What are you making? It smells like a fall day..." That was the reaction the first time I baked these moist, flavorful scones. Fresh diced apple and cinnamon chips complement each other beautifully, flavor-wise; and a topping of crunchy, cinnamon-enhanced coarse sugar is the perfect foil to the scones' tender texture.
Fresh Apple Cinnamon Scones
Yield: 12 scones
- 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice or ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh apple, in 1/2" pieces (about half a medium apple); leave the skin on, if you like
- 3/4 cup cinnamon chips
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened preferred
- 3 tablespoons coarse white sparkling sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spice.
2) Work in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it's OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated.
3) Stir in the chopped apple and cinnamon chips.
4) In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and applesauce.
5) Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
6) Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don't have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
7) Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Gently pat and round each half into a 5" to 5 1/2" circle about 3/4" thick.
8) To make the topping: Stir together the coarse sugar and cinnamon. Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with the topping.
9) Using a knife or bench knife that you've run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
10) Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2" space between them, at their outer edges.
11) For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
12) Bake the scones for 18 to 22 minutes, or until they're golden brown. When you pull one away from the others, it should look baked all the say through; the edge shouldn't look wet or unbaked.
13) Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they're completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.
Why freeze the scones before baking? Because 30 minutes in the freezer relaxes the gluten in the flour, which makes the scones more tender and allows them to rise higher. It also chills the fat, which will make the scones a bit flakier.
To make free-form rather than wedge-shaped scones, increase the applesauce to 3/4 cup. Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, dollop the scone dough in 1/3-cupfuls onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the scones in a preheated 375°F oven for about 30 minutes.
Scones are best served warm. They're delicious as is, but add butter and/or jam (or apple butter), if you like. To reheat room-temperature scones, place on a baking sheet, tent lightly with foil, and warm in a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.