Butter pecan is one of those flavors that draw a line in the sand with people’s taste buds.
They either absolutely love it or they absolutely hate it.
I’ve even seen it become an age debate; supposedly, ‘old people’ like butter pecan while for the young folks, it’s a no go.
I don’t know what kind of logic goes into that argument. But I guess that makes me old, guys. Cause I’ve always loved butter pecan. Roasted pecans and rich vanilla flavored butter is my kind of carrying on. Outside of cake batter, I’d say that butter pecan was my favorite ice cream flavor. It’s so simple, but still so rich and divine.
Typically butter pecan is a flavor that is reserved for ice cream. I haven’t seen it pop up in too many other recipes. This past week I was trying to decide what to make for brinner and although I decided upon scones, I wanted to do a little something different with them that I could share here on the blog.
I knew that I had some unused pecans in the pantry that I wanted to use up (nuts are way too expensive to waste) but I didn’t want to just throw them into a regular scone dough and call it a day. Because I’m extra like that.
Adding pecans to a recipe doesn’t make it butter pecan. You have to create those rich, warm, vanilla flavors to go along with the nutty goodness.
Rich and warm flavor brings one thing to my mind.
And thus, the browned butter chronicles continue on Cooking is My Sport.
I’ve said before that there are very few ways of improving upon butter; browning it is one of them. Browned butter creates a rich, warm and nutty flavor to it that I thought would be perfect for a butter pecan flavored scone. After browning the butter, I froze it, just like I do with all of my biscuit/scone recipes. From there, I went with my usual formula.
In lieu of white sugar, I used brown to give it extra caramel-y flavor. I added sour cream along with buttermilk because in the first place, it really gives the dough a tender texture that is needed, as the nuts soak up a lot of the moisture from the buttermilk.
These came out even better than I expected them to while they were baking, filling the house with all kinds of wonderful aromas. They’re not overly sweet, but that buttery, pecan flavor sure does come through. I are mine sliced in half, toasted with a smear of pumpkin butter. It was absolutely delicious.
(As a brief but very important aside, if you live in the United States, please exercise your right to vote in the upcoming election. We can’t have four more years of this; we just cannot.)
Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe.
Butter Pecan Scones
Recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2/3 cups brown sugar (preferably dark, but light will work fine too)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen
- 1 to 2 cups toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1-2 cups buttermilk* (The amount of milk to use is going to vary depending upon the time of year and the location you’re in because of the varying moisture levels in the air. I always start with one cup, then gradually add more as I deem fit).
For browned butter:
Melt the butter over medium heat in a 2 quart saucepan. Let it cook and watch it closely until 3-5 minutes until the butter begins to foam, forms a golden brown color and browned bits form on the bottom. (It will have a sweet, nutty smell). Immediately remove it from the heat. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then place butter in a small bowl, and freeze until solid, about 2 hours.
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar and stir together with a fork.
Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients. Add the pecans. Stir with a fork.
In a small bowl combine the eggs with the vanilla extract and stir until the yolks are broken. Set aside.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the egg mixture and sour cream and buttermilk. Use a large fork and a large rubber spatula to stir the mixture together. If it seems a little dry you may add the additional buttermilk until it forms a shaggy dough.
Sprinkle a pastry mat, wooden cutting board or a clean smooth countertop with flour. Turn the dough out onto the surface and pat a few times with your hands until it loosely holds together. (Don’t knead it too much or the warmth in your palms will melt the butter and cause the biscuits to be tough.)
Use a bench scraper or a large sharp knife to divide the dough in half. Roughly shape each half into a square. Stack one of the halves on top of the other and use a rolling pin to roll it together into one mass. Repeat this process two to three more times before patting it into one final rectangle. (This is a process of layering so that the scones will bake flaky).
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a shallow pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven.
Sprinkle your work surface with flour and unwrap the biscuit dough out onto it. Use a bench scraper or very sharp knife to trim the edges of the rectangle. Use a square cookie cutter, or a knife to cut the remaining dough into squares, about 2″ each.
Remove the cut scones to the baking sheet you’ve lined with parchment paper, placing them rather close to each other (it will help them rise higher). Freeze until cold, about 15 minutes.
Bake until golden brown, 18 to 23 minutes. You may need to cover them with foil to keep from browning too fast. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the way through; the edge shouldn’t look wet or unbaked.
(Linking up to Fiesta Friday #352)