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‘Great American Baking Show’ Winner Spices Up Newtown With Scones

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C.H. Booth Library hosted a virtual program called Bake Along with Tina Zaccardi on the evening of October 12. CHB Adult Programmer Kate Sasanoff moderated the event, which had nearly two dozen participants attending to learn how to make Zaccardi’s Spiced Scones with Dried Cranberries and Pecans.

Zaccardi is a prize-winning chef who has been featured on a variety of national and local television shows. She runs her company Tina Zaccardi Bakes and was also the winner of season 4 of ABC’s The Great American Baking Show.

Her passion for cooking and baking began when she was a child and would watch her mother and grandmother work in the kitchen. She always looked forward to the three of them baking together for the holidays.

“We would always make ten to 15 different types of cookies at Christmastime to give to neighbors, friends, and family,” Zaccardi reminisced. “I’ve continued that tradition on — even after I had my daughter, ten days before Christmas with a C-section, I was able to make a few.”

Growing up, she shared, she received much praise for her baking skills and began to take the initiative to pursue new recipes.

“When I was young, we had Julia Child and The Galloping Gourmet [on TV]. We didn’t have Food Network. You had to get a cookbook and read through it. There was no internet,” Zaccardi said.

She utilized all the cookbooks at home and took cookbooks out from the library to expand her repertoire.

A decade ago, she started entering baking contests locally in Westchester, N.Y. After placing second place for her first attempts, she received first place for a cooking demonstration.

That first win led her to seek out more competitions, which resulted in her winning countless more.

“Then there were a couple I entered that got me on television,” Zaccardi said. “I was on The Chew, The Today Show, and the Rachael Ray Show. Funny enough, for the Rachael Ray Show it was for a burger, not baking.”

When she discovered the television show The Great British Bake Off, she instantly had a new baking goal.

Zaccardi explained, “I said to myself, this is such a great format, I love the show, if they were to do an American version I just have to audition. Four to five years later, there I am auditioning. I auditioned three times. Third time was the charm. Then I got on the show and actually won.”

‘So Much Fun Tonight’

Zaccardi has done many live and virtual programs throughout New York and Connecticut, most recently with Newtown’s library.

She chose to lead the Newtown class in making her Spiced Scones with Dried Cranberries and Pecans because she wanted to create something festive for autumn.

“I thought why not incorporate the flavors of fall in a scone. The pumpkin spice, cranberries and pecans, and a little maple glaze on it. I rolled all the fall flavors into one,” Zaccardi said.

During her class, she had two cameras continuously rolling — one on her in the kitchen and one overhead showing her mixing the ingredients. Throughout the hour, she spoke with participants to see how they were doing and gave them advice along the way.

“They are quite spicy,” Zaccardi prefaced before adding that she encourages people to make substitutes or opt out of any ingredients they are not fans of to create scones they will personally enjoy eating.

“If there is something you don’t like, leave it out,” she said.

When an attendee asked about a good substitute for cranberries, Zaccardi answered that raisins are a nice option.

The recipe proved to be perfect for customizing, and she showcased how she even made chocolate chip scones earlier in the day using the recipe.

After cutting the dough into six pieces, she said that this is the point where if people wanted to freeze some to bake later to do so.

While the scones were cooking, she answered questions about baking from the evening’s attendees.

“Scones are best the day you make them,” Zaccardi said. She added that they are especially good just cooled off from out of the oven.

When her scones were done cooking, she showed the class the finished product before sampling some on camera.

“Thank you so much for having me! I had so much fun tonight,” she said at the end of the class.

Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at alissa@thebee.com.

Tina Zaccardi’s Spiced Scones With Dried Cranberries And Pecans:

1½ cups all purpose flour

½ cup cake flour

¼ cup granulated sugar

2¼ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

2/3 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup dried cranberries

¾-1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes and add it to the flour mixture.

Toss the mixture to coat the butter cubes in flour.

Squeeze the pieces of butter into the flour until you have a mixture that looks like coarse cornmeal with some pieces the size of large peas.

Place in the freezer for five minutes.

Add the pecans and dried cranberries and stir gently to incorporate.

Add ¾ cup of heavy cream and using a spatula stir the mixture gently until the mixture holds together. If the mixture seems dry add additional heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide the dough in half and shape each into a ball. Pat each half into a five inch circle, cut each into six wedges, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with extra sugar.

(If you are going to glaze after baking, omit the sprinkling of sugar over the cream.)

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown.

Optional Maple Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

Extra pecans for garnish

Whisk together the powdered sugar and enough of the maple syrup so you have a consistency that can be drizzled over the scones.

Garnish with chopped pecans.

Chef Tina Zaccardi, who won season 4 of ABC’s The Great American Baking Show, led a baking program through C.H. Booth Library on October 12. —photo courtesy Tina Zaccardi
Mother and daughter baking duo Lizabeth and Mackenzie Miskelly enjoy sampling the spiced scones they made during C.H. Booth Library’s recent virtual Bake Along with Tina Zaccardi event. Zaccardi told The Newtown Bee: “I love when people want to show what they made. It gives me so much joy to know that I got them to do that, and they had a good time.” —photo courtesy Lizabeth Miskelly
Lizabeth and Mackenzie Miskelly’s created these Spiced Scones with Dried Cranberries and Pecans using Tina Zaccardi’s recipe and by following her bake along event on October 12. —photo courtesy Lizabeth Miskelly
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