Flaky Sourdough Discard Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze

Last updated: September 29, 2022
5 from 10 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.

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 10 votes
Prep Time :15 minutes
Cook Time :20 minutes
Freezing Time :45 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,. 

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September 29, 2022

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19 comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 5 stars
    Soft and buttery inside and lightly crispy on the outside. The pumpkin flavor is nicely complemented with the maple glaze. Yum!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 5 stars
    A little more time consuming than my usual scone recipe but the result was totally worth it. Everyone thought they were delicious!

    • 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!

  8. 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!