Perfect for an Autumn morning or afternoon snack, these Maple Walnut scones will bring the taste of Fall flavor to your table.
I’m not (too) competitive
I recently entered a baking competition, a first for me...it was put on by King Arthur Flour as part of their annual Fall Festival. Prior to when I visited Vermont in early August, I hadn’t realized that the King Arthur Flour's Bakery, Store, and School was only 2 hours away, and that’s doable for a day trip. So when I saw that the Fall Festival included an Autumn baking contest that would feature one fall flavor, I decided it was time…I was going to not only enter the baking contest, I was going to adapt a recipe to showcase that one fall flavor. And to double my chances of winning, I decided to enter not one, but two items, Maple Walnut Scones and an Apples and Honey Babka.
(No, you’re not competitive at all!) Well, I had no illusions that I was really going to win…but a girl can hope.
[Side note: this post I’m focusing on the Maple Walnut Scones. I’ll give you the recipe for the Apples and Honey Babka next week, just in time for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).]
Longtime readers know of my Homemade Cream Scones and its 3-1-2 biscuit ratio for flour:fat:liquid. It’s not difficult to substitute other liquids for heavy cream to flavor scones (eggnog, for example), but what if you’re playing with the liquid to flour ratio itself? I decided to use a recipe that already had a major flavor substitution, in this case Sally’s Baking Addictions’ Banana Nut Scones. All I had to do was replace the mashed bananas and yogurt with maple syrup, remove the spices, and reduce the amount of brown sugar. I also decided to make them a little healthier by subbing in whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour. What could go wrong?
Since I phrased that as a question, you already know the answer. My first attempt were scones that were dry and crumbly instead of flaky and cake-y, but they did have a faint maple flavor. I had also thought to toast the walnuts first, but that only made the resulting scone have a bitter, burnt taste. For the next try, I ditched the whole wheat flour (it absorbed liquid and contributed to the dry texture…I can be healthier elsewhere), kept the walnuts raw, and increased the amounts of maple syrup and butter to add more maple flavor and richness. The result was a wonderfully maple-flavored scone with a lovely moist texture, nicely contrasted by the earthiness of the walnuts. In other words, Fall baking flavors for the win!
I’ve mentioned before about keeping your butter cold, and working with it frozen is even better. I find it's best to grate the frozen butter with a box grater and lightly toss it with the flour as you go...the butter won't build up on your cutting board, and will be easier to cut in with the pastry cutter. Plus, if you keep your butter in the freezer (as I do), there’s no need to defrost it first, and that means scones at a moment’s notice!
These Maple Walnut scones had a rustic look to them because they were scooped instead of shaped into the traditional wedges (the dough is a bit wet and sticky, so I don’t think shaping would work well anyway). On the plus side, there’s no need to chill the shaped scones before baking. They're really nice for a brisk Fall morning or as a snack. I can just imagine a steaming cup of tea, a fire, a book, a dog at my feet… (hey, come back to us!)
And the winner is...
What about the contest? Well, I was right to assume I wouldn’t win, but I was going up against bakers from all around northern New England, so no pressure there. Besides, the scones were a winner with my family, and those are the people I truly wanted to please (well, the judges would have been nice to impress also…I told you, I’m not (too) competitive). I hope Maple Walnut Scones will be a hit with your family as well. Enjoy a little Autumn baking, and the result will be a winning scone!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Maple Walnut Scones
- box grater
- pastry brush
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, (4 oz, 113g)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed, either light or dark is fine (1-3/4 oz, 50g)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup, Dark Amber, robust taste (3-3/4 oz, 100g)
- 1 large egg
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (10-1/2 oz, 300g)
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, frozen and grated (4 oz, 114g)
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped (4 oz, 113g)
- 3 Tbsp heavy cream, for brushing on top of scones
- 1 Tbsp coarse sugar, for sprinkling
- 1 Tbsp butter, unsalted (1/2 oz, 15g)
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup, Dark Amber, (obust taste (1-3/4 oz, 50g)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted (2 oz, 56g)
- In a medium bowl, whisk the cream, brown sugar, maple syrup, and egg together until no lumps remain. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- Using a box grater, grate the frozen butter and add it into the flour mixture, a little at a time and lightly tossing it and flour together as you go. Once all the butter has been added, cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, add in the walnuts, and stir the mixture together until everything appears moistened. Try your best to not overwork the dough at any point...you should still see little pieces of butter in the dough.
- Using a large cookie scoop, portion out 1/4-cup mounds of the dough onto prepared baking sheet at least 3-inches apart (you might need to use a spoon to help get the dough out of the scoop...dough will be sticky and a little wet).
- Brush scones with cream, then sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.
- Bake scones for 18-23 minutes, rotating pans after 10 minutes, until lightly golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool on pans as you make the glaze.
- For glaze, melt the butter and maple syrup together In a small saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat and whisk in the sifted powdered sugar. Drizzle over still warm scones and let glaze set about 5 minutes (if you can wait that long!). Serve & enjoy!