this is the story of the apple cranberry scones that almost weren’t. you see, i got it into my head that, since it’s fall and everything (yay!), some baked goods with apple and cinnamon and cranberry were in order. so far, so good.
and actually, i’m just now remembering that these apple cranberry scones actually started as apple and feta scones, in an attempt to replicate scones from a local bakery that i’ve heard are good… but never actually tried (warning sign #1).
anyway, i figured, ‘oh, i’ll just cram some apples and feta into my current favorite scone recipe; i’m sure it will be great. and while i’m at it, i’ll make an apple and cranberry version too, just to see what that’s like.’ not good, that’s what it was like.
the half of the batch that had feta was either bland or way too FETArific, depending on what the bite that you took was comprised of. the last minute ‘why not’ apple cranberry version was much more promising and the flavors were much more balanced and complementary. but not good enough for me to come over here and tell y’all to make them.
next round, i figured if i was steering away from feta, maybe i’d steer away from butter and cream too (warning sign #2). hey, it works in these quick and easy biscuits. buuuut, alas, not when i cram the dough full of apples and cranberries without making any other changes.
well, at least not any other changes initially. when i was mixing the dough and it was clear that all was not well, i figured i’d just jump to an entirely different recipe, midway through (seriously, what is my problem? warning sign #3). who wants to guess how those turned out? the only way that batch will see the light of day is if i decide to do a ‘failed recipes of 2016’ post at the end of the year… woof.
at this point, i decided to pause and regroup. stop torturing apples. take a breath and find a recipe that starts off closer to what i wanted my final product to be like.
enter displaced housewife’s apple cinnamon cherry scones. in addition to a scone archive that includes delicious sounding scones such as gingerbread, maple oat, and pumpkin, most importantly, she has a recipe that already includes apples and dried fruit (dried cherries and dried cranberries are much more interchangeable than, say, dried cranberries and… no dried fruit anywhere in the recipe).
of course i still made changes to the recipe (would be warning sign #5 except that, spoiler alert, this batch actually worked!), but muuuuch more successfully this time. in addition to swapping dried cranberries in for dried cherries, i also tinkered with the spices. well, if you’re willing to be a little silly along with me.
you see, earlier today when i was running, my dutch apple pie recipe popped into my head. specifically, how delicious it is and how… not ready in 5 minutes it is. fast forward to later in the day when i was looking at the spices the original scone recipe called for. and figured that if 3 spices were good, 9 spices were even better! ha. (i get that it’s more work and more spices to buy, if you don’t already have them, BUT, if you were thinking of making dutch apple pie anyway – it does use up 8 of the too many apples you lugged home from the u-pick orchard – then consider making the spice blend for these scones an advance on your future pie making efforts. ooooor you can just stick with the original spices; i listed them too so you can choose your own adventure.)
ok, i think i’ve been doing a lot of talking (by which i mean, telling you how much of an apple ruiner i’ve been recently) so maybe i’ll stop now and just say: these apple cranberry scones are delicious. you should make them. because fall. and yummy.
- 180 g. (1 1/2 cups / 6 3/8 oz.) cake flour, see notes
- 137 g. (1 cup + 2 tablespoons / 4 7/8 oz.) all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon aluminum free baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon speculaaskruiden (dutch spice mix from dutch apple pie) or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cup cored, diced baking apple (granny smith is always a good choice for baking) – one large apple is plenty; you want about 142 g. / 5 oz. diced apple
- 57 g. (1/2 cup / 4 oz.) dried cranberries
- 135 g. (2/3 cup / 4 ¾ oz.) granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) + 1 tablespoon cream or milk, divided
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons sugar, ideally a coarse sugar like turbinado but granulated works too
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- in a large bowl, use a fork to combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and spices.
- add the diced apples and dried cranberries; mix around until the apples and cranberries are well distributed.
- add the 2/3 cup granulated sugar and mix that in too.
- in a glass measuring cup, measure out the 2/3 cup cream or milk and add the egg (set the measuring cup aside to use later). whisk with the fork until combined.
- pour the liquids over the flour mixture. very gently and as little as possible, mix the liquid into the dry ingredients with the fork. as soon as the dough begins to form a rough, shaggy mass, stop mixing with the fork and turn the dough out onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. gently divide the dough into 2 even mounds and very gently coax into two roughly circular discs 1 ½” (4 cm) thick.
- in a small bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoons of coarse (or granulated) sugar and the ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
- add the remaining tablespoon of cream/milk to the glass measuring cup you used before (since it’s already dirty) and use a pastry brush to brush the top of each disc with the cream/milk (try not to let it drip down the sides since that will make it more difficult for the scones to rise). sprinkle liberally with the sugar/cinnamon mixture.
- freeze the discs uncovered on the baking sheet for 30 minutes.
- about 10 minutes before the scones are done in the freezer, preheat your oven to 400° F.
- when the dough is done in the freezer, use a bench scraper or sharp long bladed knife to cut each disc into 4 equally sized pieces. separate the scones on the baking sheet so that they have 2” (5 cm) of space around each one.
- bake the scones for 15 – 17 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the side of one of the scones comes out clean. the scones don’t brown a lot so don’t over bake them, waiting for them to turn golden brown.
- once they are done, let them cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
if you don’t stock cake flour in your kitchen and don’t want to buy it, you can make it by measuring out 1 ½ cups of all purpose flour, then putting 3 tablespoons back in the flour container and adding 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. mix well. (this is just a substitute for the cake flour portion of the recipe above; you will also still need to add the all purpose flour called for in addition to the cake flour.)
adapted from displaced housewife’s apple cinnamon cherry scones.