Maple Nut-Apple Scones
October 30, 2008
As if it weren’t already painfully obvious: we have officially arrived at the “Seeeee, I told you fall was my favorite season” portion of the program. I know it’s been a full-on assault around here of apples, pumpkin, squash, potatoes and braises. But I simply can’t help myself. And today is no different: apples (again!), maple and toasty nuts. Yup, breakfast doesn’t get much more fall than these scones.
Fall, as a season, feels to me a little like lightning in a bottle. As the steamy summer winds down and the dog days have me at my wit’s end, I find myself trying to hurry fall along. But all too soon, it’s the end of October and I am holding on white-knuckled to the last days of this fleeting season. When it boils down to it, you really only get a few flawless fall days: sunshiney skies, warm golden light, tree limbs feathered with leaves that were once green and will soon be gone altogether, the scarf wrapped around your neck fluttering in the breeze.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
And, sadly (devastatingly, really), this week has felt like my autumnal ship has sailed. My chic fall trench has been retired (after a mere couple weeks’ worth of wear!) in favor of a cozy wool number. Kevin’s been donning his ratty Bears stocking cap to the train in the morning. And baseball is over until April. Sob!
Luckily, despite the early sunsets and frosty sunrises, the fall produce remains. Fall produce is hearty like that, you know. So, really, you’ll just have to forgive me for the unflinching parade of fall around these parts: it’s all I’ve got. And you will surely forgive me, after just one bite of these scones. Actually, it might happen earlier than that: after just one whiff. One maple-and-cinnamon-laced whiff. I feel forgiven just thinking about it.
Maple Nut & Apple Scones
Adapted from Eating Well
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup plus 1 ½ teaspoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons chilled reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), cut into small pieces (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
¼ cup canola oil
1 cup diced peeled apples* (1 large)
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts, divided
¾ cup low-fat buttermilk or equivalent buttermilk powder
1 teaspoon maple extract or vanilla extract
1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water for glaze
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.
2. Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, oats, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl; whisk to blend. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut or rub cream cheese and butter into the dry ingredients. Add oil and toss with a fork to coat. Add pear and 1/4 cup nuts; toss to coat. Mix buttermilk and maple (or vanilla) extract in a measuring cup and add just enough to the dry ingredients, stirring with a fork, until the dough clumps together. (It will be sticky.)
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times; do not overwork it. Divide the dough in half and pat each piece into a 7 1/2-inch circle. Cut each circle into 6 wedges and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg glaze and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup nuts, pressing lightly. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar.
4. Bake the scones until golden and firm to the touch, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
* The original recipe calls for pears, which I think would be lovely too.