Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland by Tanya Holland © Chronicle Books 2014. Provided courtesy of Tanya Holland. All rights reserved.
Yield: 8 scones
Active Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes (includes cooling time)
Ease of Preparation: Intermediate


Sweet Potato Scones:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, chilled

Brown Sugar Icing:
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream


For the scones: In a wide saute pan, melt the 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the sweet potato and cook, stirring often, until it begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and cook, stirring often, until the sweet potato caramelizes, 12 to 15 minutes. Just before the sweet potato is done, stir in a pinch of salt. Refrigerate to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, baking powder, remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Scatter the chilled butter cubes over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Do not overprocess.

Transfer the flour-butter mixture to a large mixing bowl, add the currants and the chilled sweet potato and toss to coat with the flour-butter mixture. Add the cream, gently stirring with a fork to incorporate. The dough should just barely come together. Do not overmix.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and gently knead into a ball, taking care not to mash the sweet potato cubes. The dough will feel slightly dry. Form into an 8-inch disk and cut into 8 triangles. Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until the scones are barely golden brown, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing: Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and cream over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the butter is melted and the mixture is well combined. Pour the butter mixture over the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Let cool completely. (To make ahead, store icing in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)

When the scones are cool, set the wire rack with the scones over the same baking sheet used for baking the scones. With a small offset spatula or a dinner knife, spread about 1 tablespoon of icing on each scone. Let set for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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