The maple syrup glut continues in full swing here in Jammy Chicken Land, this time making an appearance at Knitting Ladies Sunday brunch. Something has to help mitigate the flat-out caffeinie rush of the magic coffee.
The ladies show up at 10:30, expecting goodies warm from the oven. I don't want to be up at the crack of dawn, yet there are standards that must be upheld. The trade-off is that knitting food has to be easy and fast to prepare, yet tasty. The ladies, they are armed with pointy sticks. They are not afraid to use them.
And only slightly less important is that food served at knitting should not generate overly effusive crumbs or stickiness that would impact the knitting detrimentally. We are, after all, in the last throes of holiday gift knitting, and who wants to unwrap a scarf with stale scone bits in it?
My personal maple jag collided with scones in this recipe by Joanne Chang from her bakery and eponymous cookbook flour. Maybe it's that applied math and engineering degree of Ms. Chang's, maybe it is just her baking excellence, but this is the first recipe in a very long time that was exactly perfect as written.
You make muffins that are supposed to yield 12 and you wind up with 13. Or 11 and a half. You bake a cake that is supposed to take 30 minutes and you're still getting a gooey toothpick tester at 45.
Odd things happen, and I usually just roll with it, but this scone recipe? Spot on.* And darned tasty.
* That doesn't mean I didn't fiddle with it. Just a little. I like pecans. I added more.
So shoot me.
Oatmeal maple scones with pecans and sour cherries.
Based on a recipe from flour by Joanne Chang with Christie Matheson.
Makes 8 scones.
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (125 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped (toast them as you warm up the oven)
2/3 cup dried sour cherries
1/2 cup (1 stick, 114 grams) cold butter, cut into 10 pieces
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon natural maple flavor (optional)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and put the pecans in to toast for about 10 minutes as the oven heats up. Remove, chop into large pieces, and let cool.
Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pecans, and cherries on low for a few seconds, until combined.
Scatter the buter over the top and mix for about 30 to 45 seconds, until the large cubes of butter have been broken down a little to grape-sized pieces. I know it is a little odd to add the butter after the nuts and fruit, but go with it.
In a small bowl, mix together the cream, eggs, maple syrup and maple flavor (if using). Set the mixer to low speed and slowly pour the liquid into the dry ingredients. Mix for a further 30 seconds, until the dough just comes together.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated. Use a 1/3 cup ice cream scoop or measuring cup, and drop mounded scoops of the scone dough onto a lined baking sheet, leaving 2 to 3 inches between each scone.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Start checking a little early.
Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
For the glaze, combine all ingredients until you have a thick, drizzle-able glaze. You can add a few drops more water to get a pourable glaze, if you prefer a thinner coating. If you overshoot, just add a little more sugar to thicken it back up.