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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Maple Walnut Scones

I do not have the words to describe how goood (rhymes with food) these scones are. So goood, we made them twice last weekend. Well, actually I made them once on Saturday because the recipe made twelve. While I was making them I was thinking I would have to halve the recipe before I shared it with you, but there is no reason for that. If you make the whole batch on Saturday, you can eat them again on Sunday (like we did), and Monday, and ... or you can freeze the ones you are not baking right away and pop them in the oven as you need them. You don't have to thaw them. They taste just as good. The only thing that stopped me from making these sooner was one ingredient, the maple extract. I ended up using Maple Flavoring that I found at King Arthur. I always hesitate recommending recipes that have ingredients that are hard to come by. I figure if I can make it happen in Fairbanks, well so can most other folks. You could also use grade B maple syrup and just get a milder maple flavor.
Here is a little secret I learned along my scone making journey. The best way to a lovely, light, and flakey scone is to rub the butter into flat flakey pieces, rather than little chunks. How to do this? Take your hand as though you were about to put on a mitten. Now, put a piece of butter between your thumb and halfway down your middle finger. Now, slide you thumb to the top of your finger. This is the motion you will make as you incorporate the butter. Remember, don't overwork the dough as the butter will soften. You want it to stay as cold as possible while you incorporate it.
Now, I know that I told you that these other scones were perfection, and they are, but so are these ones. So many perfect scones, so little time to eat them all...
But I'm trying.
Maple Walnut Scones
Makes 12 large scones

4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons all natural maple flavoring (extract or grade B maple syrup)
1 cup toasted walnuts

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp or a little more maple syrup

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine first six ingredients. Add the butter using your fingers to rub the butter into large flakes and incorporate into the flour.

In a medium bowl whisk together the egg and milk with the maple flavoring. Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly pour wet ingredients into the well. Using your hands, knead until all ingredients just come together.

Coarsely chop walnuts and add to the mix. Gently incorporate into dough. Divide dough in half and turn one half onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a disc and cut into six wedge shaped pieces. Transfer wedges to baking sheet and repeat with other half of dough.

Bake on center rack of oven for 25 to 30 minutes until scones are golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack and let sit while you prepare the glaze.

For glaze place powdered sugar in a small bowl (I use a measuring cup as the spout make it easy to pour the glaze. Slowly add maple syrup while whisking to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over tops of slightly cooled scones. Serve warm.

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