Today’s Facts (which are actually yesterday’s facts because that’s when this post was written):
*It’s snowing (hardly, but still).
*I’m in my pajamas and it’s 2 pm.
*My daughter’s friend has been living with us since Sunday. Her parents kicked her out.
(Kidding! It’s just easier to keep her than to do the town run that a drop-off requires. Plus, it’s spring break [for the friend] so soak up the friend time! Plus, the girls are attached at the hip.)
*Flies are dancing through the air. It’s like we live on a cattle farm or something.
*Our neighbors gave—GAVE—us four—FOUR—of their freshly butchered, organic chickens.
*I ate a giant salad for lunch: mixed greens (thank you, Costco), craisins (thank you, Costco), honey-roasted sunflower seeds, feta (thank you, Costco), and Ranch.
*My son is learning to balance chemical equations. The way he acts, you’d think I was asking him to dig the Grand Canyon in our backyard. With his fingers.
*We finished our “Spanish unit”: the Harry Potter series in Spanish.
*I just ate a scone.
Let’s stop a minute and talk about that scone, shall we?
I have a soft spot for scones. There’s the process: a quick blitz in the blender, and the patting of dough, all nubbly with butter, into disks. And then there’s the snatching of that disk of now-chilled dough from the fridge, slicing it into wedges, slipping the pan into a hot oven for a couple dozen minutes, and then—oo la la, pulling out a tray of puffy triangles, all golden and fragrant and kind of slumpy, like a gorgeous woman in sweats, her messy hair pulled high in a sloppy bun. Glamorous but comfy. That’s my take on scones.
So anyway. Last week when I spied Ree’s recipe for maple oat nut scones, my heart gave a little pitter-patter because it knew, right then and there, that a new love had just been discovered.
It took a few days till I got a chance to buy the pecans and put the recipe through its paces. And you know what? That little pitterpat of a premonition was spot on. The scones were magnificent. Top of the line. Maybe—dare I say it?—my favorite scone ever.
The scones are tender but substantial, thanks to the oats (and butter and cream, but those are a given). The pecans add a gentle crunch. And the glaze puts the whole affair completely over the top. The glaze is not to be tampered with. Don’t even think about it.
I am feeling possessive of my newest discovery. I ate two yesterday (one when the glaze was still wet and another when it was dry—in the name of Experimentation and Recipe Development) and two today (the first to go with my mid-morning mug of tea and the second to go with my mid afternoon cup of coffee). (And then another half to go with the writing of this post.) I let my husband eat one. The children have yet to taste them.
There’s second disk of dough sitting in the fridge at the ready. Knowing it is there gives me peace. When these are gone, there will be more.
Maple Pecan Scones
Adapted from Ree at The Pioneer Woman.
I like to make my scones smaller than most recipes call for by dividing the dough into two disks and then cutting each disk into eight pieces. I like the smaller, less obnoxious serving size. Plus, then I can eat two and not feel so bad because I’ve really only eaten one. (Don’t question my logic. It’s perfectly sound.)
The other thing I really like about these scones is that they rely on maple extract instead of maple syrup. Maple syrup is cost prohibitive. Extract I can do.
The recipe makes a lot of glaze. Make it all and then drizzle the leftover on anything that strikes your fancy. Like waffles.
for the dough:
½ cup rolled oats
2 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 sticks butter, cut into chunks
3/4 cup cream
1 teaspoon maple extract
1 egg, beaten
½ cup pecans, chopped
Put the oats in the food processor and pulse until ground. Add the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder and pulse a couple times to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles sand (with a few pebbles). Dump the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl, mix together the cream, extract, and egg.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Add the pecans. The dough will be fairly crumbly. As long as it sticks together when you squeeze it with your fingers (like pie pastry), there is no need to add any extra cream.
Divide the dough into two parts. Press each half into a disk about three-quarters of an inch high. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate. (Alternately, you can cut each disk into wedges, place the wedges on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet, freeze, and then pop the frozen wedges into a bag and store in the freezer until ready to bake. There is no need to thaw the wedges before baking—just add a couple minutes to the baking time.)
When ready to bake, cut each disk into eight pieces. Place the wedges on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. Drizzle with the glaze (below), sprinkle with more chopped pecans, and then let the scones sit for a couple more hours until the icing is completely dry.
for the glaze:
5 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons strong coffee
2 teaspoons maple extract
chopped pecans, for garnish
Whisk together the sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and extract. Drizzle over the cooled scones. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Let set until the glaze is hard. Eat.