After meeting every Thursday morning for two years, my toddler playgroup is evolving. Suzy, having consistently gushed over the sweet buttery flavor of scones served fresh for playgroup snacks, never thought that she could make them herself. In fact, she declared one morning that scones were something she could NEVER make — the “from scratch” dough and perfect little triangles intimidated her. “Never say never” is a Cooking With Friends motto, so we put her to the challenge. At the next playgroup, Jenn, Jackie and I decided to show Suzy how truly simple scones are to make.
In anticipation of the scone making extravaganza, I bought Suzy a pastry cutter for her birthday. Jenn, our hostess, (and an extraordinary baker) divided up what each of us should bring and, once again, offered her kitchen as baking central. We gave Suzy a large bowl, helped her sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar while she combined. When it came to cutting the butter into the flour, Suzy remarked that today was the day she was facing her scone fears.
After eight tablespoons of butter were sliced on top of the flour mixture, Suzy took hold of the pastry cutter and began to blend. She dove right into the process, and soon chucked the pastry cutter and used her hands as the preferred pastry blender. Suzy had combined the beautiful, somewhat dry, scone dough all by herself. Her second challenge was forming that ball into those perfect little triangles. In no time, with Jenn’s help, Suzy saw how easy it was to form the dough into a circle and then cut the dough into triangles.
The four of us made a remarkable assortment of 100 scones that morning (strawberry, maple pecan and cherry almond) in just less than two hours. We also helped a friend overcome her fear. Jenn’s up next with biscotti — I’ll let you know how it goes. I encourage everyone to look to your friends as a way to overcome your cooking or baking fears.
Brown Sugar Maple Pecan Scones
3 Cups White Flour
1 Tbs. Baking Powder
½ Tsp. Salt
¾ Cup Sugar
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
½ cup + 1 Tbs. Heavy Cream
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
For Brown Sugar Pecans
2 Tbs. Light Brown Sugar
1 Tbs. Butter
½ Cup Chopped Pecans
½ Cup Maple Syrup
½ Cup Powdered Sugar
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Next, prepare the pecans. Place the butter and brown sugar in a medium microwave safe bowl. Using a microwave, melt the butter and brown sugar together in 20 second intervals, stirring in between. Once melted, add the pecans and stir to coat.
Add the pecans to the flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, combine the butter into the flour until the butter is broken into tiny pieces and the mixture becomes crumbly.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, egg and vanilla. Add to the flour and butter mixture and use your hands to mix the dough together. Do not over process.
Using your hands, separate the dough into two circles. On a floured surface, form the dough into two 6-7 inch rounds that are about ½ inch thick. Cut into 8 pie piece wedges.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and transfer the wedges, spacing them an inch and a half a part. Bake for about 10 — 13 minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove scones from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
While the scones are cooling, in a medium sized bowl whisk together the maple syrup and confectioners sugar until a glaze forms. Drizzle the glaze using a teaspoon into desired pattern onto the scones. Let the mixture dry before packing them up.
You can freeze scones by wrapping them well in aluminum foil and sealing them tightly in zip loc bags.