in my house growing up, maple syrup was something of a necessity. bacon was mandatory. pancakes were always made from scratch. and breakfast was an extremely big deal.
but it took my family a little while to figure out that real maple syrup is a completely different thing than the super sweet syrup that comes in plastic bottles shaped like a lady. my immediate family is from the west coast, and i always grew up eating the fake stuff, not realizing that there was something vastly superior being consumed on the other side of the country. we didn’t know hardly anything about it, but my parents wanted us kids to be comfortable in our new homes and to try foods that were more specific to our new home of new england. after moving from southern california to northern vermont, my parents bundled my brother and i into the car, drove us out to the woods, and tried to take us maple sugaring…in september.
obviously, we were all a little disappointed to learn that sugaring happens in the spring. and to be honest, when my family first tasted pure, made-from-tree-sap syrup, none of us were that crazy about it. but it seemed ridiculous at our weekly sunday brunch to take my father’s incredible, fluffy, chock-full-of-love homemade pancakes and smother them with fake syrup, so we gave the real stuff a shot. and the more we tried it, the more we fell in love with the pure, delicious flavor of authentic maple syrup. it’s impossible to imagine going back now.
this is all a little embarrassing to admit, since i now do my best to consume as many local foods as possible and put real emphasis on eating natural, whole, healthy foods – but i try to just remind myself that we’re all a little foolish when we’re younger. after all, i used to hate tomatoes. clearly i had a lot to learn.
and while i’ve tasted some truly delicious maple syrup over the years, the syrup crafted at sweet brook farm, right here in massachusetts, is one of the best i’ve ever had. rich, sweet, with complex, beautiful flavors. i use it for all kinds of things, from pancakes to oatmeal to chicken to bacon, but i really love it in scones – it adds so much flavor and moisture and makes these perfect breakfast pastries light and sweet and positively lovely.
of course, any good quality maple syrup will work in the following recipe, but i’m giving you a chance to score your very own bottle of sweet brook farm syrup, along with some other yummy local treats! but first…
maple syrup & toffee scones
1/4 cup really good maple syrup
1/3 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled or steel-cut oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/4 cup toffee bits, plus extra for topping
2 tablespoons brown sugar
preheat oven to 400 degrees.
in a small bowl, mix together maple syrup and milk.
in a large bowl, or the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. add cubed butter – you can either mix this with your fingers, or lightly pulse in a food processor until mixture is crumbly. slowly add syrup and milk mixture until dough is just holding together, but isn’t sticky – you may not need the entire mixture. add the toffee bits and stir gently.
dump dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a few times, just enough so that the dough stays together. press dough into a square or a circle, and cut into 12 even pieces. i like squares, but you can also do triangles, or split it into 12 little round balls – whatever makes you happy. place the scones onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, with at least half an inch between them. mix brown sugar with a bit more toffee, and sprinkle mixture onto the top of each scone.
bake scones for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. eat these warm, preferably with hot coffee and a few friends. you can add butter, honey, jam, or more maple syrup, but they’re delicious all on their own.
in honor of my 100th post, i’m delighted to announce that i’ve partnered with eat boutique to give away one of their exquisite and delicious local artisan food gift boxes! if you don’t know about this beautiful blog and shop, get your butt to their site right now. maggie batista and her talented team find the best of local syrups, spices, cookies, and other goodies and package them all up into these beautiful gift boxes that you can send off to your friends and family. i’ve both given and received these as gifts, and they’re an absolutely wonderful thing for any food lover in your life.
the winner of this giveaway will receive a special new england gift box, made just for ginger-snapped, containing taza chocolate, Q’s nuts, salt traders salt, sweet brook farm maple syrup, and new harvest coffee beans. all items are produced right here in new england, and the chocolate and nuts are both actually from somerville, where i live – i can personally vouch for their deliciousness.
to enter, click the link below to enter through rafflecopter – the form is also available on the ginger-snapped facebook page. you can earn extra entries by following on facebook and twitter, or by tweeting about the contest. these boxes can only be shipped within the US, so the contest is only open to US residents. the winner will be selected with rafflecopter. the giveaway ends friday, may 24th, and the winner will be announced right here, as well as on facebook and twitter. good luck!