Friday, February 27, 2009

Mad About Maple!

It’s starting to look a lot like Spring in Lancaster County. Bruce noticed white buckets hanging from the maple trees along Wentzel Road during his walk early one morning. He came upon a farmer out feeding his chickens and stopped to chat. “It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup,” said the farmer. “Once you boil the clear liquid, it turns amber.”

Conditions are now perfect for collecting sap – freezing temps at night and 40s in the daytime. Pennsylvania produces quite a bit of maple syrup – less than Vermont, yes -- but more than New Hampshire.

At The Artist’s Inn, we have always served only pure maple syrup. There is just no substitute – we are crazy about the stuff. So, during the month of March, we’ll be featuring breakfasts made with Pennsylvania maple syrup. Stay with us in March and receive your own little jar of Pennsylvania Maple Syrup from Brydonson Farm in Coudersport to take home. It’s the real thing.

Of course, we know that most of you come to The Artist’s Inn for a romantic retreat, to soak off the stress in a whirlpool tub, or in front of a fireplace. Maybe you’re here to connect with each other and, perhaps to even socialize a little with the innkeepers. Not so for all our guests, though. One in particular (we won’t divulge your name, Bob from Iowa) comes purely for the maple pecan scones. It’s the only way we can entice him to return!

Here’s Bob’s favorite scone recipe, and one we’ll be serving when he and his wife Diane visit us again.

Maple-Pecan Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1 1/4 teaspoons maple extract

Glaze – 1 egg, beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water

Preheat oven to 425. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper (or use silpat). Place flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in processor. Pulse to blend. Add butter and stir until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans.

Whisk cream, egg yolks, and maple extract in small bowl. Pour into flour mixture, pulse until moist clumps form. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth, about 4 turns. Pat dough into ½ inch thick round and cut shapes for scones, using either a fluted cutter or just cut into triangles. Transfer scones to baking surface. Brush with egg glaze. I like to sprinkle them with coarse sugar.

Bake until scones are browned and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 14 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes about 18.

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