Butterscotch Pecan Scones

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These butterscotch pecan scones are tender, sweet, and rich, almost like giant cookies. Perfect for gifting to neighbors and teachers over the holidays!

Butterscotch Pecan Scones

My dear friend Betsy Goldstein (also superb cook and Once Upon a Chef right hand) recently told me about the most amazing scones she and her husband enjoyed while celebrating their anniversary at The Salamander Resort in Middleburg, VA. In raving about the scones (the caramelized bottoms! the butterscotch! the toasted pecans!), Betsy admitted to having brought one home for me to taste, only to have succumbed to temptation before having the chance to give it to me. So, being me, I decided to trek out to Middleburg to hunt down the scones. I’m happy to report that they lived up to the hype, and I was able to create a copycat version by making a few tweaks to my favorite chocolate chip scone recipe.

These butterscotch pecan scones are tender, sweet, and rich — almost like giant cookies. They are perfect for holiday brunches or gifting to neighbors and teachers (especially if you’re like me and need to get them out of the house before you eat the entire batch!).

What you’ll need To Make Butterscotch Pecan Scones

how to make butterscotch pecan scones

To get the right texture for the scones, you’ll need cake flour. While I would recommend picking up a box for this, in a pinch, you can make your own. Combine 1-3/4 cups All-Purpose flour plus 1/4 cup cornstarch. I’ve made the scones this way and they aren’t quite as light and tender as they are with cake flour, but they are still very good.

How To Make Butterscotch Pecan Scones

To begin: toast the pecans in a 400°F oven until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Let them cool, then coarsely chop them and set aside.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesNext, in a small bowl, combine the heavy cream, egg, and vanilla.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesWhisk well and set aside.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesIn a large bowl, combine the cake flour, salt, baking powder, and brown sugar.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesMix well, using your fingers to rub the brown sugar into the mixture until no lumps remain.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesAdd the pieces of cold butter.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesUse your fingertips to rub the butter into dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pea-sized clumps of butter within.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesIt should look like this.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesStir in the butterscotch chips and pecans.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesMake a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then add the cream mixture.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesUse a rubber spatula to mix until the dough comes together.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesIt should be a bit sticky, almost like chocolate chip cookie dough. If it seems dry, add a bit more cream little by little (no more than 2 tablespoons should be necessary).

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesDust a clean, dry work surface with flour, and place the sticky dough on top. Dust the top of the dough with a little flour.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesKnead gently a few times until dough comes together into a ball. (Sprinkle lightly with more flour as needed so that the dough doesn’t stick.)

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesPress the dough into a circle about an inch high, then cut into 8 wedges.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesArrange the wedges on the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly apart, and then sprinkle each one with about 1/2 teaspoon of Demerara sugar.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesBake for 14 to 16 minutes, until lightly golden and firm to the touch.

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesLet the scones cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Butterscotch Pecan Scones

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Butterscotch Pecan Scones

These butterscotch pecan scones are tender, sweet, and rich, almost like giant cookies. Perfect for gifting to neighbors and teachers over the holidays!

Servings: 8 large scones
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more if necessary
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off (see note on substitution)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup butterscotch chips, best quality such as Guittard
  • Demerara sugar (also called raw sugar or turbinado), for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange the pecans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Slide the parchment off of the hot baking sheet and let the pecans cool on the countertop. When the pecans are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop them and set aside. Place the parchment back on the baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, egg and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and brown sugar (use your fingers to rub the brown sugar into the mixture until no lumps remain). Add the pieces of butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pea-sized clumps of butter within. Stir in the butterscotch chips and pecans. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then add the cream mixture. Use a rubber spatula to mix until the dough comes together. It should be a bit sticky, almost like chocolate chip cookie dough. If it seems dry, add more cream little by little (no more than 2 tablespoons should be necessary).
  5. Dust a clean, dry work surface with flour. Place the sticky dough on top and dust the top of the dough with a little flour as well. Knead gently a few times until the dough comes together into a ball. (Sprinkle lightly with more flour as needed so that the dough doesn't stick.)
  6. Press the dough into a circle about 1-inch high, then cut into 8 wedges. Arrange the wedges on the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly apart, and then sprinkle each one with about 1/2 teaspoon of Demerara sugar. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until lightly golden and firm to the touch. Let the scones cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The scones are best enjoyed fresh on the day they are made but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.
  7. Note: If you don't have cake flour, you can make your own: simply whisk together 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The Dough can be Frozen for up to 3 Months: Put the dough wedges on a baking sheet, let set in the freezer, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To Freeze After Baking: Let the scones cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the scones from the container and let them come to room temperature. **If you have the option to freeze the scones before or after baking them, you will get the best results if you freeze them before baking.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 scone
  • Calories: 409
  • Fat: 24 g
  • Saturated fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 45 g
  • Sugar: 17 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 5 g
  • Sodium: 222 mg
  • Cholesterol: 63 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I made these and they were delicious. Flavor was superb. I think I would have made them with half all purpose flour and half cake flour, a little too tender for me.

    • — Anne on June 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! I am so excited to get your new cookbook! I make your recipes on a daily basis. About these scones, I was wondering if it would be ok to make them smaller – would that change anything? Thank you!

    P.S. My husband likes these so much that he was craving them late last night, so I had to bake!

    • — Karen on April 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, Thanks for your nice words about the recipes and support of the cookbook! 🙂
      Yes, you could make smaller versions of these; bake time may be a bit shorter so keep a close eye on them.

      • — Jenn on April 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • Yummmmmm! We have a tradition in our home that we always have rainy day tea parties with scones and tea if it rains on a Friday! Well, today is one of those days! Our kids are 24, 21, and 19 and all in college or having graduated and moved on Even though we can’t have a tea party together today, the 24 and 21 year old both made scones today! The 19 year old is a freshman boy. Need I say more? We love these scones for such occasions! I make them with gluten free flour and an extra egg (my little secret for making gluten free baked goods just a little bit better). They don’t roll out the same as regular flour scones, so I just scoop them on to a baking sheet with parchment paper like a “drop” scone. They are flakey, and sweet and fabulous! I can’t wait for tea time today!

    • — Jennifer on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • I’m not much of a baker, haven’t even tried to make biscuits. But butterscotch and pecans were too tempting so I tried it. I was surprised by my success. I followed the recipe as close as possible and will do them again to share as gifts.

    • — Susan on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • These scones are amazing! I double the batch, and use a full bag of butterscotch chips and double the pecans. Soooooo gooood!!! My family and friends love them, and they pair perfectly with coffee and tea.

    • — Joni on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I absolutely love these scones. The pecan/ butterscotch combination is absolutely mouthwatering. Make sure to use cake flour for this particular recipe.

    • — Megan on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have made these a few times and they are as good as any you can buy in a bakery.
    Super flavorful, I do add the raw sugar on top before baking.

    • — Tammy Krummel on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have a question: I love Carol’s Cookies made by a company in Northbrook, Illinois, particularly their toffee chocolate chip cookie. They are big (each cookie is 7 ounces) and they are not flat. They look somewhat like your scone cookies, only circular and rounded. I moved from Illinois and cannot find them locally. Can you do a copycat of them?

    • — Bobbie Becker on December 10, 2020
    • Reply
    • They sound yummy! I can add them to my list of recipes to potentially develop. Thanks for the suggestion as I’m always looking for new inspiration!

      • — Jenn on December 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • I’m not a baker and made the butterscotch pecan scones for the first time. It was easy and very good. Thought it would be dry, but with jam and coffee … it is a keeper! Thanks for the recipe.

    • — Kyoko on October 12, 2020
    • Reply
  • I LOVE scones but making them always seemed intimidating. When I saw this recipe, I decided I needed to go for it. I have made so many other recipes from your site and book that it had to be doable! It was way easier than I even anticipated, and SO. DELICIOUS. Thanks for building up my scone-making confidence. And for an amazing recipe.

    • — Dana on September 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made these again last night and they are wonderful. I love the toasted pecan crispiness in the soft scone. I wish I had made them smaller so I could eat them more often. Delicious.

    • — Mary Lew McCarty on September 24, 2020
    • Reply
  • Fantastic! My husband has declared these delicious scones his favorite. I like to make small scones so I cut these into 16 small triangles and reduce the baking time to 10-11 minutes.

    • — Ann C on March 5, 2020
    • Reply
  • these are delicious! I’ve never been a fan of scones as I felt they are too dry but I’ve been intrigued by this recipe since it came out. Tender and delicious. So much better than buying

    • — Janet on October 5, 2019
    • Reply
    • I should add that my husband and I both said these were the best scones we ever had.

      • — Janet on October 5, 2019
      • Reply
  • Delicious and not too sweet, despite the chips. Rather fluffy due to the cake flour, which was unusual but pleasant. I will definitely make again.

    • — Rzh on September 22, 2019
    • Reply
  • I previously commented that I was going to make these as soon as I purchased cake flour! Well, I did purchase, and I did make them and I was blown away! So easy, so delicious, and yes, they were sweet with the butterscotch chips, but the toasted pecans offset that. The flavor and light bite, topped with the texture of the nuts, chips, and turbinado sugar sprinkled on top just was perfect. Such an easy recipe, with an impressively delicious result. This is a mainstay in my baking now.

  • HI. I would like to make these a few days ahead. I am on vacation, in a rental unit that has a very tiny freezer, so it would be hard to freeze the dough in triangles as you suggested. Any ideas as to the best way to bake these a few days ahead in this situation? Thanks!

    • Hi Jane, While these are best on the day that they’re baked, they will last for up to 3 days in an airtight container, so you could go that route. You can also bake and freeze them. Just thaw them on the counter for about 12 hours before serving. Hope that helps!

  • Delicious! Even my son who says he doesn’t like nuts was raving. I baked half with dinner and then refrigerated and baked the rest in the morning for coffee with a friend. Worked great, thank you!

  • Hi I want to try these, what is cake flour? Never heard of it. I’m in Ireland. I also have never seen butterscotch chips. anyways I’m going to give these a go. I love trying different things. laura

    • Hi Laura, you can make your own cake flour by combining 1-3/4 cup All-Purpose flour plus 1/4 cup cornstarch. I’ve made the scones this way and while they aren’t quite as light and tender as they are with cake flour, they are still very good. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

  • Made these with a friend this afternoon and had them with tea. They are absolutely delectable and the kitchen smelled like caramel and butterscotch.
    I will definitely bake them again.

  • Jenn, I would love to make these scones, however, I live at high altitude, where the use of cake flower is not advised. Will there be a significant difference in the scones if I use all purpose flour, or half all purpose and half cake flour?
    Thanks

    • Hi Maria, I think half and half will be fine. 🙂

  • My husband absolutely loved these scones. I would like to experiment with dried cherries instead of butterscotch. Do I need to add more sugar to offset the sweetness of butterscotch? If so, brown or granulated sugar?

    • So glad he enjoyed them, Anna! I would increase the brown sugar to 4 tablespoons. Please let me know how they turn out!

  • These look great!

    Do you have a food processor adaptation of these, or can I just use the same dry then wet used in your pumpkin scone version?

    I’ve tried so many other scone recipes, and I don’t know if it’s my technique or my Florida weather, but I’ve never been able to successfully cut the butter by hand or with dough cutter/fork into the dry ingredients (recipes always came out heavy, and butter was melting rather than breaking up), until your pumpkin scone recipe (which was PERFECT), and easy.

    • Sure, Rachel, using a food processor is fine. I just decided against that for this recipe because of the pecans and butterscotch morsels that get added. You can definitely use the technique from the pumpkin scone recipe. Enjoy!

  • Hi Jenn, These scones are just delicious! Because I’ve made your chocolate chip scones (also, no surprise, amazing!), I thought I’d try to shape this dough to make smaller ones. I shaped the dough into a square, still with the one inch thickness. I cut the square into 4ths, and each 4th into 4 triangles. I baked half of the scones for 14 min, but I think I’ll go 12-13 next time. I froze the other half of the unbaked scones, so all set for a nice quick treat another time. Thanks, Jenn, for another wonderful recipe!

  • Just made these tonight and they are AMAZING! Even my picky eater, chocolate lover husband tried it and gave it a thumbs up. I gave him a piece of my scone and he was hesitant to try it because it wasn’t chocolate. LOL After he took a bite he asked if I had anymore. YAY! I gave him his very own scone. : ) I’ll be making these again.

  • I have tried many recipes for scones and these are by far the best! The cake flour makes them light and they are wonderfully flaky. I didn’t have butterscotch chips so I substituted Skor toffee bits which added a lovely flavour.

    • Love that idea, Doreen. 🙂

  • Love all your recipes that I have tried. Would it be possible to substitute half and half for the cream? I wanted to make these on this rainy day but only have half and half. Thanks for your excellent recipes and their presentations.

    • Hi Carolyn, Yes that should work. Enjoy…and so happy you like the site! 🙂

  • Hi Jenn.
    I am your biggest fan. Everything I cook or bake from your website turns out amazingly delicious. I have told Friends family and neighbors that Once upon a Chef is my secret. 👍 Obviously, I can’t keep a secret.
    I have a quick question can the scones be frozen?
    Thanks for sharing your talent you are certainly making our world a Delicious place. Smiles, Priscilla

    • — Priscilla Lebold
    • Reply
    • Thanks so much for your sweet note, Priscilla – so glad you like the recipes! ❤️
      Yes, you can freeze the scones after baking (although you’ll get better results if you freeze the unbaked dough). Let the scones cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the scones from the container and let them come to room temperature.

  • These came out fantastic, and they’re pretty easy to make. They really do seem like a giant cookie, and made my house smell like heaven. The only butterscotch chips I could find were Nestles and they were fine. If I see a better brand in my travels, I’ll use those next time. Plan on making the chocolate chip scones next week. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • We have not purchased Cake Flour in recent memory, but we did so just for this recipe. Wow! The scones were almost melt-in-your-mouth light. A real keeper of a recipe.

    We used bulk bin chips. They were tasteless or seemed so in the scones. Next time we will look for better quality chips; you gave some good advice about getting good quality chips, Jenn.

  • My husband is on his second scone and just said they could be sold in a bakery, so delicious! I love your recipes Jenn and always look forward to seeing Once Upon A Chef in my Inbox because I know there’s a dish that won’t fail to please. Thank you again for sharing your talent as a true chef!

  • really like the way you present your recipes. step by step in pictures. this is my favorite cooking blog to follow. thank you

    • ❤️

    • I know! I love the pictures step by step. Her web site is so easy to navigate. I want to try all her recipes. My goal is to try at least one or two recipes a week from her. Thanks Jenn. : )

  • How much of the pecans did you add? Thanks!

    • Hi Kristin, The recipe calls for 2/3 cup pecans.

  • I am definitely making this soon as I was looking for something different to give to someone! I’ve made scones before, and I have all the ingredients to make these, EXCEPT cake flour! I know it will change the texture but can I use my all purpose King Arthur flour or will it impact the density too much? I don’t mind dense, but if it makes that much of a difference I’ll buy some cake flour.

    • Hi Karen! I do recommend cake flour for best results. If you don’t want to run to the store, you can make your own by combining 1-3/4 cup AP flour plus 1/4 cup cornstarch. I’ve made the scones this way and while they aren’t quite as light and tender as they are with cake flour, they are still very good. Hope that helps!

  • Sounds yummy! I’m not familiar with cake flour – how would I exchange the cake flour for a gluten free flour?

    • Hi Barb, If there is a gluten-free cake flour on the market, I would suggest that. If not, you could try an all-purpose gluten-free baking flour like King Arthur’s. (Please keep in mind that I’ve only prepared the scones with cake flour, so I’m not sure how this would impact your results – I’d love to hear how they turn out if you try them!)

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