Have you ever had a baked good that was so good that you thought about it afterwards? Something that you bit into thinking it would be quite fine, quite nice, and then said, "Wait. How do I have that again?" These scones are my own attempt to recreate that experience, one that introduced me to the perfect walnut scone.
I don't say "perfect" lightly. There is a bakery in Columbus, Ohio — my hometown — called Omega Artisan Baking, that makes gorgeous bread, beautiful cakelets, obscenely amazing cinnamon buns, and... these homely little walnut scones. I first picked one out a few years ago before a day hiking, attracted by its glistening pool of jam on top — its one beauty.
Well, after a long morning hiking, I bit into this nutty scone, one that wasn't too moist, but crumbly and ever so slightly sandy, the way a good buttery scone should be, with no huge chunks of walnuts, but a fine walnut taste worked all throughout, topped with a gooey bite of raspberry goodness. Maybe it was the morning of hiking (hunger is the best sauce, right?) but I thought it was one of the most amazing scones I had ever tasted.
These scones don't have the exact texture (although perhaps a long morning hiking will catapult them into your favorites too!) — but they are still pretty amazing. They are very easy to make in a food processor, but they can also be made by hand. Most of their sweetness comes from figs whirred into the dough, and they have a fine nuttiness complemented by that sweet pop of raspberry jam.
2 1/2 cups whole walnuts 2 cups flour 1/3 cup light brown sugar 3 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup dried figs, halved 12 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter 1/2 cup milk 1 egg, beaten 2/3 cup raspberry jam
Heat the oven to 350°F and prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment.
In the bowl of a large food processor pulse the walnuts with the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon for about 10 seconds, or until the walnuts are roughly crumbled into the dry mixture. Add the figs and butter and process for another 10 seconds, or until the the figs are finely processed and the butter is breadcrumb texture. Add the milk and egg and pulse just until it comes together in a cohesive dough.
(Alternatively, you can finely chop the walnuts and figs in a mini chopper and mix with the dry ingredients. Then work in the butter until it is the texture of fine breadcrumbs, using your fingers or a pastry blender, and gently mix in the wet ingredients.)
Sprinkle the counter or a board with flour, and pat the dough out about 3/4-inch thick. Cut out 3-inch rounds using a biscuit cutter or glass. Place on prepared baking sheet and make gentle indentations in the top of each scone with your thumb or the back of a spoon. Fill each indentation with a generous spoonful of jam.
Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or golden. Serve warm but not hot.