My original intent for today’s post was going to be cider doughnuts. With having an extra day off (and electricity, thank the heavens) after the wrath that was Sandy, I thought it would be the perfect time to finally make them. But after boiling down the cider needed for the recipe to a blackened pot bottom, I decided to change gears and I went with these apple and cheddar scones instead.
And really, this wasn’t a consolation prize but rather a revolutionary kitchen experience. Even though I’ve lived in New England for nearly 15 years, I’ve yet to try a slice of the region’s famous apple cheddar pie. And it’s for no other reason than I’m a little chicken – cheddar cheese in an apple pie? But I reintroduced myself to the idea of this combination when I was scrolling through Smitten Kitchen’s archives a few weeks back in anticipation of her very first cookbook.
The tart roasted apples and salty sharp cheddar cheese work so perfectly in these scones and I’m truly frightened now because I love the combination so much that I foresee either these scones or this apple and cheddar combination happening a lot in the future. The scones themselves aren’t a quick-bam-boom sort of scone that I’m used to making. Rather, with peeling, chopping, roasting, and chilling the apples, they do take a bit time to make but they are ever so worth it. The recipe does only make 6 large scones so you may want to consider doubling it for a crowd – for just the two of us, 6 was perfect for breakfast on two days and a snack.
- 2 large or 4 small firm tart apples (1 pound), like Granny Smith
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt plus additional for egg wash
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes plus additional for baking sheet if not lining it with parchment
- 2 1/2 oz sharp white cheddar, shredded (1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tbsp sparkling sugar or 2 tsp granulated sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel, core, and chop apples into 1/16-inch pieces (they should be small but in no way minced) and toss them onto the baking sheet, spreading them out into one (generally) even layer. Bake for 20 minutes until they are slightly browned and look like they are starting to dry out. Leave the oven on. Let apples cool completely – this can be rapidly sped up by placing the apples in the freezer for a few minutes. Just remove them from the baking sheet and transfer them on the parchment paper or in a bowl to the freezer.
- While the apples roast, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
- After the apples cool, add them along with the butter, cheese, heavy cream, and one egg to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the ingredients in the bowl. On low speed, mix the ingredients until they just come together to form a dough – do not overmix. The butter will still be in large-ish chunks and the dough will be sticky – that’s OK. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can do this step by hand using your fingers or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour. With lightly floured hands, work the dough together into a disk then flatten disk to a 6-inch circle, about 1 1/4 inches high. With a floured knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 6 triangles. Line the now cooled baking sheet with a new piece of parchment paper or grease it with butter. Transfer the dough triangles to the baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between each piece.
- Beat the remaining egg and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl. Brush the tops of the scones with the beaten egg then sprinkle some sugar on the top of each piece. Bake for 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Cool the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes then transfer the scones to the rack to cool for another 5 minutes. The scones are best served warm and within 1 day of making them.