Flaky Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze

By Amanda Paa – Updated January 10, 2024
5 from 21 votes
Soft and tender pumpkin scones with the flakiest layers throughout, made with sourdough discard! These are not dry; they practically melt in your mouth and are the most delicious Fall treat. The maple glaze makes them particularly dreamy, the perfect companion to the warm cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg within each bite.
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sourdough scones with maple glaze on cooling rack
holding sourdough scone in hand

I never knew why people liked scones until I had a good one. When they’re good, they’re SO good.

They should be soft and tender with flaky layers throughout, NOT dry, butter, and just sweet enough. These Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Scones meet all those requirements, and maybe more.

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They practically melt in your mouth (just look at all those layers!), and are the most delicious Fall treat. The maple glaze makes them particularly dreamy, the perfect companion to the warm cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg within each bite.

The Best Technique for Making Scones

The key to making flaky, soft, layered scones is due to a few things, including a folding technique I learned from Sarah Kieffer, who learned it from Cooks Illustrated. You’ll roll the dough out and fold it over itself like you would when folding a business letter, creating multiple beautiful layers, just as in these Sourdough Discard Biscuits. You’ll then use a biscuit cutter to make the square shapes.

Another important piece of the puzzle for great scones – keep your ingredients cold. This is why you’ll use cold butter and sourdough discard straight from the refrigerator, as well as the dough spending a short burst of time in the freezer. When butter gets hit by unexpected heat from the oven, it basically bursts and shoots the layers upward, creating those layers and the epic height!

sourdough pumpkin scones on baking sheet
pumpkin scones on baking sheet with parchment paper

How long is sourdough discard good for?

You can keep sourdough discard in your refrigerator for up to 10 days. The discard will be more sour the longer it stays in the fridge. So for something like these scones or sourdough discard muffins, where I don’t want the sourness to come through, I use discard that is less than 5 days old.

Your discard might accumulate a little liquid on the top while it’s in the fridge, which is called hooch, simply meaning alcohol that is the byproduct of fermentation. You can simple pour the liquid off into garbage, and scrape the very top off, and use the rest as discard.

What does sourdough discard do for scones?

Sourdough discard doesn’t make scones taste sour. Instead, it makes them fluffy and soft because it increases the acidity of the cake batter, which weakens the gluten in flour. And because it has already been fermented, the gluten in the discard itself has also been weakened. It has the same effect in this fabulous Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Bread.

The other thing discard does in baking is bring out the flavors of other ingredients in the recipe. This is due to the naturally occurring alcohols that develop in sourdough starter, and alcohol is a flavor enhancer. That means the main components of these scones; pumpkin and maple – really shine.

sourdough discard pumpkin scones on wire cooling rack
sourdough discard pumpkin scones

More Sourdough Discard Recipes:

sourdough scones with maple glaze on cooling rack

Flaky Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze

Soft and tender pumpkin scones with the flakiest layers throughout, made with sourdough discard! These are not dry; they practically melt in your mouth and are the most delicious Fall treat. The maple glaze makes them particularly dreamy, the perfect companion to the warm cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg within each bite.
5 from 21 votes
Prep Time :15 minutes
Cook Time :20 minutes
Freezing Time :45 minutes
Total Time :1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: 8 scones
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 300 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 100 grams granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 75 grams sourdough discard (cold, straight from refrigerator)
  • 1 large egg (cold, straight from refrigerator)
  • 110 grams canned pumpkin (pumpkin puree)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cold heavy cream

Maple Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • big pinch of salt

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and sugar. Then use the side of a box grater with large holes to grate the butter. Add the butter to the flour mixture and toss the butter flakes, rubbing the butter into the flour a bit so they resemble the size of peas.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together sourdough discard, egg, pumpkin, vanilla, and heavy cream until smooth. Pour liquid mixture over the dry, and gently use a spatula to combine just until no dry streaks remain.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead until it comes together nicely, 6 to 8 times, adding flour as necessary as the dough will be a bit sticky.
  • Pat the dough into a small square with a dusting of flour on top and roll it into a 12-inch square. Transfer to a floured plate and freeze for 15 minutes.
  • Remove dough from freezer and fold the dough in thirds using a bench scraper, bringing the bottom towards the middle, then the top over it, like you would do when folding a business letter. Then fold the left side into the middle, and the right side over that to make a square. These are all your layers! Flip square over using a bench scraper, so seam of square is on the bottom. Roll dough out to a 12 x 4 inch long rectangle, using flour to keep it from sticking. Transfer dough back onto floured plate or baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes, while oven is preheating to 400 degrees F.
  • Remove from freezer and use a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to make 8 scones, pulling straight up on the biscuit cutter without twisting (this is to keep the super flaky layers). Or you can use a bench scraper (or sharp knife) to cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles, then cut each rectangle diagonally into 2 triangles.
  • Place scones onto parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the tops and bottoms are golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer scones to a cooling rack.
  • Whisk powdered sugar, heavy cream, maple syrup, and salt together until smooth. Glaze each scone and enjoy.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Sarah Kieffer

Did you make this?

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September 29, 2022

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42 comments

  1. Dianna M

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness, I just made this and they are absolutely amazing! I renamed them little pillows from heaven. Who cares that is not fall anymore. Thank you for the recipe! YUM!

    • Amanda Paa

      oh, i love that description!

  2. Carla

    Thanksgiving may have come and gone but this pumpkin recipe is for keeps! Thanks for the tip on how to laminate the dough for extra flaky layers. I plan to keep these on hand in the freezer for easy entertaining when friends pop by for coffee.

  3. Macy

    5 stars
    wonderful recipe!! I was wondering if these can be made ahead of time? I plan to freeze the dough I make at home and travel to family with them—would I just let them thaw close to room temp and bake them the same? Any tips?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Mary! So glad you enjoyed the recipe. Yes, you can freeze; just cut the dough into the shape you’re using and freeze on a parchment lined baking pan. Then you can put the frozen scones in a plastic bag and when you want to bag, remove from freeze and let unthaw (they can still be a bit frozen, just add a little time to the bake). Glaze when finished!

  4. Kim

    5 stars
    These scones are awesome! They do not come out dry at all! The sweetness is spot on- not too much but just enough. Thanks for an amazing recipe!

    • Amanda Paa

      So glad you enjoyed them, and your photo of your bake was beautiful!

  5. Hannah P

    5 stars
    These were a hit and so delicious! This was my 2nd discard recipe I’ve made and 1st time making a pastry. I have some work to do on learning how to work with dough but the recipe was awesome! I used gluten free flour and monk fruit sweetener, I also added pumpkin pie spice to the dough and glaze!

    • Amanda Paa

      Thanks for making the recipe, so glad they turned out well with gf flour!

  6. Alyssa

    5 stars
    These are delicious! I agree that the texture is perfect. Mine were done closer to 18 minutes and I think next time I will either increase cinnamon in batter or add to glaze. It was a little more subtle than I typically like. Overall we’ll be making these again!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay, so glad you enjoyed them Alyssa!

  7. Darya K

    5 stars
    These were amazing. I loved the grated butter technique too!

    • Amanda Paa

      I’m so glad you like them! Thank you for making the recipe!

  8. Amy Verney

    5 stars
    This recipe made the most delicious and beautiful scones!! Simple and easy to follow and a great way to use up discard! This is a repeat recipe for sure!

    • Amanda Paa

      So glad you liked them, Amy! Thanks for making the recipe.

  9. Brooke Schneider

    Hi! Making these right now!! Am I able to keep them in the freezer for longer? If I’m not able to bake right away or should I transfer them to the fridge? Thanks!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yes, you can keep them in the freezer longer! They make just take a little longer to bake.

  10. Ann

    5 stars
    Hi these are delicious!! Can I use pumpkin spice instead of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger? If yes, how much should I use? Thank you!

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Ann! You could use pumpkin pie spice if you’d like, I just don’t prefer cloves which is usually in the blend. If you’d like to use pumpkin spice, you would use 1 3/4 teaspoons.

  11. Sarah

    5 stars
    This was my first time making scones of any kind and they turned out great! The maple glaze really puts them over the top. 🤤

    • Amanda Paa

      So glad you liked them, Sarah! Your photo of your bake on instagram was beautiful.

  12. Dura

    5 stars
    Wow!!!! Seriously the best scones I’ve ever had! Thanks for such a great recipe!

  13. Tabetha

    5 stars
    My husband, who loves the Starbucks pumpkin scones, said he can’t go back to those now after having these. They are amazing! I cut them into triangles (in the recipe even though the pictures are of squares) and they were the perfect size. My only mistake was putting them super close together on the pan. Other scones I make don’t spread at all so I thought it would be fine but these puff up quite a bit, so next time I’ll just space them about an inch a part. Absolutely delicious!

    • Amanda Paa

      Such a great compliment, glad you and your husband enjoyed them!

  14. Jen

    5 stars
    I have made these twice now and they are just incredible. The texture of these scones is dreamy. They are the best scones ever! Thank you, Amanda!

    • Amanda Paa

      Love hearing this, so glad you like them Jen!

  15. Kristina

    5 stars
    These were seriously so good. Everyone raves they had never liked a scone before having these! Making a double batch next time. I baked them from frozen and they were perfect!

    • Amanda Paa

      so great to know you can bake them from frozen!

  16. Ania

    5 stars
    Soft and buttery inside and lightly crispy on the outside. The pumpkin flavor is nicely complemented with the maple glaze. Yum!

  17. Sam

    5 stars
    Amazing flaky scone!! Perfect fall treats! Love love love!

  18. Meg

    5 stars
    Great recipe!!

  19. Genevieve

    5 stars
    Wow, these were so good! They rose beautifully in the oven and you could see the layers. The inside was soo soft and fluffy – they reminded me of my favourite pumpkin scones from a bakery except better :) The glaze was just the right complement (I also added a bit of cinnamon and maple extract to the glaze), although they would be good plain too. Glad that I put some of the unfrosted ones in the freezer for future treats!

    • Amanda Paa

      So glad to hear you liked the scones! And that they are up to bakery standards. :)

  20. Gabbie

    5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe! I’m always hesitant to try new scone recipes because I really like the one I usually use, but this was great. I’ll definitely be adding it to my fall circulation of baked goods!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay! So glad to hear that you enjoyed the scones. Have a great baking season!

  21. Donna

    I’d love to try this recipe! Do you think coconut cream and vegan butter will work to replace the dairy?

    • Amanda Paa

      I would think so, but haven’t tested it this way! Let me know if you do.

  22. Elyse

    5 stars
    A little more time consuming than my usual scone recipe but the result was totally worth it. Everyone thought they were delicious!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay! I am so glad you enjoyed them. I know the little bit of freezing time adds a step, but as you said, I really think the amazing layers and texture are worth it!

  23. Juanita

    5 stars
    These are very moist and packed with flavor. Flaky on the sides and soft in the middle! Thanks for the great recipe. It’s definitely a keeper!

    • Amanda Paa

      I’m so glad you liked them! The picture on instagram of your bake looked fabulous.

  24. Alexander

    Hi! I’ve noticed that there are many posts using sourdough discard and many of us are not familiar with whipping it up or using it in baking at all. Perhaps you could write a blog post specific to what it’s all about so we can enjoy some of these recipes!! Also, could you please offer sugar and flour substitutes for those of us who do not use refined sugars or white flour? Substitutions in general would be greatly appreciated…