I’ve been searching a long time for a scone that is very tender and fluffy. Scones can easily become leaden hockey pucks if you add too much flour or mix the dough too long, or even let the butter get too warm while cutting it into the flour. I’ve tried sour cream, buttermilk, and regular milk, but sometimes you just gotta give in to the dark side and use real cream. Seriously, I know, why not just clog your arteries already and be done with it? Hey, at least this recipe only has 5 Tbsp of butter in it, and I made 16 medium-sized scones rather than 8 mammoth ones! Baby steps, right? Let’s face it though: cream has more milk-fat than any of the other dairy products I tried, so of course it’s going to produce the tenderest scone. That’s just how it goes. So pour the cream into your 1 cup liquid measuring cup and try not to freak out about how much cream that is. These scones just might be worth it.
2 cups (10 oz) pastry flour (lower-protein content than all-purpose flour, so it will produce a tender scone)
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
5 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (put it in the freezer for 30 minutes)
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and diced into ½ in pieces (about 5 oz of chopped apple)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp Boiled Cider (optional, but adds such a lovely deep apple flavor; I’d say splurge on it if you’re baking a lot of tasty apple desserts this fall) , purchased from King Arthur Flour online
1 additional Tbsp boiled cider for brushing on top prior to baking, but cream can be substituted for brushing the tops if you don’t go the cider route- this helps the tops brown).
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, salt) in the work bowl of a food processor. Mix them together with a few pulses.
3. Add the chilled butter pieces and pulse until the butter has broken up, with the texture resembling a coarse meal with some pebble-sized bits of butter still visible.
4. Dump the contents of the food processor out into a large mixing bowl.
5. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, combine the brown sugar, apple pieces, boiled cider and ground cinnamon together until the apple pieces are all evenly coated. Set aside while finishing the dough.
6. Add the heavy cream to the large bowl of flour-butter mixture, and stir with a large spoon just until the dough is all moistened and is starting to clump together. Don’t overmix, or your scones won’t be as tender.
7. Add in the apples and stir a few more times to bring the dough into a ball. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a circle 5 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Cut each circle into 8 wedges using a bench scraper or knife (bench scraper is easier), trying to make the wedges as close to the same size as each other as you can.
8. Place the scones on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at least 2 inches from each other, as they rise and spread out quite a bit. I used 2 half sheet pans just in case they tried to morph into one giant scone blob.
9. Brush the tops of the scones with the optional 1 Tbsp boiled cider or cream.
10. Bake the scones for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
Scones are best eaten the day they are made, but these still tasted pretty good the next day.