One of my favorite things about living in a big city is the selection of food. You’re always able to find exactly what you’re craving, and if you do your research (or at least check Yelp!), you can be almost certain that it’s going to be really good. Thai, Indian, Italian, African, Southern. All. So. Good. My boyfriend was visiting this past weekend (hence the bacon rampage) and when walking around, we ran into Madison Square Eats. For three weeks, some of the coolest restaurants, carry-out-only joints and food trucks set up shop in a mini food festival of sorts at the intersection of 34th and 5th. There were about 16 vendors there and such a variety. It was so hard to choose – or more accurately, to restrain myself. Everything from Belgian waffles to authentic Italian pizza, North African bread and meat boats, and Southern ice cream sandwiches (think red velvet cookies with cream cheese ice-cream). How’s a girl to choose? I settled on a simple nutella banana crepe, and nibbled off of my boyfriend’s fish and chips. And as I was indulging in the last few bites of my crepe, I decided that the best part of a hand-held crepe is the same as the best part of an ice cream cone. It’s that last bite when the inside of each has melted and is super gooey and sweet and sticky and is held together only by either the tail end of the crepe or cone. And the bite is always way too big to be considered one bite but there’s no way you’re compromising on the experience by making it two. You guys know what I’m talking about right? It was heaven in my hands.
The vendors at MSE were really inspiring and I ended up spending most of Sunday in the kitchen exploring all the possibilities my candied maple bacon offered. I decided to first make scones. With an emphasis on maple and brown sugar and a solid hint of bacon. I think scones can be really hit or miss – they’re either too dry and crumbly or too soft and crumbly, neither of which are appetizing. But when a scone is made well, they’re seriously addicting. And these, ladies and gentlemen, these are addicting. I didn’t want to push my sweet-meets-salty luck so I halved and slightly altered a recipe I found but now I’m upset that I didn’t keep the original recipe’s quantities as is. The bacon is so perfectly subtle and the dough is just moist enough. I left the glaze on the side and am glad because the brown sugar adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Your palette isn’t overwhelmed by any of the flavors in this scone. It’s just happy.
Update: after bringing them to work, I got a unanimous thumbs up.
BACON BROWN SUGAR SCONES
Adopted from How Sweet Eats
(makes 8 scones)
(for the scones)
1½ cups flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed
½ cup half and half + 1 tablespoon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3-4 strips (maple) bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons white sugar
(for the maple glaze)
1½ tablespoons maple syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons half and half (or milk)
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- Preheat oven to 425°. In a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pulse until combined. Add the chilled, cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Move the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the ½ cup half and half, the vanilla and maple syrup. Stir to combine, roughly. Add the chopped bacon and stir.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until the mixture is well combined and forms a solid ball. Shape into an 8 inch disk, about 1 – 1½ inches in height. Using a lightly floured knife, divide the dough into 8 even pieces (like a pizza pie).
- Place the piece of dough on a lightly greased cookie sheet leaving at least an inch of space in between. Brush the tops with the remaining tablespoon of buttermilk and sprinkle the 3 tablespoons white sugar evenly among them. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the edges and top are lightly golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature
- FOR THE GLAZE: using only 1 tablespoon of water at a time, combine all the ingredients in a bowl, whisking until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add the second tablespoon of water. Serve on the side or drizzle over slightly cooled scones.