Scones can be polarizing, I know. There are just too many dry, crumbly and flavorless ones out there. But I’m on a mission to change all that - starting now. Not only are these maple pecan scones over-the-top flaky, due to the method with which they are assembled, but they are also wonderfully tender and rich, due to the addition of a bit more butter than you might find in your average scone recipe. These scones come together quickly, despite the required, slightly unorthodox letter-folds, and the deeply toasted chopped pecans, studded throughout, add the perfect textural crunch with every bite. Some maple syrup, plus extract, provide a subtle sweetness and a sparkly topping of raw sugar, plus a drizzle or two of glaze, makes them not only some of the tastiest breakfast or tea-time treats around, but also the prettiest. Scones are best enjoyed warm when their crumb is its softest, and most buttery.
For the Scones
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, the 1/2 cup frozen, 4 tablespoons softened
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/4 teaspoons maple extract, divided
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
For the Egg Wash
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
For the Glaze
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon pure maple extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the scones, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Grate 1/2 cup frozen butter into flour mixture using the largest holes on a box grater. Toss with your fingers to combine.
Combine the heavy cream, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, egg and 1 teaspoon maple extract in a small bowl, and whisk to blend. Pour cream and egg mixture over flour mixture and stir just until evenly incorporated. Dough will be sticky.
Dump dough onto generously floured work surface. Gather into a ball and knead a few times, until dough just comes together.
Cut the softened butter into small pieces, as best you can and in a small bowl, use a fork to combine it with the 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and 1/4 teaspoon maple extract. This is easier said than done, so don’t worry if some of the syrup remains in the bottom of the bowl.
Roll the dough into a 12 x 6 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Spread half of the softened butter evenly over dough with a small offset spatula; sprinkle with half the toasted pecans, pressing to adhere. Fold up the bottom third of the dough over the center, then fold down the top third to meet the bottom edge, as if folding a letter. Roll out again to a 12 x 6 inch rectangle and repeat with the remaining butter and pecans. Do the letter fold again. Fold in half crosswise, then, using your hands, gently flatten into a 10 x 4 inch rectangle, brushing away any excess flour as you go.
Cut in 4 and then cut each piece into two triangles, using a bench scraper or knife. Transfer wedges to the prepared sheet pan.
To make the egg wash, whisk the egg and salt in a small bowl and brush onto the scones. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place in the freezer for about an hour, until frozen solid.
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until the scones are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the side of one comes out clean.
While the scones bake, make the glaze. Combine the confectioners’ sugar, syrup, extract and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
Once removed from the oven, let the scones cool on the sheet pan for about 5 minutes, then drizzle with glaze, and let set about 5 minutes more. Scones are best eaten the day they are made, still warm from the oven.