Today, this blog is all about bacon. It is with bacon that one of the very best treats baked in my kitchen – ever – was created. These buttery tender scones are studded with flecks of black walnuts, Praline Bacon and just a kick of ground black pepper; they’re not too sweet with a drizzle of maple glaze. Salty, sweet, nutty, unami!
I rarely START a post by describing how delicious a recipe is – I often end that way. But this bacon post calls for breaking ALL the rules. (Afterall, how often does a dietitian write prose on the deliciousness of bacon?) In fact, if I could have figured out how to do it for this post only, I would have changed our blog “mission statement” above to “Two dietitians who love bacon as much as you do.” And love bacon we do; in fact, it was on our first official business meeting of Teaspoon Communications that we sat around a card table in my spare bedroom…while munching on nutty, brown sugary Praline Bacon (seen in photo above,) and also savoring some blue cheese and drinking dark ale.
But – and here’s the caveat – we don’t feed our families bacon daily, or even weekly. But the holiday of St. Patrick’s Day and the Love Bloghop #IrishLove seemed like a perfect special occasion to combine beloved bacon with the well-loved Irish scone. (And to make this recipe a little healthier, I stirred in whole wheat flour and actually cut the butter to the bare minimum to still achieve a tender scone.)
Along the journey to creating these Maple Bacon Scones, I learned a bit more about bacon. While on a recent ‘family field trip’ to Calhoun County, Illinois (where we discovered to-die-for Road Food) we also came upon a top-quality farmstead butcher shop. (Farmstead being a fancy word for a shop on the farm, where out-back you could see the pigs and cows grazing – or “free-ranging” to use another fancy word.)
My kids had an up close lesson in butchering as they watched the talented men in stained white aprons behind the counter scoring various cuts of meat. It was here that we were able to purchase (very inexpensively) the best bacon I’ve tasted.Print
Maple Bacon Scones
These Maple Bacon Scones are the best thing – ever- to come out of my kitchen. Nutty whole wheat flour and ground walnuts compliment the praline bacon.
- 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, chilled in freezer 10 min before using
- ¼ cup leftover Praline Bacon nut mixture (When I made the nut mixture for the bacon, I used black walnuts instead of almonds, and added 1 teaspoon black pepper not 1 tablespoon to the entire nut mixture)
- 2 pieces Praline Bacon , chopped
- 1 beaten egg
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon 2% milk (divided)
- MAPLE GLAZE:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon maple extract (or 1 tablespoon maple syrup- I didn’t have any!)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1–3 teaspoons 2% milk
- Combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until dough has just a few small pea-sized pieces of butter. Stir in nuts and bacon. Combine egg and ½ cup milk; add to dry mixture. Stir just until moistened.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead about 12-15 times until remainder of flour is incorporated and dough is nearly smooth – but some butter chunks remain.
- Pat into a 12-inch circle and using a flour coated serrated knife cut into 8 triangles. Using a pastry brush, brush with 1 tablespoon milk. Bake in preheated 400° oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
- For maple glace, stir together powdered sugar, extracts and milk until smooth. Drizzle over scones.
And this leads me to my question to you, dear readers…for which I’m really hoping for answers! Why is it that the rendered fat of this farmstead bacon – even when chilled – is still smooth, satiny and not hard and saturated – as the rendered fat from most supermarket bacon? Do nitrates affect the rendered fat?