One of my goals with this blog is to use it as an excuse to try new things. Expand my culinary arsenal. Master some mad kitchen skills. Oh? You got it the first time? Good. In this spirit, the next couple of weeks will be all about scones. Now, I’m a big fan of the idea of the scone. Just the thought of this crumbly, slightly sweet treat brings to mind images of delicate china cups, green moors kissed by a slowly tumbling fog and Mr. Darcy. Oooooh, Mr. Darcy (no TD, not Mr. Willoughby…I keep explaining to you, he’s a bad guy…and he’s from a different story).
In reality though, it never occurred to me to try making my own until I discovered that Starbucks appears discontinued my favorite scone (at least in my neck of the woods). Apparently novelty isn’t motivation enough for me…scarcity plays a role as well. Which brings us to my take on the pecan maple oat scone.
Dorie Greenspan does a fantastic job of laying-out her scone philosophy in her book Baking, From my Home to Yours. Here is the gist: cold butter, all ingredients ready to go in advance, touch everything as little as possible. Understood.
Very cold cubed butter is added to a sifted mixture of sugar, flour, old fashioned oats (not sifted of course) and some levaning agents.
Then, with clean fingertips or a pastry blender (I used my fingers), the butter gets gently incorporated into the dry ingredients until you’ve got a sort of sandy mixture with little peas (while apt, not a particularly palatable description).
Cream and an egg are added and the dough gets a couple of turns until it just comes together. I then added about a cup of roughly chopped candied pecans.
The tender dough then gets turned-out onto a floured surface and shaped into a disk.
Then cut into six wedges (I realize eight wedges is easier and will do this next time).
Into the oven for about 20 minutes where they expanded slightly and turned golden brown.
Once cooled, I topped these babies with a maple frosting. Dorie doesn’t use a frosting in the original recipe but, I have to admit, my favorite part of the discontinued Starbucks version was the frosting. I know, making scones with frosting is sort of like saying you are a wine drinker who prefers white zinfandel. Whatever.
Mmmm…almost as good as Starbucks. And, if served for tea, they just might get you a clandestine but very appreciative cut of the eyes from Mr. Darcy.
Oh, and one more thing. More of an observation on a coincidence. Unlike Mr. Darcy’s affection for Ms. Bennett, I’ve made no secret of my own love for the Smitten Kitchen. I love her like a fat boy loves cake. Which is why I feel the need to point out that she also has a scone recipe up this week. What is funny is that this isn’t the first time we’ve had similar posts within a week. More like the third or fourth. It would be one thing if each time the recipes had recently appeared in the popular press or periodicals. Nope. Another entirely if it weren’t for the fact that I suspect she, like me, often cooks and photographs a recipe weeks in advance of posting. So really what I’m trying to say here is that I swear I’m not copying! Not to go all quantum physics on you all (doing so would first require that understand the topic), but I do sort of believe that just maybe perhaps there is a baking stream of consciousness and that at least when it comes to pastry, there is some rhyme and reason to the chaos.
Maple Pecan Oat Scones
Adapted from Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones, by Dorie Greenspan, Baking, From my home to yours, Houghton Mifflin Company
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 C cold buttermilk
- 1 2/3 C all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 C old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
- 1/3 C sugar
- 1 TBS baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick plus 2 TBS (10 TBS) cold unsalted butter, cult into small pieces–leave in fridge until ready to use
- 1 C roughly chopped pecans (I used candied because it’s what I had–use whatever you have)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, placing rack in center. Line bake sheet with parchment
- Stir egg and buttermilk together, set aside.
- Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into oats. Mix together dry ingredients.
- Drop-in butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter. Working with your fingertips or pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly and sandy.
- Pour the egg and buttermilk mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until just blended and the dough comes together. Add-in pecans. Then, gently need the dough by hand 8-10 times.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, divide in half and gently shape each piece into a 5-inch disk. Cut each disk into 6 wedges and place on baking sheet (I had to do some creative placement to get all 12 on the sheet with distance in between. You could easily do in two batches, just be sure to refrigerate the second batch while the first is cooking). Dorie notes that at this point, you can freeze the dough–when working from frozen scones, don’t bother defrosting, just add two minutes to the cooking time.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and firmish. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- 2 C confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 C maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp maple extract
- water to consistency
- Using a hand mixer (or by hand), add syrups into sugar and beat until combined. Add-in extract and then slowly add-in water until you reach your desired consistency. Top scones cooled scones.