Banana Scones with Cranberry & Crystallized Ginger, Glazed with Jaggery & Brown Butter

Okay, so the banana scones I’d made, I realized, were actually pretty darn good, especially with candied ginger and dried cranberry stirred in, but they still needed SOMETHING. Maybe a glaze would be the answer? Usually I don’t necessarily want a glaze on scones, but a lot of the time that’s because I find store-bought scones in America too sweet already. But this batch was more like the scones I had in Dublin, not very sweet at all, and so a drizzle of glaze over the top might be just the thing.

But what kind of glaze? Some people do a maple glaze on banana scones, and that’d be fine, but I was craving something different. Maybe a brown butter glaze? Oh yes, that would work. So I made a little brown butter (more than I needed, but y’know, there are many ways to enjoy brown butter, so having a little extra in the fridge is not a bad thing). And then I made a brown butter glaze with powdered sugar, etc., and put it on a scone, and yes, that was good. Very good. I could have stopped there. But I wanted more. MORE.

I wanted a jaggery & brown butter glaze. I’d never seen such a thing, but surely it would be good? The dark, complex notes of jaggery — like brown sugar, but more so. Mmm… But glazes are typically made with powdered sugar — would jaggery actually powder? It has more moisture than white table sugar…

…and though I ran it through a food processor, my assumption was correct — it didn’t actually want to powder. Well. I tried making the glaze anyway, with the fine-ground jaggery (after food-processing, it was pretty much the same as what came out of the package, so no need for that step). And the flavor — SO YUM. But there was still a little graininess, which made me sad. But you know what, people? I have a microwave.

Thirty seconds in the microwave, and that was the answer. The last of the jaggery dissolved into the brown butter mixture, and I was left with a liquid dark deliciousness that was PERFECT for drizzling on a banana scone. I ended up doing a criss-cross pattern, actually — first the regular brown butter glaze, crossed with the jaggery brown butter glaze. And it is so, so tasty.

*****

Banana Scones with Cranberry & Crystallized Ginger,
Glazed with Jaggery & Brown Butter

This makes two standard batches, so approximately 32 mini scones or 16 traditional. Once the batter is made, any portion of it can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for another day; scones are best made fresh, if possible!

INGREDIENTS FOR BANANA SCONES:

1 cup very ripe banana, about 3 bananas (I usually frozen ones that I’ve thawed; we toss them in the freezer when they start to go, so we always have plenty on hand for scones and bread)
1 extra-large, extra-ripe banana, mashed (1/2 cup)
2/3 c. heavy cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 t. vanilla
4 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 cup packed jaggery (or dark brown sugar)
5 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (it’s important that it be cold)
1 c. chopped cranberries (unsweetened is ideal)
1 c. chopped crystallized ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, blend the banana, cream, beaten egg, and vanilla.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, jaggery, baking powder, and salt. Add the cold sliced butter — you can use a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers (but you have to work fast, so the butter stays in little chunks and doesn’t start to melt from the heat of your hands). Alton Brown uses a food processor for this, which also works fine. You’re aiming to break up the butter into lots of little pieces distributed all through the dough.

3. Combine with the banana mixture and the cranberries and ginger, stirring with a wooden spoon until all the dough has been moistened and it’s well-blended.

4. At this point, you can either spoon it into a scone mold (spray first with some Baker’s Joy to guarantee a smooth release, although the butter in the scones usually is sufficient here), or place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If the latter, pat it into a circle, and then cut the circle into eight equal triangles.

5. Bake until golden brown and cooked through (about 16-22 minutes, depending on the size of your scones). Turn scones out on to a wire rack to cool.

You could just eat them straight up, sliced in half and slathered with butter, which would be quite good. OR, you can let them cool completely, and then glaze:

INGREDIENTS FOR JAGGERY GLAZE

3/4 c. ground jaggery
1 T + 2 t. whole milk
1 T brown butter, melted
1/8 t. vanilla
pinch of salt

1. Whisk together the jaggery, milk, brown butter, vanilla, and salt. If the resulting mixture is a little grainy, microwave for about 30 seconds and stir; it should dissolve nicely.

2. Let it cool a little, so it thickens slightly — maybe 10 minutes? Then drizzle the tops of the cooled scones with the jaggery glaze. (If you want to do what I did, make a second batch of glaze with powdered sugar instead of jaggery, and then you can criss-cross the glazes; let the white glaze set before drizzling with the jaggery glaze.)

Slather with butter, if you like. Fabulous with hot tea.

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