Whole Wheat Hazelnut Scones with Maple Glaze

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world  - J.R.R. Tolkien
So, I saw The Hobbit last week and I haven't fully recovered yet. It was that good. I can't even say it was good because that would be an insult. It was thrilling, exhilarating, spectacular, beautiful, captivating, heartwarming, everything! Just brilliant. And, so, my obsession with the Lord of the Rings series has been rekindled and is burning bright for all things hobbitses.

I first read the books when I was about 13. The movies had come out but I had yet to see them when I started reading the books. I devoured the trilogy and The Hobbit and was in love. I saw the movies and fell even deeper in love. An entire new world was created in those books and brought to life on the big screen. It was everything you could ask for in a story. 

To be a hobbit seems like the most wonderful thing to be. You live in the most adorable little hole decked out in beautiful wooden furniture, you have a beautiful garden, friendly neighbors  and, best of all, the food!

You've got breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and then supper. All that food! The scene in The Hobbit with all the food in Bilbo's pantry...oh my. 

I definitely wouldn't be an adventuring hobbit, like Frodo or Bilbo. I'd be perfectly content in my hobbit hole, eating my scrumptious food, scoffing at the youngins going off on adventures. Gandalf would not convince me to go fight dragons and orcs and whatnot. No, sir, I would be a stay-at-home hobbit.

I'd like to imagine that hobbits might eat something as scrumptious as these scones. Perhaps for elenvensies, or afternoon tea, with bit of jam or devonshire cream to go along with it.The addition of whole wheat flour adds a wonderful nutty flavour that pairs very well with hazelnuts and the maple glaze adds a delightful sweetness without being overpowering.

Whether you're an adventurous hobbit or a homey hobbit, whether you're in your hobbit hole or at the Black Gate of Mordor, these scones will be splendid at any time of the day.

Whole Wheat Hazelnut Scones with Maple Glaze
Recipe from Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Whole Wheat Hazelnut Scones
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (7 oz. or 200 g) cold, unsalted butter, grated
1 1/4 cups (195 g) hazelnuts
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Maple Glaze
3/4 cup powdered (icing) sugar
4 tablespoons (57 g) unsalted butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the skins are dark brown and smelling toasty. 

Remove from the oven and up the temperature to 400 degrees.

Let the hazelnuts cool completely before skinning them. You can skin them by rubbing them together in a kitchen towel or by taking the skins off with your fingers. Not every last bit of skin will come off, so don't fret. Finely chop the hazelnuts and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add your grated butter and get rid of any large clumps. The mixture should resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the hazelnuts.

In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Gradually stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour until it just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead very gently for a minute or two. Be careful not to overmix it.

Divide the dough into 2 balls, patting each one into a flat round about 1/2-inch thick. Cut each round into 6 wedges.

Place the scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are golden brown on the edges. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

While the scones are cooling, make the glaze. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. In a bowl, sift the icing sugar. Add the melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and whisk in the cream.

Drizzle the scones generously with the glaze. I used a piping bag because I wanted a neater glaze, but feel free to use a spoon. 



Cranberry and White Chocolate Scones

My go-to scone is normally lemon poppy seed, but, seeing as we are in my favorite month/season, I decided to change things up a bit. I’m not sure if cranberry and white chocolate is a classic holiday flavour combo because of the sweet-tart thing going on, or because it’s got Christmas colours… I’m thinking a little bit of both.

Scones and I have a nice relationship going. We’re not best friends, but we’re comfortable friends. We always go well together and have never had any upsets. Scones may not be my absolute favorite baked good, but they’re certainly a delight whenever they’re around.

Last year, I got dumped from the only long-term relationship I’d ever had (at the time). I knew it was coming and I wasn’t completely surprised, but I was still pretty upset. My dad is the one I go to with most of my problems because, unlike most guys, he has learned that he doesn’t have to fix every problem I present to him. So, anyways, he invited me over to his apartment the day after the breakup and suggested we make scones and have tea. Of course, I went and baked scones. My dad, his wife, and I sat down at the table, drinking tea, chatting about things other than my ex-boyfriend, and ate delicious lemon poppy seed scones. It made me feel loads better about myself and everything didn’t seem so bad.

Now, whenever I think of making scones, I think of the tea party we had and it makes me smile. Maybe you have a nice scone memory, or maybe you can make one when you make these! Scones are great because they’re very versatile. Just add bit of this and that to a basic scone recipe, and you’ve got a whole new scone.

For lemon poppy seed scones, add 2 teaspoons of freshly grated lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds in place of the white chocolate and cranberries in this recipe. Other additions could be orange zest, chocolate chips, dried berries, pumpkin, or nuts. If you want to make savory scones, omit the sugar. Try cheese, spinach, sundried tomatoes, herbs, and/or bacon. Anything you want, you can pretty much add to a scone for any meal of the day.

The key to a great scone is cold ingredients, especially butter. A great trick I learned from one of my favorite food blogs, A Cozy Kitchen, is to grate the butter with a cheese grater. I don’t know why recipes don’t say to do that, it’s much easier than cutting it up into tiny pieces with your knife.

Another key thing is to be gentle with the dough. When mixing it together and kneading it, do so just enough for it to come together. If you knead it too much, it will be dense and doughy. 

Cranberry and White Chocolate Scones
Recipe adapted from Joy Of Baking

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (75 grams) cold unsalted butter, grated
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream
1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries 

Milk to brush on top

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. I put my butter in the freezer for a few minutes after I grate it, just to make sure it's good and cold. Combine the butter and flour mixture, using your fingers to break apart any chunks of butter that stuck together. The butter pieces should be the size of small peas.

In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the milk or cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Add this to the flour mixture and stir with a fork until it just comes together. Add the white chocolate and cranberries and gently fold in. If you want to use less chocolate or cranberries than I do, feel free to. 

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently knead the dough until it begins to hold together. Be careful not to overwork it. Shape into a circle about 7 inches in diameter. You can use a cookie cutter to cut circles, or if you prefer, you can use a knife and cut triangles or whatever shape you want. If you cut with a cookie cutter, gently push the excess dough together and cut more until you can do this no longer. The very last ones will be a little denser because of the extra handling, but I think it's better than wasting dough.

Place the scones on the baking sheet and brush the tops with a little bit of milk or cream.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the edges are golden brown. remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve with Devonshire cream, jam, butter, or just on their own. Scones freeze well, so put them in a large ziploc bag when they are completely cooled and pop them in the freezer. To thaw, preheat your oven to about 150 degrees, and place your scones in for a couple minutes.