Toasty scones for snowy days: An easy, 30-minute-prep scone that will warm the home
|Published: 11-14-2023 12:22 PM
Early this month — on Nov. 1, to be exact — many of us woke to find snow falling outside.
I know we have experienced snow much earlier in the fall in these parts in other years. Nevertheless, the weather had been so balmy at the end of October that I for one was completely unprepared to see fluffy white stuff falling from the sky.
I sighed. So did my dog, Cocoa, who was similarly shocked to find her dainty paws immersed in snow when she ventured outside.
The minute she came back into the house, Cocoa curled herself into a little ball on the couch (she grudgingly allowed me to towel her dry briefly before she hopped up) and went to sleep. This is her natural reaction to inclement weather.
My own natural reaction is to turn on the oven. I hadn’t made plans to bake that day, but bake I did.
I wanted something easy to throw together that would utilize ingredients I had in the house. I settled on apple scones.
I have never met a scone I didn’t like. I didn’t discover them as a child, when I thought of them as an exclusively British comestible. At some point in graduate school, I stepped into a bakery with one of my friends, who recommended the currant scones on the menu. I have been eating (and making) scones ever since.
They can be assembled in a little more than half an hour so they’re perfect for serving to houseguests. The minute I hear my guests stirring, I preheat the oven and start mixing the batter for the scones. They are usually ready by the time my guests come downstairs and get a cup of coffee or tea.
I didn’t have guests on Nov. 1, but I went ahead and baked scones anyway. They are easy to freeze and then pop into the oven later as needed. When my nephew Michael visits, he always asks whether there is a scone stash in the freezer.
I originally planned to make dried-cranberry scones. I had a lot of apples in the house, however, so I decided on an apple version instead. I also had a little sweet cider in the refrigerator so I threw together a little cider glaze for the scones.
You may or may not want to try the glaze. It adds extra sugar to the recipe, and scones aren’t supposed to be overly sweet. On the other hand, the cider flavor comes through loud and clear and enhances the apples. I think next time I’ll glaze half of my scones and leave the other half plain.
If you omit the glaze, I suggest sprinkling a little sugar — or, better yet, cinnamon sugar — on top of the scones just before putting them into the oven. The sugar enhances the scones’ appearance (a little sparkle is always welcome) and adds crunch to what are otherwise soft baked goods.
After I had warmed the house by baking my scones and eaten one (a cook is obliged to sample her food), I felt much better about the weather.
for the scones:
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold sweet butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup grated apple (about 1 large apple)
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
for the optional cider glaze:
2 tablespoons sweet cider (more if needed)
enough confectioner’s sugar to make the cider spreadable
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Combine the sugar, the flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, the salt, and the cinnamon. Cut in the butter, but be careful not to overmix. Tiny clumps of butter are fine. Stir the apple pieces into this mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, the egg, and the vanilla. (I often do this in my measuring cup.) Add the liquids to the apple mixture and blend briefly. Drop the batter in clumps onto the baking sheets.
If you are a scone purist, you may of course form your scone batter into a round on a floured board and then cut it into wedges. I think drop scones are a perfectly acceptable (and easy) alternative to the wedges, however.
You may either make large scones (you’ll end up with 6 to 8 of them) or smallish ones (12 to 16). When I made them most recently, I decided on 4 large and 6 smaller scones.
Bake for 17 to 25 minutes, until the scones brown nicely. Wait a few minutes; then remove them from the cookie sheets, and place them on a rack to cool. If you want to omit the glaze, you may eat the scones warm, with or without butter.
If you want to try the glaze, let the scones cool completely. Pour the cider into a bowl, and stir in confectioner’s sugar until you have a drizzle-able glaze.
Drizzle the glaze over the scones. Mine was a little liquid (I ran out of confectioner’s sugar!) so I had more of a coat than a drizzle. If you need more glaze, make it.
Makes 6 to 16 scones, depending on size.
Tinky Weisblat is an award-winning author and singer known as the Diva of Deliciousness. Visit her website, TinkyCooks.com.