I had forgotten what the holidays smelled like til I made these scones. The aroma of pecans sautéing in butter or baking in custard for pecan pie is the essence of late December for me. But, summer also smells like pecans sautéing in butter because everyone knows the best flavor of ice cream is buttered pecan. I guess us Texans are just pecan eatin’ people.
Bake these for a romantic Christmas morning before all the relatives come to your house, and enjoy them peacefully with coffee. Or, bake them the morning before a big Christmas shopping trip because they will comfort you as you drive all over town looking for the perfect gift for everyone on your list. You will miraculously not be annoyed at traffic, or stores that have not restocked their merchandise since Black Friday, or even the lady who pulls out the pepper spray in line (did y’all hear about that??).
I promise they’ll keep a smile on your face til lunchtime. After lunch, though, you’re on your own. I recommend cupcakes.
Buttered Pecan Scones
Makes 2 scones.
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons butter + 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup whole pecan halves
1/4 cup cream (plus extra for brushing)
Coarse sugar for the top, if desired
Preheat the oven to 400 and grease a small cookie sheet.
In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with the pecans. Let toast slowly over low heat until they are fragrant. When done, remove from heat and let cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the 2 1/2 tablespoons of cold butter and work it into the flour using your hands or a pastry cutter. When the butter is the size of rice grains and is evenly distributed throughout the flour, add the cream. Stir together lightly, then add the buttered pecan mixture. Dump the mixture out onto a floured board and need no more than 10 times to make the dough come together. Form a 6” long rectangle, cut it in half, then place on the baking sheet 5" apart. Brush with extra cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired. Bake for 15 minutes.
Christina Lane is the author of 3 cookbooks all about cooking and baking for two. She has scaled down hundreds of recipes into smaller servings so you can enjoy your favorite dishes without the leftovers! Valentine's Day is her favorite holiday.