Summer is skipping out and it’s just plain sad every year. But on the bright side, it’s apple season! We’ve only got a row of apple trees—six or so, with two pear trees thrown in—but darned if that doesn’t serve up more fruit than I can handle. It hasn’t even gotten chilly yet and already the apple fest has begun. We’ve made applesauce, apple cider, apple cider syrup (yum!), apple muffins, apple pie, apple compote and just now the first batch of apple cheddar scones. Oooh baby–they are the ultimate in apple goodness. Sadly, they don’t use many apples (get into cider and sauce for that), and they have a few more steps than my favorite slacker scones. They even require eggs fergawdssake, which is so un scone-y. But they’re worth it, and they work any time of day for any type of occasion, from picnic to shmancy party. This recipe, slightly tweaked at every stop, came via The Bitten Word and they got it from a book called The Perfect Finish. So there’s the provenance. If you need apples come on over.
Makes 6 generous scones (at least 8 normal sized ones).
2 firm tart apples (1 pound. I used about 5 small ones)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt plus additional for egg wash
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes plus additional for baking sheet if not lining it with parchment
1/2 cup sharp cheddar, shredded (white is recommended, rogue westerners.)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
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 chunks. 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 (in the fridge if you are eager). 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 (or a hand mixer or by hand, but it is more work), 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. (I have blown off the egg wash on occasion, which is just fine, but it actually does make it better.) Bake until firm and golden, about 30 minutes. With a spatula, lift them to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Eat. Enjoy. Repeat.
Scones can be made ahead of time and stored unbaked in the freezer until you need them. Just take them on their baking sheet and at your destination brush them with the egg wash, sprinkle them with sugar, and bake them still frozen for just a couple extra minutes. Full disclosure, I have never done this, but it seems like a good idea. I hear these are not so awesome the next day, but ours have never lasted long enough to test that.