Saturday, October 25, 2008

Maple Tea Scones

I first got curious about scones when I tried one in Chicago. We were staying at the Palmer House Hilton and Sunday morning found us wandering the neighborhood for something that looked breakfast-y and open. (Call me naive, but I hadn't realized that many restaurants in downtown Chicago would be closed on Sundays).

We finally found a bakery and I grabbed an orange scone and ate it on the fly.

For a few steps, that is.

The little bit of saliva that naturally resides in your mouth was not equal to the task of moistening this hunk of arid dough.
I found a drink and tried manfully to wash the floury wad down without spraying my brand new husband with a flurry of very dry crumbs.

It was pretty embarrassing. Here I was, trying to impress said husband that I was cosmopolitan, familiar with foreign pastries like scones that neither of us had grown up with. But this--this--thing should have been enough to teach me to avoid scones like The Plague, if not for the wonderful chain, Panera Bread Co.

"But that's not real--it's mass-produced schlock!" You cry.

I know. I'm a baker, remember? But they do make a mean orange scone: moist, more cake-like in crumb, with a tasty orange glaze over it. I've put a few of those puppies away in the past few years, I admit.
My point, however, is that Panera has shown me that it is possible to create something much more palatable.

(Cut to a shot of a computer with a wild-eyed woman feverishly scanning recipes on the internet.)

I'm happy to say that I now have a cache of favored scone recipes that are my go-to's every time I find myself with leftover cream from making, oh, let's say, ganache from something horridly high in calories and v-e-r-y satisfying.

All of the recipes preserve a natural moistness and flavor. The one I share today is especially cake-like, delectably maple-ish, although I did whip up a maple syrup/confectioner's sugar glaze for it because you can't have too much of a good thing.

So, for today, I give you--

Maple Tea Scones

3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 C. unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp. good vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet or use parchment paper to line it.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter with a fork or pastry blender or use a heavy duty electric mixer until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a 1 cup measure, combine the milk, syrup and vanilla. Add to the dry mixture and stir until a sticky dough is formed, adding a few more tablespoons milk if the dough is too stiff.

Turn out the shaggy dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently about 6 times, just until the dough holds together. Divide into three equal portions and pat each into a 1-inch thick round about 6 inches in diameter. With a knife, cut each round into quarters, making 4 wedges. The scones can also be formed by cutting out with a 3-inch cookie cutter. Place the scones about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.

Bake for 16-20 minutes until crusty and golden brown. Serve immediately with jam or Devonshire cream. Or whip together a glaze of maple syrup, confectioner's sugar and a bit of milk and drizzle over scones.

These are incredibly good just after they're cooled, but they also keep very well for 2-3 days in an airtight container.*

*found this recipe at so thank Hannah when you see her!

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