Apple Cinnamon Scones

I’ve had scones on the brain since the last time I made them, which feels like it was ages ago. There’s something awesome about scones that makes me want to keep eating them all the time and forever. It might be all the butter and cream, to be honest. Since I have been dreaming about scones, I couldn’t decide what flavor to make them. I’ve had success with pretty much any flavor in my house because apparently, I’m not the only one with a scone fixation here.

Apple Cinnamon Scones Plated

I’m not sure if I mentioned it here before but I am done with pumpkin for the time being. I went HAM last year with the pumpkin recipes and decided this was the year for apples. Pumpkin anything seems so played out these days. Like, Starbucks brought out the Pumpkin Spice Latte in August. AUGUST! It wasn’t even remotely close to fall weather then! I don’t know but that kind of takes out the novelty of things when they’re brought out too early; kind of like putting Christmas decorations on sale in September. As much as I love Christmas and the holiday season, it’s not time for that yet.

For me, this is apple season. I already made and posted one apple recipe this season, but I have a couple more up my sleeve. When my dad isn’t ranting about his OTM (one true muffin), he’s eating apple things. With that in mind, I set out to make apple cinnamon everything and I’m not even done. For today though, let’s talk about scones.

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Like I mentioned before, there’s something about scones. I still don’t know what it is but there’s a distinct scone taste that only certain scones have. I briefly mentioned it the first time I made them here but I can only imagine it has something to do with butter. Speaking of that first time, I used the same recipe but modified it to use apples and cinnamon for a more seasonal offering.

Besides swapping out the orange for apples and cinnamon, I opted for cream instead of milk. Decadent much? Hell yes! I just feel that butter and cream both belong in scones at the same time. No other way about it. For the apples, I used McIntosh because it was the only kind I had around. They’re not the optimal apple to bake with though, and work better when used in conjunction with other apples. For example, my one true apple is the Granny Smith. It’s perfect for baking because its flavor is still there, they’re sturdy, and still have a bit of bite to them even after being baked. If I make these again, I’ll definitely change the apples from McIntosh to Granny Smith (and suggest you do the same, too). I also grated the apple instead of chunks because I wanted the flavor to be ‘equally distributed.’ Might’ve backfired on me but it can probably work with a Granny Smith, as opposed to the soft McIntosh.

Apple Cinnamon Scone Wedges

Even though I had slight moisture issues with this batch (again), they came out delicious. Unfortunately, they spread out quite a bit in the oven and barely held their shape. This probably happened for two reasons; the butter got too soft in the batter and because of the excess moisture. And then because of my choice of apple, their flavor kind of disappeared in the scone. Upsetting but nothing too bad. They still had that scone taste that I love, and were very cinnamon-y. I topped some of them with a cream and cinnamon glaze to amp up that fall flavor. SO GOOD!

Apple Cinnamon Scone solo

Mind you, these aren’t very photogenic. As much as I tried to make them look appetizing, it didn’t really work. Trust me when I tell you they were delish, especially since they were gone within a day. I guess I’m really not the only one with a scone fixation!

Apple Cinnamon Scones – adapted from this recipe

makes 16 scones

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • about 1 cup shredded apples
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two sheet pans with parchment and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and sugar. Mix well.
  3. Cut in the butter, either with a pastry cutter, forks or your fingers, into the dry ingredients. Continue until the butter chunks are about the size of peas.
  4. Add the grated apple and mix well.
  5. In another small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients until dough comes together and everything is well moistened.
  6. Divide the dough in half and form each into a ball. Flour a clean work surface and pat down each ball to form a 6-7″ circle. Roll out the circles until they are 3/4″ thick. Cut each round into 8 wedges. Repeat with the second dough ball.
  7. Arrange the wedges on the pans without any crowding. Sprinkle with sugar (optional), and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm if unglazed.

Creamy Cinnamon Glaze

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Add the cinnamon and whisk together.
  2. Add in the heavy cream and vanilla, and mix until sugar is moistened.  Stop here if you like your glazes thick. If not, add in the milk.
  3. Drizzle or dip your cooled scones in the glaze. Set the glazed scones on a wire rack to set.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Use any firm apple you’d like for this recipe. You can also opt for chunks instead of grated apples.
  • To prevent your scones from spreading, freeze the wedges for 10-15 minutes before baking to help the butter set back up.
  • To glaze all of the scones, you might need to double the glaze recipe.
  • To amp up the apple flavor, you can also use a tablespoon of apple juice in the glaze. Sounds weird but it could work!
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Coconut Lime Scones

Summer has entered the building. I don’t know, I feel like we skipped a season. Spring was barely here, with all these weird cold fronts that happened when we were supposed to have cool weather. It’s like it went from winter to summer without any notice! While I can’t get spring back, might as well revel in the summer.

To me, summer equals refreshment. Not so much with the weather but with food. It’s the best time to enjoy seasonal offerings like fresh fruits and vegetables when they’re in their prime. While I patiently wait for my seasonal farmer’s market to come back for the season, I thought about making some scones.

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Normal people usually avoid turning on their ovens during the summer. I am (apparently) not normal. I love scones, and more in the summer. I got my first taste of scones at my local farmer’s market. One of the little booths is from a bakery, and they have a ton of freshly baked goods. Anything from fresh bread, muffins, and cookies, to fresh honey and jam. My sister and I used to get their giant peanut butter cookies, courtesy of my mom when she used to do the shopping. When my sister and I started going, we decided to try all the other things up for sale.

One of the first things we tried were her pumpkin scones. They were moist, flaky, and warm. It was weird having a fall offering in the middle of a sweltering July but it was so good! It had that essential scone taste. It’s weird to describe but good scones have this like, signature taste. It’s the one thing that identifies a good scone from a biscuit (because you knew scones and biscuits were related, right?) I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what the hell was the product of that ~taste~ and realized the common denominators in scone recipes: cream and butter.

The key to scones (and biscuits) is cold cream and butter. Super simple and super essential. Both of these fats need to be cold when incorporating because they’ll help create those flaky and delicious layers found in scones (and biscuits). Once I figured that out, I thought about what different kinds of flavors I can stuff in a basic recipe. Like a sign from the food blogger heavens, Deb (from Smitten Kitchen) posted this the other day. And just like that, I was making coconut lime scones.

Coconut and lime go SO WELL together. Like, you have no idea. Bonus if the coconut is toasted. Now, think about those flavors; enveloped in a neat package filled with butter and heavy cream, and iced with a coconut lime glaze. Close your eyes and imagine the flaky and buttery layers, hiding a tropical paradise in every bite. Can you taste the vacation in your mouth? Because that was me with these scones. The tart and nutty flavors of this scone made up for the fact that I actually had to turn on my oven to make them. While they may work better with a cup of coffee or something, I would not have minded a lovely cocktail to go with them (piña colada anyone?) I totally won’t judge you if you do 😉

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Coconut Lime Scones – adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes about 16 scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cold heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; it’s OK for some larger chunks of butter to remain unincorporated. Stir in the cooled toasted coconut.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, lime zest and juice, vanilla, and cream. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
  3. Using a muffin scoop or a large spoon, scoop mounds of dough onto the prepped baking sheets. Bake the scones 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for 4 to 5 minutes to firm before removing them from the pan. Glaze, if desired, once completely cooled.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Freeze the stick of butter for a couple hours and shred it into the dry ingredients. Super nifty tip that helps keep the butter super cold and requires less handiwork. 
  • For the glaze, I mixed about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, freshly squeezed lime juice, a touch of heavy cream, about 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract and three drops of coconut extract. It made enough to glaze about six scones. 
  • If the dough seems too wet or soft, freeze the scooped scones for about 10 minutes before baking; helps them keep their composure and aids in making them super flaky. 

Pumpkin Scones

Since making my own pumpkin puree a couple days ago, I have been brainstorming a bunch of different pumpkin recipes. I’m thinking about pumpkin everything; muffins, bread, cookies, cupcakes, etc. I want to make it all! I feel kind of late to the pumpkin party, though. Many people have already moved on to Christmas flavors like gingerbread and peppermint. I’m not ready for Christmas anything yet, and refuse to skip the rest of the fall. I mean, it is still fall, so technically it’s still pumpkin season and I’m definitely going to take advantage of that.

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After wracking my brain, recipe cards, and Evernote for anything pumpkin, I settled on making scones. In case anyone doesn’t remember, my first try at making scones was barely a success. My dough was way too wet, and they spread out into cookies instead of staying tall and flaky. Yes, they were delicious but they were hardly scones. I went to my favorite recipe fallback, King Arthur Flour, and decided to give their recipe a go.

There isn’t much liquid in this recipe anyway, so I wasn’t too worried about extra moisture. I was smart about the cutting in of the butter, and used two forks instead of doing it with my hands. I think the heat from my hands may have played a part in the production of my first flat, cookie like scones.

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Everything came together beautifully, even though I thought they were a tad on the small side before baking. The result was a tall and golden brown triangle of flakyness, with fluffy layers of buttery goodness. The pumpkin taste is subtle but present, especially with the warmth from the homemade pumpkin pie spice. The soft and fluffy interior, against the crunchy crackle of the cinnamon turbinado sprinkled top is what fall days are made of.

These scones solidified why I am not ready to move on to Christmas, and still won’t, as the fall still has many more flavorful things in store.

Pumpkin Scones – adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 12 scones

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons homemade pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 2/3 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
  • 1 extra large egg
  • Splash of vanilla extract

Cinnamon Turbinado Topping

  • 1/4 cup of turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. Work in the butter with two forks or a pastry cutter,  just until the mixture is unevenly crumbly. Large chunks of butter are a-okay.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, splash of vanilla, and eggs till smooth.
  4. Add the pumpkin/egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until all is moistened and holds together.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment; if you don’t have parchment, just use it without greasing it. Sprinkle a bit of flour atop the parchment or pan.
  6.  Scrape the dough onto the floured parchment or pan, and divide it in half. Round each half into a 5″ circle that should be about 3/4″ thick.
  7. Brush each circle with milk. Combine the turbinado sugar and the cinnamon, and sprinkle onto the scones.
  8. Using a knife or bench knife that you’ve run under cold water, slice each circle into 6 wedges. Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2″ space between them, at their outer edges.
  9. For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F.
  10. Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs.
  11. Remove the scones from the oven, and serve warm. Wrap any leftovers airtight, and store at room temperature.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • I used brown sugar, the original recipe calls for regular, white sugar. Feel free to use either. 
  • Please DO NOT skip freezing the scones. It really does help them rise, and also keeps them flakier. 
  • I forgot to brush them with milk before sprinkling the sugar, don’t fret if you do too. 
  • The original recipe also included mix-ins like candied ginger, cinnamon chips, or chocolate chips. You can add 1-2 cups to this recipe, but you may need to add another egg or up the pumpkin to a full cup.
  • I also used pumpkin pie spice, in lieu of the individual spices.  

Orange Scones

Another day, another recipe I mess up! This was my first time making scones, and after having my sister nag me for weeks to make some, I caved. I scoured the internet and several cookbooks, in search for a recipe that seemed doable for me. Looking for recipes is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There are tons of recipes for the same thing, but there is always that one that is exactly what you’re looking for. It usually takes me a couple of days to find the ‘perfect’ recipe. Besides the obvious Google searches, I love going on Foodgawker for visual inspiration. I mean, everyone eats with their eyes first, right? The pictures on Foodgawker are absolutely gorgeous, which helps me make a quicker decision.

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Anyway, I didn’t find this recipe on there. This recipe is from a cookbook I found at my local library. The book, America’s Most Wanted Recipes Just Desserts by Ron Douglas, was sitting on the shelf and I borrowed it on a whim. This scone recipe was the very last recipe in the book. I almost gave up on looking for the scone recipe, until I got to the last page. I read the ingredients and the rest of the recipe and decided to move forward. I had most of the ingredients on hand, and made a couple of substitutions and got to work.

Now, my family is full of picky eaters. My mom and dad won’t touch anything that’s relatively pale, or anything that isn’t ‘plain.’ This means I can’t make anything too adventurous or exotic. The most I can do is basically a coconut pound cake or a yellow layer cake without any filling or icing. They are notorious for declining any dessert that is relatively over the top or covered in anything creamy. Their pickiness is one of the main reasons I barely bake (but am now changing that and teaching them how to try everything). My sister is pretty picky as well, but sometimes not by choice. She is lactose intolerant and is now allergic to tree nuts. This actually cuts my recipe selections by a lot. Most awesome recipes have nuts or some kind of cream on or in them. I sometimes feel like a mom with her because I always check labels to make sure there aren’t any nuts or milk in anything we eat. I can work around the dairy problem just fine but the nut thing is kind of hard.

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Being my parent’s daughter, she didn’t want anything in the scones other than the orange flavor. The original recipe calls for dried fruit, such as cranberries or currants. I left them out because I aim to please. I also didn’t have the orange blossom water the recipe called for, so I squeezed some orange juice in there instead. When I was mixing the batter, I noticed it was a little too wet. This was my first attempt at scones but I knew this wasn’t how it was supposed to look. According to the recipe, I was supposed to have a dryer dough that should have enabled me to roll out and cut into the signature triangular shape. Surprised at the outcome, I quickly came up with another solution: drop scones! They’re pretty much just sweetened biscuits anyway, so I picked up an ice cream scoop and set them on the baking sheets. I figure the omission of the dried fruit produced this wet batter.

So, I basically learned that altering recipes a bit too much can lead to different results. While they look more like cookies than scones, they still have that scone taste; fluffy but crumbly and orangey all at the same time. The next time (because there will be a next time) I make scones, I’m determined to get them ‘right.’

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Orange Scones adapted from America’s Most Wanted Recipes Just Desserts by Ron Douglas’ recipe for “Zuni Cafe’s Scones”

Makes (allegedly) 16 scones

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/2 cup of mixed dried currants, barberries, or cranberries (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of cold milk
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 1 tbsp of the sugar. Mix well.
  3. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or using your hands, until the butter is the size of small peas.
  4. Add the dried fruit and orange zest. Mix well.
  5. Whisk together the egg, milk, and orange juice. Stir into the dry mixture until everything is well moistened.
  6. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a ball. On a floured surface, pat each ball flat into a 6 or 7 inch circle and roll out until it is 3/4 inch thick. Cut each round into 8 wedges.
  7. Arrange the wedges on the pan without any crowding. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Serve warm.

Orange Vanilla Glaze

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3/4-1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the juice, milk, extract, and zest.
  2. Gradually add the powdered sugar until desired thickness.
  3. Spoon over completely cooled scones.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • The original recipe called for salted butter. Most bakers (like myself) only use unsalted. If using salted butter, cut the salt amount to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • The recipe also claimed I was supposed to get 16 scones. Considering I had an issue with the dough, I scored 11.
  • Keep an eye on your oven! My oven runs hot, so my scones were golden brown on the bottom but pale on top.
  • The glaze, which is not part of the original recipe, is optional. Mine came out thin, but use the larger amount of powdered sugar if you like your glaze a little thicker.