Sweet Maple-Glazed Almond Drop Scones

These rich, flavorful scones are perfect rainy-day food, and they are easy to make because they are dropped from a spoon, not rolled.

 vegetable oil cooking spray
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal, preferably yellow
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup reduced-fat (not fat-free) sour cream
1  egg
1 teaspoon pure {vanilla extract}
1/4 teaspoon pure {almond extract}
 Maple Glaze (recipe follows)
Maple Glaze
1 1/3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure {vanilla extract}
1/4 teaspoon pure {almond extract}
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with oil and set aside.

Over medium-high heat, heat a cast-iron skillet for 2 to 3 minutes. When it is good and hot, lower the heat slightly and add the almonds. Stirring almost constantly, toast the almonds until they become fragrant and turn golden, then immediately transfer them to a cutting board to cool slightly. Coarsely chop them.

Sift together into a large bowl the cornmeal, flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter or shortening until the mixture has the consistency of fine crumbs.

Whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, egg, and vanilla and almond extract in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour this into the dry mixture, stirring with as few strokes as possible to just barely combine the wet and dry; stop while there are still some dry clumps. Add the reserved almonds and give a few more stirs.

Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes (you can make the glaze as the scones bake). Remove the scones from the oven and let cool, briefly, on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the glaze over each scone, allowing the excess to drip onto the baking sheet. Serve, warm. No butter is needed -- these are rich enough.

For the Maple Glaze, combine the sugar and extracts in a small bowl. Gradually begin stirring in the maple syrup; you want a consistency thin enough to be drizzled onto the scones and drip a little, but not so thin it all rolls away or is just absorbed by the scones.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 10-15 min

Servings: 12

Recipe By: Crescent Dragonwagon

From:  The Cornbread Gospels
Used with permission of Workman Publishing

Chef Suggestions
Try to get Grade B maple syrup. It's darker, stronger, and more maple-y than Grade A.