Butterscotch Pecan Scones

Tested & Perfected Recipes

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 — and 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!).

how to make butterscotch pecan sconesTo 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

My Recipe Videos

Butterscotch Pecan Scones

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
  • 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. 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.

Reviews & Comments

  • 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.

    • — K Gaylin on November 26, 2018
    • Reply
  • 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

    • — Maria Roberts on November 14, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Maria, I think half and half will be fine. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 14, 2018
      • Reply
  • 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?

    • — Anna on November 11, 2018
    • Reply
    • So glad he enjoyed them, Anna! I would increase the brown sugar to 4 tablespoons. Please let me know how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on November 12, 2018
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Rachel on November 4, 2018
    • Reply
    • 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!

      • — Jenn on November 6, 2018
      • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Sandra on November 3, 2018
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Joyce Rasada on November 2, 2018
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Doreen G. on November 2, 2018
    • Reply
    • Love that idea, Doreen. 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 4, 2018
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Carolyn on November 1, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Carolyn, Yes that should work. Enjoy…and so happy you like the site! 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 1, 2018
      • Reply
  • 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 on October 29, 2018
    • 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.

      • — Jenn on October 30, 2018
      • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Carol on October 27, 2018
    • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Ross on October 27, 2018
    • Reply
    • Glad they turned out well, Ross. You can use the cake flour to make my chocolate chip scones, too. 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 27, 2018
      • Reply
  • 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!

    • — Linda Fasulo on October 27, 2018
    • Reply
  • really like the way you present your recipes. step by step in pictures. this is my favorite cooking blog to follow. thank you

    • — Dodie Adams on October 26, 2018
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on October 26, 2018
      • Reply
    • 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. : )

      • — Joyce Rasada on October 26, 2018
      • Reply
      • 😊

        • — Jenn on October 26, 2018
        • Reply
  • How much of the pecans did you add? Thanks!

    • — Kristin on October 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Kristin, The recipe calls for 2/3 cup pecans.

      • — Jenn on October 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Karen T on October 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • 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!

      • — Jenn on October 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • Sounds yummy! I’m not familiar with cake flour – how would I exchange the cake flour for a gluten free flour?

    • — Barb T on October 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • 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!)

      • — Jenn on October 30, 2018
      • Reply

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