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Flour Girl: Maple Sugar Makes Scones Happy

Maple Sugar Scones; read on to get the recipe. (Julia Ewan -- The Washington Post)

Maple sugar is sometimes mentioned as an alternative to refined sugar in baked goods. It has an advantage over other sweeteners because it measures and bakes in equal parts to sugar. But it has the distinct disadvantage of being quite expensive: $9 per pound.

I found some maple sugar at the Takoma Park farmers market and decided to give it a try. Not surprisingly, it provided a characteristic rich, homey syrup taste. To make the most of that, I used the maple sugar in something other than brownies, where I feared it would lose its identity.

This scone recipe can be made with granulated sugar, of course, but the malty caramel tones of the maple play wonderfully against the lemon and cranberry. I used kefir, a drinkable tart yogurt. Buttermilk or plain yogurt thinned with a bit of milk can be used instead; just make sure to use a “soured” liquid that will react with the baking powder and baking soda to thicken the milk and activate the glorious rising o’ the scones. The recipe follows.

-- Leigh Lambert

Lemon-Cranberry Scones
Makes 8 scones

These are best served the same day they are made.

3 cups flour
1/2 cup maple sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup dried cranberries
Zest from 2 medium lemons (2 tablespoons)
1 cup kefir or low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons milk, for brushing the scones before baking

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, maple sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to combine.

Add the butter and pulse on and off until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl; add the dried cranberries, zest, and kefir or buttermilk and stir with a fork just until combined.

Lightly flour a work surface. Turn the dough onto the surface and knead 8 to 10 times, just until it holds together. Shape it into an 8-inch circle about 3/4 inch thick.

Brush the top of the dough with milk, sprinkle with maple sugar, then cut it into 8 wedges. Place the wedges on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly puffed and golden brown around the edges.

Per scone (using kefir): 346 calories, 6 g protein, 60 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 23 mg cholesterol, 322 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 22 g sugar

By Leigh Lambert  |  May 21, 2009; 7:22 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl  | Tags: Flour Girl, Leigh Lambert, recipes  
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