This week, I'm cooking from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa cookbooks because she was one of my mom's favorite TV chefs and cookbook authors. I made chicken chili earlier this week from Barefoot Contessa Parties. Today, we're making a morning pastry that I'm sure mom would have admired. For a brunch buffet, she liked serving one exceptional baked good and these maple oatmeal scones are just the right thing.
My approach to scones has been a bit different than Ina's. My scone recipes usually don't have eggs and I like using my hands to cut in the butter instead of a mixer. I learned the "hands on" technique at a scone class offered by one of our local bakeries, Dolce Baking Company. Erin Brown, the bakery owner, told us that by using our hands we're less likely to overwork the dough and the scones will be flakier. If you can find classes taught by local experts in your own town, I strongly recommend taking one. Mom and I always talked about taking a cooking class together and I think we would have had so much fun.
I do love Ina's combination of all-purpose and wheat flour with the oatmeal. Even though I was tempted to double the sugar, the one tablespoon is spot on. The scones have a toasty, wholesome crust that holds up well to the maple glaze. Be true to the pure maple syrup too. Don't try to use an imitation pancake syrup. It would be a terrible thing to waste on that much butter.
Maple Oatmeal Scones, makes 8 to 9 scones (adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook original recipe. I made a half recipe so click on the original recipe if you want a whole bunch.)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, diced
1/4 cup cold buttermilk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 eggs, beaten
Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Whisk together the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Before you get your hands all covered with flour and butter, beat together the buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs. Using your hands, squish the butter into the flour mixture until the butter pieces are coated and no bigger than the size of peas. Pour the milk mixture into the flour/butter mixture. Stir with a fork until just blended. The dough can be a bit sticky.
Flour a surface very well and pat the dough down to a 1 inch thickness. You should be able to see chunks of butter in the dough. Use a biscuit cutter to cut dough into 3-inch rounds. You can also shape the dough into a disk and cut into wedges. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done.
For the glaze, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. When the scones are done, cool for 5 minutes and drizzle each scone with a little glaze. If you're at all worried about the glaze being overly sweet, sprinkle a little kosher salt on each scone. It really balances all the flavors.
You can see step-by-step photos in this video: