Every time I have undertaken a project which usually arouses panic and fear, the results have been, well, pretty fantastic. Pie crust, crepes, and now scones. All these things are usually the recipes everyone is afraid of, the recipes that are “too difficult and time-consuming”. But I’ve tried them, and, really…they aren’t. Pie crust? Come on, if you’ve got a food processor you can have one in about 5 minutes. Yes I’m skipping over crepes, Rather traumatizing but delicious experience.
Now scones. These are my first scones, and I may be biased, but they also are pretty darn fantastic. You know I’ve recently discovered the beautiful apple-cheddar combination, and we really do have a lot of apples on hand right now. Seriously. A lot. Scones are like the ultimate breakfast-y British treat. “Oh, let’s have some tea and scones.” ( said with a snooty Victorian accent) And so this recipe has come into our lives. Real homemade scones.
It’s true, it’s not hard, it’s fabulous.
Here’s the rub: the mixture is wet. Don’t mix it a lot. It’s sticky. It’s messy. Ignore your inner perfectionist and just go with it without adding flour or over-mixing. I refrigerated my butter/cheese mixture overnight, but that isn’t necessary, and I used pecans instead of the walnuts. That’s it.
I’m not going to lie, scones aren’t incredibly easy, but they aren’t incredibly hard either. Just make them. Don’t be afraid.
Apple Cheddar Scones
source: slightly adapted from Back to Baking– Anna Olson
1 2/3 c. all purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. celery salt
1/8 t. ground cinnamon
5 T. unsalted butter, cut in small pieces and chilled
2 oz. coarsely grated old cheddar cheese
1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled
1/3 c. cold milk, plus extra for brushing
1/2 c. chopped pecan pieces, lightly toasted.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, celery salt, and cinnamon to combine
Cut in the chilled butter using a pastry cutter, food processor or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly and resembles corn meal. Stir in the cheese to coat it with the flour mixture.
Using the coarse side of a box grater, grate the apple into the flour mixture and stir it in. Stir in the milk until the dough begins to come together, then turn it out on a work surface.
Sprinkle the pecans over the top of the dough and work them in by flattening the dough out with your hand and then folding it in half, pressing the walnuts in at the same time. Fold until just incorporated. DO NOT over-work.
Shape the dough into a disc and flatten it with your hands until it is about 8 in. across (guesstimate). Cut the dough into 8 wedges (I used a pizza cutter) and place them onto the prepared baking tray.
Brush the tops of the scones with milk and bake for about 16-20 minutes, until they are a rich golden brown. Best served the day they are baked, but they can be reheated the second day for 5 minutes in a 300 degree F oven to refresh them.
YIELD: 8 scones