topping. Can you blame me?
The result is a still slightly healthful (whole wheat flour!) yet indulgent and satisfying breakfast pastry. While the original recipe calls for jam or preserves (never jelly), I chose to fill my scuffins with sweet potato butter, as I had some in the pantry that needed to be used up. Combined with the generously spiced dough and caramelized brown sugar and walnut crumble, these little guys are my newly-dicovered, fall-pastry happy place. Enjoy!
NOTES ABOUT THIS RECIPE:
If you can’t find sweet potato butter, this recipe would also work perfectly with pumpkin or apple butter, both of which are widely available in supermarkets this time of year. OR, if you’re feeling bold you can try making your own. You can also substitute fruit jam or preserves, but the folks at Frog Hollow Farm recommend you stay away from jelly.
To lighten this recipe up a little bit, reduce the cream to 1/3 of a cup and add 1/3 cup of milk or yogurt and flip the flour ratios to use 1 cup + 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup all-purpose. The result will be less rich, but less likely to produce scuffin tops. 😉
- 1 cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated if you have it)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2/3 cup heavy cream or half & half
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sweet potato butter (or filling of your choice)
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter, slightly chilled
- 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven the 350F. Grease either a mini or full-sized muffin pan and set aside.
- To create the crumb topping, combine the flour and brown sugar in a bowl. Add in the slightly chilled butter and use a fork to cut into the mixture until crumbly. Stir in the walnuts then place mixture in the fridge until time to use.
- To make the scuffin dough, combine the flours, baking powder, spices, salt and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well to combine. Add the melted butter and mix until just combined.
- In a measuring cup, combine the cream and egg and whisk to combine. Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and stir using a wooden spoon or spatula until the dough comes together. Be sure not to over mix.
- Reserving about a quarter of the dough for topping, diving the dough evenly between the muffin tins, filling them about half way then using a spoon or your fingers to create a well in the middle of the dough. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t come all the way up to the top; there should be about 1/2 inch of space between the top of the dough and the rim of the cup.
- Fill each well with sweet potato butter or the filling of your choice, then top with pinches of the remaining dough, using your finger to smooth out the dough slightly so that most of the filling is covered.
- Divide the crumb topping over the top of each scuffin then place in the oven to bake. For mini-scuffins, bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. For full-sized scuffing, bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch.