Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sweet Maple Glazed Almond Drop Scones

I have said it before, You know you have a great cookbook when you keep book marking pages. It's a keeper.

When Crescent Dragonwagon dropped by my site to say "hey, I saw your broa and thought you might like to check out my book", I never expected to have the oohs and ahhs over a cookbook filled with corn meal recipes. I am not saying this for Crescent Dragonwagon's sake, I really loved this book, with so many wonderful recipe ideas and information surrounding corn (and other baking tips to boot), how could you go wrong?

Many of you think you don't like scones. Notice I said think. The reason I say this is that sometimes scones are incredibly dry. If you ever had the pleasure of eating a creamy scone you would never think of scones in a dry kind of way again. You would think creamy perfection. Near to a cake but not all the sweetness of a cake. These INCREDIBLE and I mean incredible scones, were everything I dream of in a scone. They had tons of flavor, great texture and they were oh so creamy. It was almost akin to eating pudding. The only caution I have is that, with all scone recipes, air on the side of under baked. This recipe calls for 10 to 15 minutes. I took them out at 10, against my better judgment. But I guess intuitively something in me knew this was the correct time (at least for my oven). They were just right.

I chose this recipe because we went to a sugar shack this past weekend. We have lots of maple trees here in the North Eastern United States and lots of maple producers. We took the girls and my parents. We had the best time. Here are some pics from our trip.

The girls checking out the collection.

Here is a little history that we learned this past weekend.
"The Native American Indians had been making sugar from the sweet sap of the maple tree for many years. From the journals of early explorers we know that the Native American Indians had a process for making maple sugar as early as 1609. There are many Indian legends about how maple sugar was first discovered. One Iroquois legend tells how Chief Woksis had thrown his tomahawk into a maple tree one late winter evening. After he removed it the following morning, the weather turned sunny and warm. Sap began to flow from the cut in the tree, and drip down into a container which was at the base of the tree. Chief Woksis's squaw used the sap to boil the meat for dinner. As the water in the sap boiled away, a wonderful, sweet maple taste was left with the meat.

Most likely the Native Americans discovered the sweetness of the maple tree by eating "sapsicles," the icicles of frozen maple sap that form from the end of a broken twig. As the ice forms, some of the water evaporates, leaving a sweet treat hanging from the tree." This quote taken from Massachusetts Maple

Recipe courtesy of the author, Crescent Dragonwagon
The Cornbread Gospels
, by Crescent Dragonwagon
Published by Workman Publishing * New York

vegetable oil cooking spray
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal, preferably yellow
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold butter or vegetable shortening such as Crisco
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream (not fat free)
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
Maple Glaze (recipe follows)

1. Preheat over to 450F. Spray a baking sheet with oil and set aside.
2. Over a medium high heat, heat a cast iron skillet for 2-3 minutes. When it is good and hot, lower the heat slightly and add the almonds. Stirring almost constantly, toast the almonds until they become fragrant and turn golden, then immediately transfer them to a cutting board to cool slightly. Coarsely chop them.
3. Sift together into a large bowl the cornmeal, flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter or shortening until the mixture has the consistency of fine crumbs.
4. Whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, egg, vanilla and almond extracts in a medium bowl until smooth.. Pour this into the dry mixture, stirring with as few strokes as possible to just barely combine the wet and dry; stop while there are some dry clumps. Add the reserved almonds and give a few more stirs.
5. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes (you can make the glaze as the scones bake). Remove the scones from the oven and let cool, briefly on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the glaze over each scone, allowing the excess to drip onto the baking sheet. Serve warm. No butter is needed- these are rich enough.
Maple Glaze
enough for one batch of drop scones with a little bit left over.

1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
about 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, preferably grade B

Combine the sugar and extracts in a small bowl. Gradually begin stirring in the maple syrup; you want a consistency thin enough to be drizzled onto the scones and drip a little, but not so thin it all rolls away or is just absorbed into the scones.

Bench Notes: Honestly I would change nothing about this recipe, they were awesome. I think you will agree!


giz said...

I just love this time of year and never get tired of watching the process. The scones - beautiful.

Mary said...

I loved the history lesson and those scones are great in my book.

kat said...

Those scones look so beautiful & tasty

Shelly said...

I need to print this one off to make later. I had planned to make scones on Sunday, but if I make them I eat them and, uh...right now I neeeeed to stay away from goodies. Can't wait to make these, I looove almond!

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

That shiny maple glaze glistening in the light, looks real good!

Murasaki Shikibu said...

Did anyone say maple?

I'm supposed to go on a diet after today but it's not going to be easy if I keep coming back to your page! (and trust me, I will :p)

Robin Sue said...

Lori you are so right- most do not think they like scones until they have a moist and creamy one. But once they have they are hooked! Great recipe! I liked the history lesson too, thanks for sharing.

The Blonde Duck said...

Those scones are totally drool worthy. I wish Ben would get off this diet.

Jacque said...

Those look really fantstic! Love the maple glaze :)

HoneyB said...

These look so good! I am picking up our maple syrup this weekend from my aunt and can't wait! I will have to try this recipe!

Ingrid said...

MMMMM, those look and sound good! I've never made scones before and these just might be the ones to get me off my butt and into a scone making kitchen!