Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Scones

Winter seems to have arrived early this year, sending my baking activities into overdrive.  One night, stuck at home as it was sleeting and snowing outside, I was suddenly struck with the need to bake something, anything. So off I went to rummage around my kitchen. Luckily, I managed to scrounge up just enough ingredients to whip up a small batch of scones based on one of my favorite recipes from Bon Appétit.

This recipe yields scones that are extremely light and tender due to the buttermilk and are only subtly sweet, the perfect foil for a lovely jam or honey. But they are also great on their own and are absolute heaven still warm from the oven.

Hope you enjoy! 

Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Scones
(adapted from Bon Appétit’s Cranberry-Orange Scones recipe)

Makes 16 small scones

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup sautéed apples (see recipe below)
  • 1 scant cup chilled buttermilk*
  • egg wash (1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water)
  • 2 tablespoons of demerara sugar (or 2 packets of Sugar in the Raw)


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*A note about buttermilk:

One of my favorite cooking shortcuts is the buttermilk trick (which even Martha Stewart uses). You basically add a couple tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice to a cup of milk, stir, and wait about five minutes. It should thicken like magic. How easy is that? And no lugging home that carton of buttermilk, which would probably go to waste since most recipes require only a cup or two at the most.

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For sautéed apples:

  • 1 1/4 cups small dice gala apples with the peel on
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • tiny pinch of kosher salt

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, sugar, and spices and stir to evenly coat. Cook until the apples have slightly softened and lightly caramelized (about 5-7 minutes). Cool and set aside.

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a large bowl.

Add butter and rub in with fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Mix in the cooled sautéed apples.

Gradually add buttermilk (use just enough for the dough to come together), tossing with a fork until moist clumps form. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.

Knead briefly to bind the dough, about 4 turns. Form the dough into four rounds (each about 1-inch-thick). Cut into 4 small wedges each, making 16 total.

Transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.

Brush on egg wash and sprinkle raw sugar on top of each scone.

Bake until tops of scones are golden brown, about 12-13 minutes (rotating pan halfway through).

Let stand on baking sheet 3-4 minutes. Serve scones warm or at room temperature.

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