Baked Sunday Mornings: Maple Walnut Scones

I was a little worried about this week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe, Maple Walnut Scones. I love scones, but the headnote not described them as "hearty," with a "dense texture," and suggested dunking them in your coffee if you don't serve them warm. All of this implied to me that they were going to be heavy and probably not the light, crumbly texture that I prefer in scones. Also, this recipe is essentially identical to the Sour Lemon Scones we made a few months ago (just subtract lemon zest, candied lemon peel, and ginger, and add maple extract, walnuts, and cinnamon) -- and I thought that the lemon scones were tough and dry.

The recipe is straightforward and you can make the scones by hand. You mix together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon); work in cold cubed butter; and incorporate buttermilk, maple extract, and an egg. Finally, you add toasted chopped walnuts, form the dough into disks, cut the disks into wedges, and brush them with buttermilk and sprinkle on coarse sugar before baking. I made the recipe into 18 scones instead of 12 as directed by the recipe, and I thought they were the perfect size.
After the scones were cool, I drizzled on a glaze made from powdered sugar and maple syrup. The glaze set firm and I left the scones on a rack overnight until I packed them up to take them to the office the following morning. I decided to taste one before I went to work and was amazed by how good it was. The maple flavor was clear but not cloying, the crunch from the walnuts was delightful, and the glaze had just the right amount of sweetness. Best of all, the texture of the scone was light and crumbly -- pretty much perfect. I sometimes worry about maple overwhelming the flavor of baked goods, but here the maple flavor combined with the touch of cinnamon was lightly sweet and just right. And I don't know why more scones don't include nuts, but they were a fantastic addition.

And I have some idea why I liked these scones so much more than that sour lemon scones -- aside from the differences in flavor. Baked: New Frontiers in Baking only includes volume measurements for the ingredients, not weight. Usually when I make a recipe with volume measurements I measure out the ingredients, weigh them, and hand write a notation in the cookbook with the weight so that I can refer to it in the future. Both the maple scone and lemon scone recipes call for four cups of flour. I used White Lily all-purpose flour for both; because White Lily is less dense than other all-purpose flours, you need to use 12.5% more by volume to get the same weight as other flours. So I measured out and weighed 4.5 cups of flour for both recipes.

But as I look at my cookbook, I wrote in "550 g White Lily" as the flour weight for the lemon scone recipe, and "520 g White Lily" for the maple scone recipe. The 30 gram difference between these two measurements is about a quarter cup, or definitely enough to affect the texture of the scones. This is why I strongly prefer recipes with weight measurements, because then you don't have to deal with the inconsistencies you encounter with volume measurements. In any case, I think that 520 grams was definitely the way to go.

I don't have many uses for the bottle of natural maple extract I keep on hand and I would be perfectly happy using it up making more and more of these scones! 

Recipe: "Maple Walnut Scones" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

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Anonymous said…
Your scones are gorgeous! I'm glad you liked these better. That's very interesting about your flour. I use King Arthur, which weighs 120g per cup, so I used 480g. My scones almost always look terrible, and both these and the lemon ones did. They just flop over and don't stay in their triangle shapes, even after chilling in the fridge for 20 minutes before baking. Any tips? I wonder if maybe mine need *more* flour? Although the texture was nice and light, so I don't want to jeopardize that. Also, I totally spaced on the glaze!