There have been a few days now where there is a hint of autumn. The fall season is always difficult for this transplanted Bostonian. I do so miss the glorious colors of the trees as they turn brilliant red, orange, and yellow. One Midwest fall, a neighbor told me that I had to be sure to go down a certain road to see the leaves turning fall colors. After doing so, all things being relative, I have to say that if I had seen this in New England, I’d have thought that the foliage wasn’t its best this year.
Foodie that I am, there is one flavor that always brings New England closer to me—and that is maple. With the wealth of maple sugar farming in the area, there is no dearth of maple offerings to be found. There is always an item on restaurant menus featuring a maple-glazed meal (usually pork). Desserts featuring maple flavoring are abundant; and, of course, there is always maple sugar candy, fudge, and my favorite ice cream (next to chocolate)—maple walnut.
To satisfy my New England fall craving, I decided to make some maple walnut scones. About 25 years ago, a good friend of mine, gave me the recipe for her fabulous cranberry scones—another reminder of Massachusetts! I’ll be making those as soon as the fresh cranberries hit the stores. I have used her recipe through the years to tweak and experiment with whatever flavors interest me, and it always lives up to expectations. Scones are usually best eaten the day they are made, but these scones are still very tender and moist the next day. In fact, these scones are moister on the second day than the scones sold as fresh at that well-known coffee house chain (sorry, Starbucks!).
Make a batch of these scones and enjoy a delicious taste of New England. You won’t be sorry!
Ingredients for Scones
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp. maple extract
Ingredients for Glaze
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tbl. melted OR very soft butter (for ease of blending with sugar)
- 2 tsp. maple extract
- 2 tbl. maple syrup
- 2 or more tbl. milk
Heat oven to 400o. Have a two ungreased large cookie sheets ready. Mix flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in sugar and walnuts. Measure buttermilk in cup, then add 2 tsp. maple extract and mix together. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and mix just until blended. Cut dough in half. (See my notes below)
On lightly floured surface with lightly floured fingertips, press half the dough into an 8″ circle about 1/2″ thick. Cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges 1/2″ apart on cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until puffed and lightly browned. Remove to rack. Repeat with remaining dough.
Make glaze: In medium-sized bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar and butter. Add maple syrup, maple extract and enough milk to obtain desired consistency. Drizzle glaze decoratively over scones. You can use a spoon or fork to do this, or fill a Zip-Loc bag with glaze and snip the corner to pipe glaze in a zig-zag pattern over scones.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 16.
Fran’s Notes: If the dough is too sticky to handle, refrigerate for about 30 minutes or so until chilled enough to handle easily. I put my oven racks in the upper third and lower third positions and baked the two trays of scones at once, reversing the trays halfway through the baking. The scones were done to perfection in 12 minutes.