Spring Senses: The Taste of Maple, in a Scone

IMG_6245It’s early spring in the North Country of upstate New York and one thing says spring here, more than mercurial temperature swings and dirty, muddy snow. One thing says spring even more than news of ice fishermen having to be rescued from the melting lake.

Maple. Maple anything and maple everything—that says spring.

In my continuing yearly celebration of all things maple, I offer to you possibly the best recipe for scones you’ll ever try.

It’s also probably the least healthy recipe for scones you’ll ever see but, really, how many scones could you eat in a day?

Really, that many? Me, too!

My recipe comes directly from The New Best Recipe, by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. This cookbook is a compendium of recipes for popular foods, the kinds of foods for which everyone has a recipe and none of the recipes are the same.

When there are 1000 recipes for chocolate chip cookies, for instance, how do we know which one to use?

I turn to Cook’s Illustrated. The editors comprehensively test these multiple approaches to a given recipe and seek to provide the definitive recipe for such items as pasta with bolognese sauce and macaroni salad and, yes, chocolate chip cookies.

I love this cookbook because, in a very systematic way, it identifies what the cooks were aiming for and then provides details of the different tweaks they made to achieve their goals. This all just really makes my cake bake, literally and figuratively!

The Cook’s Illustrated goal for oatmeal scones was “to pack the chewy nuttiness of oats into a moist and tender breakfast pastry, one that wouldn’t require a firehose to wash down the crumbs” (714). They provide variations for cinnamon raisin oatmeal scones and oatmeal scones with dried cherries and hazelnuts but . . .

It’s spring in the North Country of upstate New York and we’re talking maple here! These scones are tender and amazing, and so very maple.

Glazed Maple-Pecan Oatmeal Scones

from The New Best Recipe


1 ½ cups rolled oats (4 ½ ounces) or quick oats

½ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup whole milk

¼ cup heavy cream

¼ cup maple syrup

1 large egg

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 ½ ounces) (such as Gold Medal or Pillsbury)

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon table salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½” cubes

For glaze

3 tablespoons maple syrup

½ cup confectioner’s sugar


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread oats and pecans evenly on one baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant and lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes; cool on wire rack. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. When oats are cooled, measure out and reserve 2 tablespoons for dusting the work surface.
  1. Whisk milk, cream, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and egg in medium bowl until incorporated; remove and reserve 1 tablespoon to small bowl to brush scones.
  1. Pulse flour, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined, about four 1-second pulses. Scatter cold butter evenly over dry ingredients and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, twelve to fourteen 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and stir in cooled oats. Using rubber spatula, fold in liquid ingredients until large clumps form. Continue mixing by hand until a mass forms.
  1. Dust work surface with half of reserved oats and flour (if needed), turn dough out onto work surface, and dust top with remaining oats. Gently pat into 7-inch circle about 1 inch thick.  Cut dough into 8 wedges and set on parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Brush surfaces with reserved egg mixture and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes; cool scones on baking sheet on wire rack 5 minutes, then remove scones to cooling rack and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  1. When scones are cooled, whisk maple syrup and confectioner’s sugar until combined; drizzle glaze over scones.


46 thoughts on “Spring Senses: The Taste of Maple, in a Scone

  1. AMAZING! Other than the maple drizzle, these look just like the scones I grew up with! I’ve never seen them anywhere else, certainly not in coffee shops that sell “scones.” !!!! SO EXCITED! I do have a recipe my mom used. Will have to take a few minutes to compare. One thing I see without getting out the recipe is this uses baking powder, rather than cream of tartar and buttermilk. Likely easier to manage this way.

  2. How delicious! I ‘m not familiar with Cook’s Illustrated and really enjoyed this introduction. Your recipe is saved, our next scones will be all nutty with maple. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, what a lovely introduction to spring. 🍁

    • The overall company is called America’s Test Kitchen, I think. They have a magazine called Cook’s Illustrated and a TV show on our public broadcasting network. And they do these big cookbooks. Very detailed, kind of nerdy. And these scones are really good!

  3. A recipe that calls for both butter and heavy cream is unhealthy? Surely you jest. I’ll await the arrival of Ohio’s maple syrup crop (yes, we do have one) to give this one a go.

  4. Oh Kerry! It’s just gone 6 am here, I’ve finished my coffee and both puppy and kitty [who woke me up at 4 am playing] are now snoozing while I drool over the thought of maple flavoured scones!

    Sadly I can’t eat wheat and scones are probably the only food item I miss because of this. I used to make a delicious scone – plain, savoury, date, cheese – but never maple. I am now wondering if I can substitute buckwheat flour for the wheat …….. 🙂

    • Pauline I see that Edmonds have a gluten free flour now. I don’t know what is in it but the blurb says it works as well as their regular flour. Maybe worth a try. I haven’t baked gf goodies in a long while. I have forgotten most of my tricks. 😦

    • I think it would be so difficult to not be able to eat flour–all my favorite foods seem to involve flour. The authors of the recipe were very specific about the flour they used–down to naming brands–so I don’t know how a buckwheat substitution would work out.

  5. That sounds wonderful. I love maple syrup, but it’s quite expensive here in the UK, so a real treat. A quarter of a cup plus 3 tablespoons? I’d have to re-mortgage the house.

  6. Oh, yum. These are NOT unhealthy. Oats, nuts, not much sugar except in the drizzle. And the fat, well, that makes them tender, yes? I may have to have these one weekend morning. Actually have everything on hand. Thanks!

    • Isn’t it funny how ultra-sensitive some of us have become about anything with full-fat ingredients? In truth, I don’t worry about it too much–moderation in all things!

  7. These look tasty, Kerry! And why am I not surprised that you’re a Cook’s Illustrated fan? 🙂 It’s a great show and magazine. I don’t have the cookbook, but I always buy the compendium “best of” magazine issue at the end of each year. The recipes are all golden–just like your scone.

    • The CI recipes are SO specific, I feel like they were written for me–not a very confident or passionate cook at all. If I make something I want to be pretty darn sure it’s going to turn out well, and CI gives me that!

    • If you know of a gluten-free flour that works well in scones, you should share it with Pauline, thecontentedcrafter–she needs scones, according to her comment here!

  8. Oh my goodness. Really – those photos are making my mouth water. I am so jealous because I live in Texas and no such thing as fresh maple syrup! Guess I will just have to have some fresh salsa and homemade tortillas with my Tex-Mex lunch, but that maple syrup just sounds soooooo yummy! Lucky you!!

    • And homemade tortillas sound pretty good to me! I love that there are so many regional specialties to try out–it adds to the fun of travel within the US!

  9. It’s funny but I think of maple more in fall than Spring…but since its tapped in Spring I might need to change that1 This sound wonderful and I do love cooks illustrated so much. Do you also watch the show? I also have the cookbook and need to pull it out again to look at it. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know you like our Master bedroom reveal. it was so nice of you, and it was so nice to hear.

    • The farm on which I grew up had a sugar house and we did the whole maple syrup process, and it was definitely all spring focused. I’m not sure where the fall connection came in but I know you’re not the only one to think that way! I haven’t seen the Cook’s Illustrated show–I watch almost no TV–but I keep hearing how good it is! Thanks for coming by!

  10. My favorite scone recipe has oatmeal, too, and it’s got to be even better with maple! Thanks for sharing this one (and I agree with Cooks being the “go to” place for recipes)

  11. I love this book too, especially the chocolate chip cookies and the snickerdoodles! I am going to have to give the scones a try. The only recipe we tried that didn’t work well was one for shrimp in which we were to brine them. Followed the recipe perfectly, but they were too salty to eat. We skipped the brining the second time and it was fine.

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