Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fresh Apple Cinnamon Scones

As soon as the cooler mornings of fall come around, I want nothing more than to get in my kitchen and bake something comforting to enjoy with a cup of coffee and a blanket.  Pumpkin bread usually gets the ceremonial first turn, but after that I'm up for all the new recipes I can find!

Scones are a perennial fall favorite for several reasons.  They're easy to whip up and can be adjusted to fit whatever flavor combination, season, or mood you might be in.  They can be sweet or savory, sturdy and slightly crumbly, or tender and soft, much like a biscuit.  But my favorite thing about making scones is making the dough, cutting it into triangles, and freezing it before baking.  Just wrap each unbaked scone individually and add about five minutes to the baking time.  It's the perfect way to have a warm, freshly-baked fall treat, even on a work morning!

These scones will absolutely go into the regular fall rotation.  In an effort to keep my breakfasts a bit healthier, I made a few adjustments like replacing some of the white flour with whole wheat and eliminating the cinnamon chips to reduce the sugar content.  I actually prefer the hearty nature of whole wheat flour with apples and, to be honest, I still found the scones to be plenty sweet, especially since I made them with Honeycrisp apples.  

Just like every recipe I've ever tried from King Arthur Flour, the comments were spot on.  My whole house smelled like the most perfect fall day while they were baking.  (Just writing this makes me want to go pull one out of the freezer and put it in the oven right now!)  The scones were soft and tender, even with the whole wheat flour.  With a small pat of butter, a hot cup of coffee, and a blanket, they were everything I love about fall.



With crisp, fresh apples and plenty of cinnamon, these soft and tender scones are the perfect way to begin any fall day--even a weekday!

Fresh Apple Cinnamon Scones
adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the scones:
1 1/4 c. whole-wheat flour (King Arthur preferred)
1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (King Arthur preferred)
1/3 c. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
8 TBSP (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
3/4 c. chopped fresh apple, cut into 1/2-in. pieces, either peeled or unpeeled
2 eggs
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce

For the topping:
3 TBSP coarse raw sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 TBSP milk, for brushing

Directions:
1.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Using your hands, a biscuit cutter, or two knives, work in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.  The crumbs may not be completely even; some larger chunks of butter may remain unincorporated.  Stir in the apples.

2.  In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until everything is moistened and holds together.  The dough may appear dry at first, but it will come together.

3.  If freezing, form the dough into a circle about 1-in. thick.  Cut into eight equal wedges, brush the tops of each scone with milk, sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar topping, wrap each scone individually in plastic wrap, and freeze.  

4.  If baking that day, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Sprinkle a bit of flour on the parchment.  Scrape the dough onto the pan and form into a circle about 1 in. thick.   Run a bench scraper or knife under cold water and cut the dough into eight equal wedges.  Carefully pull the wedges apart to separate the scones, leaving about 1/2 in. space between them.   Place in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered.

5.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425° F and make the topping by stirring together the raw sugar and cinnamon.

6.  Brush the tops of the scones with milk and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar topping.  Bake the scones 20-25 minutes.  If baking from frozen, add about five minutes to the time.  The scones are done when they are golden brown and the edges no longer look wet or unbaked when pulled apart.

7.  Remove the scones from the oven and cool briefly on the pan.  Serve warm.  Any leftovers may be cooled completely, wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature up to three days. 

Yield: 8 scones

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