2 cups (280 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons instant espresso powder (optional)
1/2 cup (113 grams) (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1/3 cup (60 grams) semi sweet chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 cup (50 grams) toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans
2/3 cup (160 ml) buttermilk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Egg mixture for brushing tops of scones:
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk or cream
To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) with rack in the middle of the oven. Place walnuts or pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Cool and then chop into pieces. Set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Stack two baking sheets together and line the top baking sheet with parchment paper. (This prevents the bottoms of the scones from over browning during baking.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the chopped nuts and chocolate chips. In a small measuring cup combine the buttermilk with the maple syrup and then add to the flour mixture, stirring just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 11/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 4 pie-shaped wedges (triangles). You will have 8 scones altogether. Place the scones on the baking sheet. Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture.
Bake for about 18 - 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and then turn your broiler on high. Sift confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar heavily over the tops of the scones and place them under the broiler. Broil for just a few seconds, turning the pan as necessary, until the sugar has melted and turns golden brown. Make sure to watch the scones carefully as the sugar will burn very quickly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Best eaten the day they are made but can be stored for a few days. Can also be frozen.
Makes 8 scones.
This scone takes the basic Coffeehouse Scone recipe, and adds to it pure maple syrup, chocolate and toasted nuts. For the uninitiated maple syrup is a reddish-brown aromatic liquid that has a distinctive rich sweet nutty flavor that Diana Henry in her book 'Roast Figs Sugar Snow' describes as "reminiscent of burnt sugar and fudge". It is produced from the sap of maple trees grown in Canada and the Northeast United States.
In early spring (called 'sugar season') when the nights are still cold but the days are warm enough that the sap begins to run, a small hole is made in the maple tree and a spout is then driven in from where a bucket is hung to collect the sap. Once collected, the sap is boiled down until most of the water has evaporated and the sap has become thick and syrupy. The whole process is very labor intensive and it takes anywhere from 20, and up to 50, gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup. The syrup is graded by its color and flavor i.e. the darker the color, the stronger the flavor.
Buttermilk is often used instead of milk in scone dough. It has a thick and creamy texture with a rich tangy buttery taste that gives scones a light and spongy (bread-like) texture that you cannot get with milk. Buttermilk is now commercially made but whereas it was once the liquid left over after churning butter it is now made by adding a bacteria to whole, skim, or low fat milk. You can also make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before using.