Eating and Reading: Barbara Jean Coast's Caramel Apple Pecan Scones and "Strangled in Silk"
Though cozy mysteries can and should be read at all times of the year, winter brings with it the perfect weather for curling up inside and reading mysteries by the fire. That same weather also makes it the perfect time of year to fire up the oven and experiment in the kitchen, and Cozy Cat’s cookbook, Cozy Cat Cooks: Over 20 Authors Share Recipes, will help you expand your repertoire with enticing recipes from your favorite Cozy Cat Authors. The cookbook can be purchased from Amazon.
This winter, Cozy Cat will be publishing four installments of an “Eating and Reading” blog series where recipes from Cozy Cat Cooks will be paired with one of Cozy Cat’s mysteries.
This week, we’re cooking Barbara Jean Coast’s Caramel Apple Pecan Scones, the perfect sweet treat to snack on while perusing her mystery, Strangled by Silk, available for purchase from Amazon. Below you’ll find the recipe, which makes between 8-15 scones, depending on what size you cut the dough.
For the scones:
2 cups of peeled and diced apples (roughly two large apples)
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps. vanilla extract
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup light cream (for dairy-free/vegan, sub 1 cup vegan creamer)
2 Tbsps. baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 Tbsps. unsalted butter (for dairy-free/vegan, sub 12 Tbsps. vegan buttery spread)
1 cup of pecan halves, toasted
For the caramel sauce:
2 cups packed brown sugar
½ cup cream (for dairy-free/vegan, sub ½ cup vegan creamer)
8 Tbsps. butter, cut into pieces (for dairy-free/vegan, sub 8 Tbsps. vegan buttery spread)
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1. Make the caramel sauce by adding brown sugar and cream to a medium sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir to combine well with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the butter and allow it to melt completely.
2. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, and then cook until mixture is thickened, about 5-7 minutes. If adding vanilla, allow the sauce to cool 5 minutes before adding.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (220 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment.
4. Dice the apples, and toast the pecans in a small frying pan over medium heat or in the oven at 350 degrees F (176 C) for 5 minutes or until just fragrant.
5. Mix the cream with the vanilla extract and set aside.
6. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together.
7. Cut the cold butter into chunks and add to the flour mixture. Using your hands, a pastry cutter, or two knives, mix until it resembles pea-sized crumbs. Stir in the diced apple, gently tossing.
8. Make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture; pour cream mixture into the hole. Add half of the caramel mixture in as well. Quickly stir it together until it’s blended.
**It’s important to stir quickly here because the caramel can start to harden once it is poured into the cream.
9. Allow dough to rest for 2 minutes. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and satiny (4-5 minutes) and roll in the pecans while kneading. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet and pat into a round.
10. At this point you can choose to cut into wedged pieces or to create smaller rounds. Whatever you choose, be sure to leave space between your scones at least ½ an inch.
11. Bake in the preheated oven 18-20 minutes. Half way through baking, put the remaining caramel sauce on top of each one to glaze. The tops of the scones will be light brown and caramel-covered. Transfer to a wire rack and cool 20 minutes before serving.
Stay tuned next week, when we’ll be cooking up some saucy squash to go with a collegiate mystery.