This recipe is loosely based on this one at smitten kitchen, but tailored to my preferences. I cut back quite a bit on the sugar, upped the cheese (what a surprise), and used my preferred scone method (frozen shredded butter and mixed by hand). Also, I used proportions for just a small batch–this makes four large scones–as scones are really best eaten warm the day they are baked, and with just two of us in the house we don’t need a dozen scones sitting around. If you had a crowd for breakfast, you could certainly double the proportions below.
Try this for your post-holiday breakfast this weekend, perhaps with some savory bacon on the side…
Sara’s Cheddar & Apple Scones
makes four large, or eight little, scones
- 1 medium firm apple, such as Cortland
- 3 T unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 T sugar
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
- 1 large egg
- 2 T half-and-half or light cream
Preheat the oven to 400º. Peel, core and cut the apple into small dice. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and bake for about 15 minutes, until the apple pieces are just barely starting to brown at the corners and are slightly dried out. When done, cool completely before proceeding with recipe (I did this quickly by placing on a small plate in the freezer – about ten minutes).
While the apple is baking, shred the butter on the large holes of a box grater, and place on a small plate in the freezer.
Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl that will be large enough to hold all the ingredients. Add frozen shredded butter and rub with your fingers until the butter is blended throughout the flour in small pieces. Add the 1/2 cup cheddar and the cooled apple to the bowl, and toss everything together with your fingers to distribute evenly.
Crack the egg into a small bowl, add the half-and-half, and stir with a fork to blend. Add most of that mixture to the bowl, leaving behind about a teaspoon or so (this doesn’t have to be exact; this extra bit in the bowl will be used for brushing the tops of the scones).
Using your hands or a spoon if you prefer, lightly mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Remember, a scone dough is not overly wet, so it’s OK if it looks a little dry.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper, and using your hands, press together to form a circle or square about 1/2 inch thick. Carefully lift the parchment onto your baking sheet, and then using a bench scraper or long knife, cut the dough into scones: I chose to cut crosswise to make four large scones, but you could make additional diagonal cuts for eight small scones.
Using the bench scraper, gently lift and separate the scones a bit, leaving at least an inch between them on the pan. Brush with remaining egg mixture, and then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
Bake for about 20 minutes at 400, until they are starting to brown. Cool on wire rack for 5-10 minutes before devouring.