The combination of roasted sweet potatoes and sage gives these scones a sweet and savory flavor profile that makes them a delicious treat for breakfast or dessert.
When fall arrives, it seems that pumpkin reigns as king of pastries, pies and cakes. I love pumpkin too, but my favorite orange-hued veggie to bake with happens to be sweet potato. Compared to pumpkin purée, starchy sweet potato is naturally sweeter and denser which makes it a wonderful addition to quick breads – like these scones!
You’ll begin this recipe with the expected pantry staples, plus some chopped sage and roasted sweet potato that has been chilled. If you’re short on time, you can replace the roasted sweet potato with canned, mashed sweet potato, but the orangey hue of the scones will be diminished (though no less tasty!).
Cold Butter is Better!
For the most tender scones, use very cold butter diced into 1/2-inch cubes. Work the butter into the flour gently using a pastry blender. Using real butter in this recipe is important for many reasons. Like other fats, it “shortens” the flour, or slows the gluten from developing and makes the dough tender, but since butter is typically around 20% whey, it offers more liquid than other fats (such as shortening) and the end result is a moist, flavorful pastry.
For flakier scones, the finished mixture should be unevenly crumbly, with some of the butter remaining in larger pieces.
All sweet potato-lovers know that chopped sage is a wonderful aromatic with this veggie, although the pairing is used most in savory dishes. However, these scones are proof that it works in sweet applications, too!
A sweet potato and cream mixture is added to the flour, and briefly stirred. Your dough should look much like this – very ragged and shaggy.
The dough will pack well into a circle under your palms. Brush the dough with milk or cream before baking to give the pastries extra richness and crunchy edges.
Cut the disk into 8 wedges using a large chef’s knife, and place them well-spaced on a baking sheet.
I think these are most beautiful when presented with a single fresh sage leaf on each scone. You could also quickly fry the sage leaves in oil until crisp, which makes for a crunchier, nuttier bite.
This recipe was developed in partnership with The American Butter Institute for their website Go Bold With Butter!
Sweet Potato-Sage Scones
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons 6 oz. cold butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup mashed roasted sweet potato chilled
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 cup coarse crystal sugar
- 8 loose whole sage leaves for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Cut cubed butter into the flour mixture with a fork or pastry blender until it is crumbly and coarse, and then stir in chopped fresh sage.
- In separate bowl, mix mashed sweet potato, buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add sweet potato mixture. Quickly stir mixture together until a ragged dough forms.
- Sprinkle a clean counter top or work surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto the prepared work surface and knead briefly. Shape the dough into a 7-8 inch round and cut into 8 wedges.
- Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure wedges are separated by at least an inch. Brush the remaining 1 tablespoons of cream evenly onto the wedges. Sprinkle tops of wedges with coarse crystal sugar. Bake on middle rack until bottoms are golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet until ready to serve. Garnish with individual sage leaves if desired.