It is rare that I get into a baking mood: usually, if I want to spend time in the kitchen, I would prefer to be making something hearty for dinner. Last Sunday however, the bright autumn leaves gave me the urge to bake something full of apples. I picked a sweet apple-cheddar scone and then for good measure a savory cheddar jalapeño scone, as well. I shared them with my bar trivia team (and the bartender, and some people on other teams, as well) and everyone had compliments to give. Today, there is a thick covering of snow and it is continuing to fall fast, but the season is still technically autumn, so I’m happy to share these two recipes!
Apple Cheddar Scones adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 firm, tart apples (about 1lb)
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/4 c sugar plus 1 Tbsp for sprinkling
1/2 Tbsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 c sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 c heavy cream
2 large eggs
1) Preheat oven to 375 °F.
2) Peel and core apples, then cut them into one-sixteenth chunks. Place 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. Let them cool completely. (It’s okay to speed this up in the fridge.)
3) Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the cold butter into the flour mixture.
4) Chop the apples coarsely and mix apples, cheese, cream and 1 egg together with flower mixture with a wooden spoon until combined. Don’t overmix.
5) Generously flour your counter top and place the scone dough on top of it. Sprinkle with flour. Use a rolling pin to gently roll 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.
6) Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Brush the scones with egg wash
7) Sprinkle the scones with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake until firm and golden, about 30 minutes (mine took a little longer.) With a spatula, lift them to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
Eat scones the same day.
If you want to make ahead, make scones up through step 5 and freeze in the freezer. When you are ready, brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle them with sugar, and bake them still frozen for just a couple extra minutes.
Jalapeño Cheddar Scones – also adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs, divided
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, diced
2 small jalapeños pepper, minced
1) Preheat oven to 400°F.
2) In a small skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter and sauté the jalapeños in it until soft, about two minutes. Let them cool, then place them in a small bowl with the cheddar cheese and coat them with one tablespoon of the flour.
3) Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and salt. Cut in the remaining butter with a pastry blender, fork, or two knives, until the butter bits are pea sized.
4) Lightly whip two of the eggs and cream and add to the flour-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together. Add the cheddar-jalapeño mixture to the dough and mix until everything is incorporated.
5) Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough out to a 3/4- to 1-inch thickness and cut into 8 triangles
6) Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush the scones with egg wash and place on a parchment-lined (or well-oiled) baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Scones are always best the first day.