Pecan Scones

IMG_0452One of the most important things about baking is following your instincts. When you do, amazing things can happen. When you don’t, you end up burning the daylights out of your scones.

Fresh from the oven, these treats looked like the kind of scone you’d pay three bucks for with your morning coffee; they were golden brown and fragrant, smelling of pecans and chocolate and espresso.

I should have left them alone.

But the recipe instructed me to generously dust the tops with powdered sugar, then place the scones back in the oven, under my broiler, to caramelize. Enticed by the notion of a crunchy sugar shell on the top of each scone, I gave it a try. And even though I’m quite adept at broiling, I was no match for the melting point of powdered sugar. Half of the scones were in the direct path of the heat, and those caramelized, then burned within seconds. The others, which weren’t in the direct path of the heat, didn’t even begin to melt. Some careful moving of the baking sheet ensued, and I was able to properly caramelize just a few. And fortunately, the properly caramelized scones are delicious…but next time, my instincts will win out.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder (optional)
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Stack two cookie sheets together and line the top one with foil or parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder (if using).

Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; you’ll need to use your hands in addition to the pastry blender.

Add pecans and chocolate chips, stirring to combine.

Add maple syrup to buttermilk and all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once, mixing until dough is just combined.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4-5 times. Pat into a circle about 7-8 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into eight wedges and place on the cookie sheet.

Make egg wash; combine lightly beaten egg with heavy cream and brush the tops of each scone.

Bake 18-20 minutes, until tops are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center(s) comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

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