Recipe: Apple & Cheddar Scones

Apple & Cheddar SconesIf you don’t think scones are delicious, well, we probably can’t be friends, and you probably don’t want to read this post anyway.

If you DO think scones are delicious, I have got a recipe for you!

This comes courtesy of Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite sources for recipes and cooking inspiration. These Apple and Cheddar scones are a fantastic treat for breakfast or tea. As Deb notes, they do have a feeling of fall about them, but I think these scones are seasonally appropriate any time of year. I also love that they can be whipped up ahead of time and baked when you need them; that’s perfect for impressing unexpected guests or adding a Martha Stewart-esque touch to brunch.

Smitten Kitchen’s Apple and Cheddar Scones

Ingredients (for 6 scones)

2 firm tart apples (1 pound or 454 grams)
1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces or 195 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for sprinkling (total of 2.2 ounces or 63 grams)
1/2 tablespoon (7 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (3 grams) plus additional for egg wash
6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams)unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes plus additional for baking sheet if not lining it with parchment
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces or 65 grams) sharp cheddar, shredded (white is recommended, I assume for aesthetics)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) heavy cream
2 large eggs

Procedure

Position a rack at the center of oven and preheat oven to 375 °F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel and core apples, then cut them into one-sixteenths. (I assumed this meant chunks, not slivers.) Placed them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them until they take on a little color and feel dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. They will be about half-baked. Let them cool completely. Leave oven on.

Sift or whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, along with cooled apple chunks, cheese, cream and one egg. Sprinkle flour mixture over the top and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. Do not overmix.

Generously flour your counter top and place the scone dough on top of it. Sprinkle with flour. Use a rolling pin to gently roll (or use your hands to pat) the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick, 6-inch circle. Cut circle into 6 wedges. Transfer them to a baking sheet that has either been buttered or lined with a fresh sheet of parchment paper. Leave at least 2 inches between each scone.

Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Brush the scones with egg wash and sprinkle them with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. With a spatula, lift them to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Before you eat one, make sure you realize how addictive they might be. Once you’ve got that down, go for it anyway.

Do ahead: Scones are best the day they are baked. However, they can be made ahead of time and stored unbaked in the freezer until you need them. Simply brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle them with sugar, and bake them still frozen for just a couple extra minutes. This way they are always freshly baked when you want them. These scones were passable on day two and terrible on day three.

Amy’s Tips and Tweaks

  • I usually use Granny Smith apples. They have a strong flavor that works with the cheese.
  • Freezing the unbaked scones does work well. I like to wrap them individually in tin foil and put each one in a baggie to prevent freezer burn. Then I can bake myself just one for breakfast when I want it. The baking time might be a little longer for a frozen scone; just keep your eye on it for signs of browning. I also find that when I can smell whatever’s baking, it’s a good sign that it’s nearing done.
  • I find cutting the scones into wedges is a little fussy, so I will usually just shape the dough into rounds with my hands. (You can see how this looks in the image on the post.)
  • If you have a lot of apples and some time, you could totally bake extra apples ahead of time and freeze the ones you don’t use for a future batch of scones.
  • You could definitely experiment with this recipe quite a bit. You could try different types of apples–I bet a sweeter, softer apple like a Cortland would be tasty, although it might not hold its shape as well inside the scone. I also bet that melting a little extra cheese on top would be worth trying at least once.

What are your favorite baked treats?