When I first arrived in the States, I was surprised to see the scones available in coffee shops and bakeries.
Gone were the plain, round scones topped with jam (aka jelly in the States) and cream with which I was familiar. Instead, scones in America, at least in my neck of the woods, tend to be triangular.
More often than not they are flavored, and very often glazed. From a consistency point of view, I think they are more dense than their British cousins. Does that make them easier to make – possibly?
I’ve always heard that making British scones represents the pinnacle of good baking. In fact, I can recall a friend in South Africa lamenting that she simply couldn’t make scones to save her life – she made it seem like a culinary failure of great magnitude.
If I really want to impress my American friends, I make a traditional British scone, topping it with raspberry or strawberry jam, and whipped cream, and they are in their element. Combine this with my best china and English Breakfast Tea, and it’s become the birthday treat for one of my dear friends here.
But back to what I will call the American-type scone. Once I had got over my initial surprise, it didn’t take us long to locate a simply stunning scone at our favorite coffee shop. Made with pecans, maple syrup and oatmeal, what’s not to like? To my absolute delight, there are a number of cloned recipes available of Starbucks Maple Pecan Scone. I personally think my version is as good, if not better, than the original!
Just as you would if you were making a traditional British scone, pat the mixture lightly into the desired shape – in this case, a round. You don’t need a rolling pin; just use your hands. Whatever you do, don’t knead the dough – it’s not bread. Use a soft touch, the hallmark of a good scone baker, and you will make divine scones.
STARBUCKS MAPLE PECAN SCONES
- pastry blender (optional)
- ¼ cup pecans finely chopped
- ½ cup oats - I used old-fashioned
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- 1 TBL. sugar
- pinch salt
- ¼ lb. (4 oz.) or 1 stick cold butter
- ½ cup half-and-half (whipping or heavy cream)
- 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar (icing/confectioner's sugar)
- 1 TBL. maple syrup
- ½ tsp. maple extract (essence)
- 2 TBL. milk
- 2 TBL. pecans chopped (for decoration)
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients; mix well.
- Cut cold butter - straight from the fridge - into ½ inch pieces. Use a pastry blender, or your fingertips, to rub the butter into the dry ingredients. It should be the texture of breadcrumbs – no lumps of butter.
- Stir in the pecans evenly throughout the dough.
- Using a knife, stir in ½ cup half-and-half (or whipping or heavy cream). If you need more, just add a tsp of the dairy at a time. The mixture should come together, but should not look wet.
- Invert onto a floured board and using your hands gently shape into a round, with a diameter of about 7 inches, and ½ inch thick.
- Cut the round in half, and half again. Cut each of the quarters in half – giving you 8 triangles.
- Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 375° F for 13-15 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
- While the scones are cooling, make the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar, maple syrup and extract.
- Stir about 2 Tbl. of milk into the mixture – if you need more, add ½ tsp. of milk at a time.
- The glaze should be spreadable, but not runny. Spread glaze over top of the scone. Sprinkle one tsp. of chopped pecans on broad end of the scone triangle. Allow glaze to dry before serving.