I just love scones. They are the 15 minute wonder treat you can whip up to serve with coffee or tea when you get unexpected company. They can be endlessly customized to match your favorite flavors and the fruits and berries that are in season. They bring a dash of comfort to a cold, rainy day, and a little spot of elegance to a tea party or bridal shower. Oh man . . . they’re just great 🙂 These butterscotch maple scones came to pass one day when I had some leftover butterscotch chips to use up. I have always loved the flavors of fall, and so I experimented until I found a combo that I liked. And the second I tasted these little beauties, I was instantly sitting on a country wagon, taking a hayride through the golden autumn sunshine and hearing the crisp crunch of fall leaves underfoot. And in the heat of mid July, that little field trip over into a sparkling October day was most enjoyable. 🙂
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Butterscotch Maple Scones
(My adaptation from a basic scone recipe)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter or margarine
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. maple extract
1 cup butterscotch chips
Butterscotch Glaze Ingredients:
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
To make the scones, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together, in a large bowl. Whisk dry ingredients to combine. Cut in cold butter until the butter chunks are about the size of peas. Stir in sour cream, beaten egg, maple extract, and butterscotch chips. Stir just until wet ingredients are combined. Divide batter evenly into the wells of a scone pan and bake at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes until the scones are golden brown. To make glaze, bring all ingredients except powdered sugar to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Whisk in powdered sugar, dip tops of cooled scones in glaze, and allow to dry.
Now, in pictures! 🙂
These scones are so easy, that we’ll be done almost before we start! So grab your tools and let’s get to baking! 🙂 Start by combining the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together, in a large bowl. Whisk the ingredients together and cut in the cold butter until the butter chunks are about the size of peas. Wait . . . cut in? Is this a dance? Why are we “cutting in”?
Basically, “cutting in” means to incorporate cold butter into the dry ingredients, while still keeping the butter as cold as possible. Cold butter = little pockets of air when the scones bake, which translates to light and puffy scones. YUM. The more you “handle” the dough, with your warm hands, the less cold the butter will become, and the heavier your scones will be. For this reason, I always use a pastry blender to cut in the butter, because it won’t warm up the dough as much. The absolute best pastry blender I have ever tried is the Perfect Pie Blender here. I prefer this blender because it has a flat bottom, unlike traditional pastry blenders, which have rounded bottoms (harder to reach the bottom of the bowl). If you make pie crust, scones, biscuits . . . any kind of “quick bread” on a regular basis, you need this pastry blender in your life. Come on. You spend your life chauffeuring kids back and forth to soccer practice, trying to remember your 7th grade algebra to help them with their homework, and living off the crusts of their uneaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You deserve something nice for yourself.
When your butter has been cut down to about the size of small peas, mix in your beaten egg, sour cream, butterscotch chips, and maple extract. This part takes some muscle– you will think you need more water. You will feel like a cowboy crossing the dessert, crooning for “cool, clear waterrrrrrrrrrr . . ” *tumbleweed rolls by for emphasis*
Don’t do it. Don’t add liquid. Just say no.
It will come together. Keep gently stirring the dough without touching it with your hands. Eventually it will become a thick, play-dough like consistency. You will grow muscles like a body builder, and you will get scones. It’s a win/win.
At this point, you can form your scones. You can form them into a circle and cut them into 8 triangles with a pizza cutter, like I did on the lemon poppyseed scones here, or you can just use a handy dandy scone pan (my favorite is from Nordic Ware, here). Divide the scone dough evenly between the greased triangles (a cookie scoop works great for even portioning) and lightly press the dough into the corners of the shapes with your (clean) fingers dipped in water to keep the dough from sticking.
Bake those little beauties at 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes until the scones are golden brown and LOOOOOVELY. All baked goods smell good, but for some reason, when these were baking, the house smelled over the top incredible. It was seriously like someone opened the door and let a fresh, cool breath of October breeze into our hot, muggy July house. For just a second, I could close my eyes and imagine campfires on a cool night, orange scarves, comfy jeans, and a black, velvety sky glittery with stars. Sigh. It was that good, folks. I almost had to start writing poetry, or something.
Don’t worry. I didn’t. You’re safe.
I popped the finished scones out onto a drying sheet to start cooling off, and then I got started making the glaze. Butterscotch is a close relative to caramel– basically, butterscotch is “young caramel”– that is, a butter and brown sugar mixture that wasn’t cooked as long (real caramel is cooked for almost 1/2 hour until it becomes a deep, golden brown). The longer you cook the brown sugar and butter, the more rich and “caramel-like” your butterscotch becomes. I just wanted a nice, light butterscotch flavor, so I brought all the glaze ingredients, except the powdered sugar, to a boil.
I boiled the mixture for 2 minutes and then turned off the heat and let the butterscotch cool down for a few minutes.
When the glaze has cooled just enough to form a “skin” on top, but not harden, gradually whisk in your powdered sugar. YUMMMM. Taste it. Seriously. Isn’t that incredible? You just MADE butterscotch from scratch. You’re amazing.
When your scones have cooled enough to handle, take them and dip their sweet little tops into the glaze. Transfer the dipped scones to a cooling rack over a silpat-lined cookie sheet to dry. If you don’t have a silpat, then you really need to meet one. Silpats are the “little black dress” of the baking world. They can go from freezer to oven, and back to freezer . . . and not even break a sweat. You can use them to knead dough and roll out pie crust, and then just scoop up the entire mess and wipe it off. You can stick these little lovelies underneath a pie or casserole, and when you get bubbling-over, oozing mess, the silpat will simply . . . wipe clean. Yes. No more scraping at pans or smelling disgusting, choking oven burning smells when something overflows its pan. And these silpats are always a lifesaver when it comes to “scone dipping,” because you can stick them on a cookie sheet and put a cooling rack on top. As the scones slowly “drip” the extra glaze down, the silpat helpfully collects it for you. And when the scones are dry, and you have all that extra gunk underneath, just run the silpat under soapy water, and voila . . . mess gone. You’re welcome. Get a silpat here. You totally deserve this, too.
When the scones dry, they will become nice and “unsticky,” so you can stack ’em up without getting glaze everywhere.
Of course, that depends on one thing . . .
Whether there will be enough left over to stack . . .
It certainly is hard to leave these little breaths of October alone, isn’t it? YUMMMM. Please pass the coffee. And if you want to use a mug cozy and channel cool, autumn dreams . . . I won’t judge.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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