Saturday, October 16, 2010

Apple Cheddar Spelt Scones

Earlier this week I made sour cream cheddar biscuits for dinner from Smitten Kitchen.  Sebastian requested biscuits for dinner the night before and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to play with a new recipe.  I left out the jalapenos (because leaving them in would have been mean), added 1/2 tsp of baking powder, made them 3/4 inches thick and of course played with the flour.  They were tasty and for once there was peace at the table as everyone happily ate.  But then, then Sebastian suddenly tasted his biscuit, after eating 2 1/2 of them and asked the dreaded question.  "Is this your usual recipe."  I am of the not lying to your children about food, so if asked a direct question I am honest.  So I told him they had cheddar in them.  He looked disgusted, placed the 1/2 eaten biscuit back on his plate and said.  "These are disgusting, I feel a little sick now."  ONLY TOOK HIM 2 1/2 BISCUITS TO NOTICE!

Any sane mother would learn from this not to add cheddar to her baked goods.  Obviously Sebastian may love cheddar on its own, in a grilled cheese sandwich or topping pizza, but baked goods are not the same.  But then I came across a recipe for apple cheddar scones, perfect for the obscene quantity of northern spy apples currently lying around in my kitchen.  I helped chaperone a field trip for the preschool at work to a small apple orchard.  We were welcome to pick as many as we wanted.  Turns out I wanted more then I needed, really a ridiculous quantity of them.  A quantity that became even more ridiculous when Sebastian and Julian tried them from the overflowing bags in my car and pronounced them too tart.

Northern Spy apples are crisp, tart, bright with a balanced sweetness and when picked fresh from the tree juicy.  I love them but not enough to eat my way through my own special brand of lunacy, you would think I was raised during a famine the way I am with free food.  So I decided to make a batch of scones, because that will use up a whole 2-3 apples.  Yeah, I know, that isn't going to do any good.  Lewis asked if Sebastian would like them and I replied, "he can eat toast".  Then I quietly planned not to lie to Sebastian, if he asked what exactly was in them I would tell him about the cheddar.  However I would also call them apple scones.

They were admittedly a little fussy to make for breakfast as you have to roast the peeled apple slices and allow them to cool before assembling the dough.  I woke up early this morning and when I served them at breakfast everyone loved them, for EVERY bite.  I loved them enough that I made 2 more batches this evening to go in the freezer.  I am sure the scones in the freezer will be delicious, even though just after placing the sheets of unbaked scones in the freezer I stumbled across the grated cheddar in the fridge.  I suppose the punishment fits the crime, because after calling them apple scones to my children now I have a batch of exactly those in the freezer.

Apple and Cheddar Scones
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen who barely tweaked them from The Perfect Finish

Makes 6 large or 12 small scones

2 - 3 firm tart apples, I used Northern Spy (1 pound or 254 grams)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) unsalted butter, grated on the large holes of a box grater into the mixer bowl and put in the freezer while you grate the cheese and mix the dry ingredients or chill and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces or 65 grams) sharp white cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup (2 ounces) heavy cream
2 large eggs (divided use)
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces or 65 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces or 65 grams) white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces or 65 grams) spelt flour [Optional, use 1/2 white and half white whole wheat or all white if you want.  They were incredible this way though]
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for sprinkling
1/2 tablespoon (7 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (3 grams) plus additional for egg wash

Preheat oven to 325° with convection and 375 °F degrees without with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Peel and core the apples and slice into sixteen slices (I used slices not chunks like Deb as I thought they would get further broken up by the mixer for better apple distribution as well as dry out better in the oven.  As the scones were perfect I see no reason to change).  Place them on the prepared sheet in a single layer and bake for about 20 minutes, they should be dry to the touch.  Let them cool completely (you can do this step the day before and refrigerate them in an airtight container or place the tray in the fridge to cool if you are making the scones right away.

Add cooled apple slices, grated cheddar cheese, heavy cream and egg to the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Combine flours, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.  Sprinkle over the top of the other ingredients and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment just until it comes together.  Be careful not to over mix, so you will have light, tender scones.

(If you don't have a stand mixer use a pastry blender to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles course corn meal.  Beat the egg lightly and mix it with the other ingredients with a silicone spatula or a dough whisk.  Be careful not to over mix, so you will have light, tender scones.

Generously flour a large cutting board or your counter top and place one half the scone dough on top of it. Sprinkle with flour. Pat the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick, 3 inch circle. Cut the dough into 6 wedges. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet or one that has been greased with butter.  Repeat with remaining dough. Leave at least 2 inches between each scone (mine all fit on 1 sheet so I am not sure if I really left 2 inches all the way around, they were fine).  If you want larger scones pat all the dough into a 6 inch circle and cut into 6 pieces.

Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with 1/8 tsp salt. Brush the scones with egg wash and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake until firm and golden, about  20 minutes for 12 small ones and 30 minutes for 6 larger ones. Transfer to a plate and serve.

Scones dough can be made ahead of time and frozen on parchment lined sheets before baking.  To bake place them on the baking sheets still frozen, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and bake.  They will take a few extra minutes to bake.  Deb says the scones were edible the day after baking but after that they were terrible.  I have no way of knowing, we ate all of ours.


  1. These look amazing, Robin. I may actually bother to make them, though I think I may roast the apples the night/day before, to get a jump-start.
    And you're saying the cheddar should go IN the scones? Oh.

  2. "I take this as a preview of brunch tomorrow," she said with a hopeful grin.

  3. I love this combination, but it never occurred to me to put it into a scone. Brilliant! I'll be making these for sure.