I have so many scones I want to share with you…
But since this isn’t a blog solely devoted to scones, I have to pace myself. Or maybe I don’t. Maybe you love scones as much as I do and too much is not enough.
Either way, it’s scone day here at The Merchant Baker and today we’re making Brown Sugar Butter Pecan Scones. Since I’m writing this on the last day of summer and the post will go up on the first day of fall, I thought this combo was a nice bridge to the next season.
It’s an ice cream flavor inspired scone, but it feels like fall since it’s full of toasted pecans and sweet brown sugar. If you’ve read my first scone post, My Favorite Cinnamon Scones, you already know that I was obsessed with finding the perfect dense buttery scone.
There are a lot of great scone recipes out there now, but when I was deep in recipe development, years ago, I could not find a recipe that gave me the rich buttery flavor and more dense texture I was seeking.
It took a lot of testing but I learned quite a bit in the process about how the dough reacts to different amounts of fat and liquid. So far, all of the scone recipes I’ve posted have been adapted in some way from that first post, adjusting liquids and fats as necessary to accommodate the effects of different flavors or add ins.
For this recipe, I thought I could simply switch to brown sugar, throw the nuts in and bake, but the nuts changed the texture of the dough. They absorbed moisture. So, I reduced the amount of nuts from my first batch and added some additional cream to compensate.
This scone has a slightly different texture than my others, I want to say sandier, but I don’t want to lead you to believe that it’s a dry scone. Trust me, there’s enough butter and cream in the recipe to insure melt in your mouth goodness.
Then, I thought a glaze might work well with the slightly sandier texture, and keeping with the ice cream turned fall theme, butterscotch came to mind. And no, this doesn’t taste like butterscotch chips, which somehow I loved as a kid but whose cloying sweetness I do not enjoy at all as an adult.
Instead, this is a sweet buttery brown sugar glaze, perfect for these Brown Sugar Butter Pecan Scones.
I served some of them plain with just the coarse sugar on top and I served some of them glazed. I liked them both, but everyone else hands down liked them with the glaze.
So let’s not be sad that we have to bid farewell to another summer. Instead, make a nutty little scone, pour yourself a hot beverage…
sit back and give a nice warm welcome to fall :)
Brown Sugar Butter Pecan Scones
Brown Sugar Butter Pecan Scones. A dense, buttery, rich scone. Sprinkle with raw sugar or dip in a sweet butterscotch glaze.
For the scones:
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 10 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces mine were unsalted, see notes
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons or more of heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor optional
- additional heavy cream and raw sugar for topping
For the butterscotch glaze:
- 6 Tablespoons brown sugar packed
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon salted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Cut in butter with a pastry cutter, two knives or you can rub the butter in with your fingertips, until the mixture is crumbly and you have varied size butter chunks no larger than peas.
Stir in pecan pieces and toss to coat in the flour mixture.
Crack an egg in a glass measuring cup then add cream until you reach 1/2 cup. Then add another 2 Tablespoons of cream. Mix with a fork until well blended. Mix in vanilla and butter flavor, if using.
Make a well in the center of flour mixture and pour in the egg/cream mixture. Toss gently with a fork until you've distributed the liquid well and mixture begins to hold together a bit. Your mixture is going to seem to be too dry, but try to resist adding more liquid. Your scones will not hold shape with too much liquid.
If necessary, use your hands to gently mix the mixture in the bowl until it comes together. This may take a minute, but as you work the butter and cream mixture, it will begin to come together. You don't want to melt the butter, so if you have hot hands, try using a large spoon or a spatula to fold the mixture onto itself in between using your hands.
Once the dough comes together with no crumbs, divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, pat each half of dough into a circle about 1" thick.
If you find your dough has gotten too soft from handling, you can put the bowl back in the refrigerator before you shape it so that the butter can get firm again, or roll, cut and place on the cookie sheet, then slide it into the refrigerator or freezer for 10-20 minutes.
Using a floured sharp knife, cut each circle into 6 wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet leaving 1-2" of space between for spreading.
Brush with additional cream. Sprinkle with raw sugar, if you're not planning to glaze.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool and set up for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a rack to finish cooling.
When the scones are cool, make the glaze. Place cooling rack over a sheet pan. In a small saucepan, mix the brown sugar and water together with a whisk and heat just until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the butter until fully combined.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in vanilla and powdered sugar. (Sift your powdered sugar first if it's lumpy.) Continue whisking until smooth and any remaining lumps are completely dissolved. Taste and add a pinch of salt, if needed.
Dip the tops of each scone into the glaze then place back onto the cooling rack. Once all of the tops are glazed, go back and using a spoon or fork, drizzle each scone with additional glaze. The glaze sets quickly, you may need to stir it a couple of times during the process to keep it loose and workable.
*I toast my pecans in my toaster oven, on a foil lined sheet, on the lowest number toast setting. I repeat until they are toasted. This helps me to avoid burning the nuts as I often do if I just put them in the oven and lose track of time.
*My nuts were unsalted. If you are using salted nuts, I would reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon.
*Even if the dough hasn't gotten too warm from handling, if I have the time, I like to refrigerate or freeze the tray of cut scones for about 20-30 minutes before baking. This insures the butter gets really cold again and helps relax the gluten. You may have to add a few minutes onto the baking time. Just check them at the recommended time and add extra time as necessary.
*Full disclosure, I didn't sift my powdered sugar for the glaze even though it's the right way to go. Instead, I whisked and whisked until every last lump was gone.
*I used the Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor because I had it on hand and it adds another dimension of flavor. It's not necessary, but I do like experimenting with it. So if you have some, use it. If not, no worries.
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