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Sunday, June 1, 2014

June ABC challenge: Pineapple Chipotle Cream Cheese Scones

This month's ABC challenge entry is a bit of a cheater.  The challenge is for this King Arthur basic scone recipe.  Now, I'm not a big fan of scones.  They taste okay and all that, it's just that they have no substance.  They're just above biscuits in that category, and only because they usually come with add-ins.  They're not sufficient alone for breakfast, but it's so hard to limit yourself to just one.  Really you want to eat the whole batch, which is just too depraved to think about.  So I usually keep my distance, and planned on passing on the challenge this month.

Thing is, I had in my refrigerator this:

Chipotle-flavored cream cheese

I thought it sounded delicious when I bought it, but the reality was a sorry disappointment.  It tasted highly processed, salty -- not rich and creamy at all; I'd put it right down there with the cheese that squirts out of a can.  (Or so I'm imagining, as I've never actually tasted cheese that squirts out of a can.)  But what to do with it?

The scone recipe for this month got me thinking.  There are many scone recipes that call for cream cheese; this month's challenge wasn't one of them.  This is where the cheat comes in.  King Arthur Flour has another scone recipe that does use cream cheese, so I started from there.  A few other substitutions, plus a 1/4 reduction in the quantity and I had my recipe.

Here's what I worked with:

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking powder (see Conclusion)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 ounces cold, chipotle-flavored cream cheese
2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1/3 cup canned pineapple tidbits, squeezed of juice and juice reserved
2 tablespoons dried, chili-spiced pineapple, medium dice
1/4 of a large egg (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon orange extract (or zest of 1/4 orange)
1+ tablespoon reserved pineapple juice

Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Cut in the cream cheese and butter until the chunks of butter are the size of peas.  Stir in the fresh and dried pineapple.

In a separate container, whisk together the egg, extract (or zest), and juice.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened.  It will look on the dry side.

Turn the dough out onto a floured piece of parchment or waxed paper, and fold it over several times, until it holds together. Pat the dough into a 3/4"-thick rectangle (about 4" x 8") and cut into 4 wedges.  Brush the tops lightly with milk and sprinkle with sparkling white or pearl sugar, if desired.  Place the scones about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  (I have to use an insulated sheet or they would burn on the bottom.)  Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Conclusion:  What fun!  This is a great flavor combination!  The chipotle is not immediately noticeable, but there is a gentle heat that builds over successive bites.  These are sweet, which I did on purpose to counter the chili heat, but there is plenty of sweetness in the pineapple; next time I would reduce the sugar by half.  The only down side was they didn't rise much, if at all.  Since I'm adding an acid in the pineapple juice, next time I will convert the baking powder to baking soda and see if that improves the rise.

Now, what to do with the rest of that tub.

Original recipe:  Apricot cream cheese scones via King Arthur Flour


  1. That flavor profile sounds wonderful. I love cream cheese in baked goods. It's a good tenderizer. It doesn't look like the pineapple released juice to make the whole thing gummy. Great job!

    1. I tried to squeeze as much juice out of the pineapple as I could without crushing the pieces. But I think I ruined the texture when shaping them -- I sort of manhandled the dough a bit. I should have been more gentle. That's probably why they didn't rise, either.

  2. What a creative flavor combination- this is inspiring me to get even more daring with my baking!

  3. I don't do much baking with cream cheese; including some in the scone was a great idea and the flavour combination sounds wonderful!

  4. Wow pineapples and cream cheese sounds wonderful.