I think a lot of people are inspired by the obvious things, like music and art. But I think it’s the unique inspirations that are really the most interesting. The kind of things that, when we admit them over cocktails at dinner parties, our dining companion’s heads tilt, just slightly, in an attempt to understand just why we love that thing we love.
My aunt is inspired by crafting and fixing things. She will find an old wooden chair in a junk heap and see that the ‘junk’ isn’t junk at all. And before you know it, she’s repurposed it, breathed it back to life, and there it sits, a shining example of a diamond in the rough with a second chance.
My cousin is inspired by lights. He’ll light any event. He’ll dig up the exact light for any moment, and place it, just so, until the effect is right. He’ll talk lumens and light sources, LEDs and incandescent. He is able see to see the world in light.
I am inspired by many things occasionally and a few things often. I am inspired by the world. And, more often than not, I am inspired by this.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones
2 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup to 2 cups minced crystallized ginger, cinnamon chips, or chocolate chips
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping
1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.
2) Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
3) Stir in the ginger and/or chips, if you're using them.
4) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth.
5) Add the pumpkin/egg to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
6) Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
7) Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5" circle (if you haven't incorporated any add-ins); or a 6" circle (if you've added 2 cups of fruit, nuts, etc.). The circles should be about 3/4" thick.
8) Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired.
9) Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
10) Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.
11) For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
12) Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs. If you pull one of the scones away from the others, the edges should look baked through, not wet or doughy.
13) Remove the scones from the oven, and serve warm. Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature. Reheat very briefly in the microwave, if desired.
Yield: 12 scones.